Monday, January 26, 2009

Cloth Covered Cthulhu Diary

I love book binding. From binding to covering, ever since my first year of college, when I would ignore my assigned homework and go to the university library and just look up eclectic avenues of independent study, I have been fascinated with the art of book making.

This is one of a series of four books I re-covered recently. They are all very similar. I chose this one to show you because it is the one with the clearest pictures. It started out as a Cambridge brand Executive journal, about 5"x8", with lined pages. I picked up several of them cheap (about $1 each) from a local discount store (Marc's). I sat on them for a while because I didn't know quite what to do with them (I do that a lot). Finally I decided to re-cover them and add a Cthulian medallion to the front cover and sell them on eBay.

Before re-covering them, I cut out some scrolling tentacle like designs and a thin border out of a very heavy cardstock called "chipboard". I used white glue to glue that to the front and back covers of the journal after sanding and scoring the journal's original vinyl "leatherette" cover with a razor knife (for better adhesion). Then I cut a scrap piece of black heavy cotton fabric big enough to cover the book and applied a healthy coating of Elmer's spray adhesive onto the cloth and the book cover (using waxed paper sheets to keep the glue from touching the text block of the book). I wrapped the book in the cloth and pressed it down with my fingers, making sure not to pull it too taught, because I needed some slack to wrap around the raised areas created by the chipboard. I used the blunt end of a bamboo skewer, and my fingers, to press the cloth into the crevices around the chipboard. This created a nice sculpted surface with lots of character. Sort of a reverse embossed effect, like a bas-relief. I'm sure this technique probably has a name, but I don't know it. After wrapping in the edges and applying new end papers to hide the edges of the new cloth cover, I used white glue to apply one of my cast resin medallions (which had purposely been cast very thin for such an application) with the ubiquitous bronze finish (the only one I'm good at).

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