DIY Book Cloth Tutorial

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Usually my post’s consist of my thoughts on a subject, showing off new things I’ve bought, recipes I’ve tried and liked or hobby items I’ve created and just can’t wait to share with people. This post will be a little different. It’s going to be a tutorial, one of my very first tutorials. Yes, that’s right I’m giving all you lovely people my Tutorial Cherry. I can already hear the people screaming in the streets “Oh god no! Everybody run, save yourselves!”

You all know that I’ve dabbled in book binding and that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. Because of a lot of other hobbies I’ve been doing, and because of money issues, I haven’t been able to do much book binding lately. Also I got a little discourage from binding because I like to have a lot of options when it comes to the aesthetics of a hobby. That isn’t something book binding is known for. It’s a very traditional world with only so many options when it comes to cloth for casing in books. There are different materials (linen, arrestox, buckram, Italian, Japanese, silk, leather, imitation leather & silk, etc etc) but not a big array of colours in each different material. That’s what really got to me.

This got me to thinking. I wonder if there is a way I can make my own book cloth? A quick search on google , pinterest and youtube yielded some very encouraging results. Yes I could make my own book cloth and it was easier than I thought it would be. Because I found it so easy I thought that I would share this technique with all you lovely people. It’s not time intensive and it doesn’t require very many materials, or very much money. All you need is an iron, scissors, tissue paper, Heat’n’Bond Lite and some fabric, preferably cotton or linen. For the small piece of material I used it only took me fifteen minutes (maybe less) to get to a useable piece of book cloth. All materials can be purchased at Walmart or local craft stores. I only spend $5 on my material as it was a test, but I have a ton of tissue paper and Heat n Bond left.

Materials Needed:

Cotton or Linen fabric (in any colour and/or design you desire)

Heat n Bond Lite

Tissue Paper (or Japanese Rice Paper)

Scissors

Iron (and ironing board)

 

1). To begin prewash your fabric without fabric softeners. Some fabrics, like the one I purchased, said not to prewash but the Heat n Bond instructs you to do so. I placed my 18x21in piece of fabric in a garment bag and washed it with the rest of the clothes I had planned to wash. I then tumble dried it.

2). Place your cleaned and dried fabric, right side down, onto your ironing board and iron it flat. This step I used my steam option to make sure it was completely wrinkle free. Once your fabric is nice and smooth switch off the steam on you iron and if possible turn it to medium heat. My iron does not have this option so I just kept it set to Cotton and it worked fine.

3). Cut a piece of your Heat n Bond so that it is smaller than your piece of fabric. I’d suggest cutting it so there is at least an inch of fabric bordering the Heat n Bond. This step is crucial because if you don’t cut it smaller than the fabric you are liable to iron the glue of the Heat & Bond to your ironing board rather than the fabric. And wouldn’t that be a disaster!

Place your Heat n Bond shiny/scratchy side face down onto your fabric. With the iron set to medium with no steam slowly press the Heat n Bond to the fabric. The instructions on your Heat n Bond packet will instruct you on how to do this. I started from one corner and very slowly dragged my iron to the opposite corner, repeating for the remainder of the piece. This worked well for me.

You will be able to tell that it’s working because you will start to see the fabric through the paper backing. Once it has cooled down slowly peel off the paper backing. The material underneath will look shiny from the adhesion of the Heat n Bond.

4). Next comes the tissue paper. Just like the Heat n Bond the piece of tissue paper needs to be a different size to the fabric. This time cut it larger than the fabric. Only slightly though. This ensures that none of the Heat n Bond adheres to your iron and ruins it. Place the tissue paper on top of the Heat n Bond and repeat your previous step, slowly press the tissue paper to the Heat n Bond. Again you will know this is working because the tissue paper will start to become see through and you will easily see the outline of the Heat n Bond below.

5). I contemplated whether this step was really necessary. I’ve seen it done on many different tutorials but I think after I tried it I wouldn’t do it again. Once you’ve adhered the tissue paper to the fabric via the Heat n Bond you can slowly rip the excess tissue paper away. Supposedly the Heat n Bond would allow you to do this in nice even way, but for me it got a little messy and took too many rips. So I’d suggest you just smooth all the layers down and cut off excess tissue and fabric with a pair of scissors or a rotary cutter and cutting mat. You can try tearing, but it didn’t work for me.

And that’s it. You now have a piece of custom made book cloth that is now ready to be used to cover your book casing. Yay!

If you have any further questions about this tutorial or further suggestion to improve this technique leave your comments below. Remember, comments are love.

Stay inspired,

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