This post is a little different than what I usually do, but I wanted to share my experience binding my first book.
Before getting to that, I wanted to talk about what interested me in binding to begin with. My first exposure to book binding was through fan fiction, more specifically Harry Potter fan fiction. I discovered All the Young Dudes and started reading it immediately. Check out my review HERE! I looked into getting physical copies and found myself on book binding Instagram. Trying to get a commission spot was very difficult and I didn’t succeed. I then discovered a physical copy of A Court of Mist and Fury: Rhysand’s POV by IlyrianTremors and that cemented a decision to begin binding my own books.
You can follow along with my book binding journey in real time through my Instagram: Nadine’s Book Bindery.
One of the first things you need to bind a book is a typeset. A typeset is the format in which you print the book. I learned how to format Word then got to work.
I decided to go with a Brother laser monochrome duplex printer. Laser printers are more ink efficient and the text comes out crisper. Since it’s monochrome, I won’t be able to print colour but I’ll find somewhere to print in colour when I need it.
For this book, I used Hammermill Colored Paper, 20 lb Ivory Printer Paper, 8.5 x 11 paper. You don’t have to buy any special paper to print a book, but I wanted the cream coloured paper because I thought it would match the book.
After All the Young Dudes, I plan on trying regular white paper.
Next step is to fold the papers into signatures. My signatures are ten pages each. Once folded, I put them in my DIY book press for a couple days to make them as flat as possible for sewing.
Sewing is easily my favourite part of the process. It’s also very frustrating at first. Pictured here is my first attempted at sewing. I followed Sea Lemon’s tutorial for stitching.
Sewing is all about experience, so it gets easier and cleaner the more books you stitch.
So far, the hardcover is what’s given me the most difficulty. It’s important to measure. I can’t stress that enough. Precise measurements are REQUIRED for book binding otherwise you’ll end up restarting a few times. Like I did. I also learned some valuable lessons…
The importance of measuring, too much glue, and the important of using the right paper otherwise it will rip.
This is where book binding can get expensive. I ended up buying a Cricut Joy at Costco so that I could add vinyl stickers to the spine and covers. I’m also in the process of getting a dust jacket printed. A lot of artists allow people to use their art for personal use only, but you can also commission something if you feel so inclined.