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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Plush Hardcover Sketchbook Tutorial

Whenever I come across fun design books they have awesome covers  I'm not just talking about classically bound hard cover books with cool images printed on the cover.  I mean when there's a unique tactile experience happening and the book is hardcover yet also plushy and soft.  Here's a tutorial for this exact kind of book.  The best part is that you can do the cover however you want in your sewn style.  The last time I made a sketchbook I was in college in Ohio and my teacher spilled her hot chocolate all over it.  Let's start again shall we?

First you will need paper and lots of it.  I made a little pre book illustration to get the book started.  The size and thickness of the sketchbook is all up to you.  Keep in mind that however big the pieces of paper you cut are, the book size will be those pages folded in half (kind of obvious, right?)  I made mine with four sheets in each pile folded in half.  This folded stack is called a signature.  I made my sketchbook with five signatures.  Any kind of paper will work.

Poke holes through the fold of all of the signatures one hole at the top and bottom about 1/4" from the edge and sets of 2 holes along the fold depending on how large your paper is.  

Using a needle and thread sew in and out through all of the holes of one signature.  At the end of one, start sewing through the next one.  When the thread is on the outside binding catch the stitch from the last signature making an x.

When you're done is should look something like this

Now it's time for the hard cover.  I used illustration board but any thick board will work.  Cut the front and back the same size as your book and a spine the width of your paper spine.

Now the fun part!!  This will be the outside of your book.  I sewed strips of turquoise and cream linen together.  Use a single piece of fabric, embroider, sew patches on it, do whatever you want!  Make sure it's big enough to fold around the edges of your book.

Lay out your book cover and then put down a layer or two of batting the same size as your cut board to make the cover more plushy.  Then on top of that put the board that you cut out with the spine about 1/8" from the front and back cover.

Fold the edges of your fabric over the batting and board.  Use craft glue to secure the fabric all the way around.  Now it's getting serious, cut a piece of fabric that's the length of your book and about 3" wide.  Glue just the binding of the paper to the middle of the fabric.  Let it dry for a while.

Glue the fabric piece to the middle of your book cover.

Cut your end paper to finish the front and back of the book.  I used fabric instead but if you use fabric make sure to use something that won't fray.  It gets a little tricky here, glue your end papers to both ends of the book and let dry.

Close and admire!!

Plushy book detail

Teeny just adores it.

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