I made a cloth binding for iZombie

Me and my husband have numerous single issues comics which I’ve been wanting to bind for some time, to start with I decided to go with an old favourite iZombie.

It’s a fantastic series which has recently been adapted for TV, though I’m not sure it’s made it to the UK yet. There’s a pretty cool video, though for some reason they changed her name from Gwen to Liv  and changed her whole origin, but hey, it might be worth a watch.

Anyway back to the bookbinding. I had a pretty solid plan when i started binding then ending up making it up as i went along. I  threw together all sorts of sources, some half remembered from my short bookbinding course, a fair bit of help from the Instuctables page How to Print and Bind a Book,  and Bound by Erica Ekrem.

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I have 28 issues of iZombie so split them to make it a little easier. The Instructables webpage doesn’t use any of the traditional bookbinding methods and though this may work just fine I wanted to ensure my binding was good and strong so used the stitching method instead of glue gun to keep my comics together.

What I used

  • Awl / screw punch
  • Bookbinding thread / normal thread run through bee’s wax
  • Backing board 0.3cm wider and 0.6cm taller than my comics (signatures)
  • Cloth for covering the spine the same height of my signatures plus enough the wrap around the spine.
  • optional cloth to cover the corners
  • Book cloth (contrasting colour to the spine)
  • decorative paper
  •  bookbinding needle / any sturdy needle
  • Acid free pva glue
  • The first step is to undo the staples from each comic.
  • Next create a punch guide from card stock (paper will work, it’s just a lot easier with card).  It needs to be the same height as the comics (signatures)  and about 5″/ 13 cm wide. Fold this in half length ways to get the centre line. Mark 1″/2.5 cm from the top and bottom of the punch guide then add 4 more marks evenly along the centre. Use an arrow to show the right way up. 
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I was originally going for a seven hole binding which had decorative paper along the stitching, however this left the spine exposed and as these comics have been well read the paper tore easily.I should have cut this back but I’d already written bits of information on this card so I ended up making it harder for myself.
  •  Nestle the punch guide in the centre of each signature and punch holes through the paper using an awl or screw punch. It’s worth taking your time to save stress later on.
  •  Once you’ve punched holes in all of your signatures you can begin to stitch the pages together. I settled on Coptic stitch after a few mishaps. I went over any loose stitches with a true kettle stitch. This tutorial by Isabel Moseley does a better job than I can of explaining the best way to stitch your book.  I didn’t stitch the backing boards as Moseley does because I need the edges of the graphic novel to be unrestricted by the boards.
  • The book should be nice and sturdily put together now. Ensuring the pages are aligned evenly (I used elastic bands wrapped vertically around the book)  cover the stitched spine with glue and wrap the cloth around the spine. Hold this spine to a flat surface while the glue begins to dry.
  • At this point your spine will look bulky in comparison to the other pages. Using two pieces of board (I used my cover boards) place the book under a heavy weight. Board games work nicely for this. Leave this to dry for 24 hours. wpid-20150813_100226.jpg
  • If you use other card than the cover boards then you can get on with the cover while the signatures dry.
  • I glued the same fabric as the spine around the corners of my board, cut out a triangle shape in the corner to make the folds neater.
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    smarter people than I would figure out how to do this without overlapping and with my next lot of comics I will plan things out a lot more.
  • The next step is to wrap the contrasting fabric around the board. Use a bone folder, or ruler if you don’t have one, to ensure everything is as flat and neat as it can be. wpid-20150813_125743.jpg
  • You should now have two identical looking covers. Add decorative paper to the inside of your front cover. I did this later but it got a bit messy with the glue.

    The first page
    The first page
  • It’s sensible to let these dry fully before you attach them to the book. Also it’s a good idea to put a piece of scrap paper between the boards and signatures to avoid mess
  • Now to finish off, cut the spine cloth to the desired size, it may fray, to avoid this you can use pinking shears. I realised this a little to late so fixed it by glueing  a spare piece of decorative paper over the join.
  • Glue the spine cloth to the board covers, careful not to use too much glue as it will spill onto the cover.
  • For the back cover I glued the  final page of the signatures to the cover board, it’s possible to do this with the front cover as well but I wanted to keep the cover on view.
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    The last page
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    The middle

    The finished product
    The finished product

I made a beautifully bound book

I’ve upped my game in book binding with the help of this fantastic guide by Erica Ekrem. It was my husbands birthday the other day so my first project from this book was a gift for him. I started with what I thought would be a relatively simple design, of a ‘preserve-a-memory mason-jar book’ minus the mason jar.

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For such a small thing it took a very long time. First was cutting ninety pieces of paper to size, that was time consuming but easy enough with my guillotine. Though I did manage to loose count a fair few times. I chose some pretty Victorian style paper to mix in with with plain paper. The next step was fold groups of five pieces of paper into about eighteen ‘signatures.’ having the bone folder is very useful for this.  I also found out I’m managed to cut a variety of sizes papers. I ended up trimming the sides with scissors. wpid-20150709_150358.jpg An optional step was to round the corners off with a corner punch, I think it really adds to the aesthetics so spent a good deal of time doing this. The real hard graft game when I needed to punch eight holes through each of the eighteen signatures. In the past I would have used my awl but I’d brought a screw hole punch for this very occasion. The screw punch meant my holes where aligned and wide enough for the thick bookbinding thread to move through without catching. wpid-20150709_154519.jpg Next came the actual book binding. I was very impressed by how well laid out the instructions were. The diagrams were clear and not overly complicated, despite the sound of them. I got to grips with running stitch, French stitch, long stitch and true kettle stitch. With careful patience the book came together very nicely. wpid-20150710_173818.jpg I was rather smug at this point until I realised I’d missed out an instruction. I was supposed to over stitch a ribbon along the central stitch.  as mistakes go it could have been a lot worse. Instead of ribbon i used gold twine and threaded it through the stitches. wpid-20150710_174640.jpg I felt like it needed a little extra to make it a personal present. I decided to write a Neil Gaiman poem. The Day the saucers came, each line to a page. I also wrote a few little personal messages throughout. I wrapped it in pretty fabric and tied it in a silk bow to complete the package. wpid-20150719_091028.jpg