Beginner Bookbinding: Hints & Tips

There are many, many tutorials out there, covering all your beginner bookbinding needs; and so I thought I’d do a hints & tips section to complement them! These are things I’ve learned and picked up along the way.

  • Invest in a bone folder. This will be your new best friend.

Bonefolder love

  • You can use grease-proof paper for waxed paper. It’s very handy for pasting onto.
  • PVA is great while you’re learning. Proper book paste can be quite pricey, and when you’re just starting out PVA is absolutely fine for practice work.
  • Get a basic set of different size brushes. You can pick them up fairly cheap from places like The Works, and it’ll help you get a feel for what you need and what you feel comfortable with.
  • Always have a couple of pieces of clean kitchen roll to hand! It’s sturdier than tissue and less likely to shed little bits everywhere. It’s good for wiping down surfaces and hands and things. Keep a sheet separate for using on your books to avoid smearing.
  • It’s best to use waxed thread. If you can get a block of beeswax from somewhere, you can wax your own thread. This works out a bit cheaper and gives you more options.

Beeswax

  • Get into the habit of fraying the loose end of the thread after a knot. This will keep it from coming undone- I use my needle for this and just tease it gently.

As with everything, the internet is a wealth of information when it comes to bookbinding tutorials. Here are a few good ones:

Super simple all-in-one pamphlet book from My Handbound Books

5 hole pamphlet stitch from Design Sponge

Coptic stitch from Torta Gialla

Simple staple-and-glue hardback from Instructables

Good luck and happy binding!

Notebook 001

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All Things Spring! Crafts and Inspirations

Spring is one of my favourite times of year. There’s so much newness going on it’s hard not to get inspired! From colour palettes to tutorials, I’ve started scouring the web to find the best ideas of the season. Here are a few of my favourites:

  • Painted twigs

Spring twigs

So pretty – and such a simple idea!

  • Edible flower lollies

Lollies

Adding edible flowers (e.g. rose petals, lavender) to your homemade lolly molds looks gorgeous. Hopefully it will be warm enough for ice lollies this spring…

  • Pom pom bunny

Pom pom bunnies

Because pom poms. And because bunnies. Tutorial found here.

  • Spring weekly planner

Spring planner

Oh planning, I love planning. This pink spring set is available from WendyPrints over on etsy. Time to get those to do lists looking fabulous!

  • Plant shelves

Spring ladder

This idea of using an old ladder as shelves for your potted plants looks stunning. A great way of adding some spring colour to even the smallest garden.

You can follow my spring Pinterest board here for more ideas.

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Castle Ashby Craft Fair, May 29th & 30th 2016 -Date for your diary!

Castle Ashby

I’m pleased to announce that The Craft Fantastic has a stall at the Castle Ashby fair the the end of May! This craft fair falls on the Bank Holiday – Sunday 29th and Monday 30th May. Also, THERE WILL BE FALCONS. Falcons!

Run by Palladian Events, the fair will be set in the beautiful Castle Ashby walled gardens, and over the 2 days there will be a fantastic range of quality crafters from all over the country, plus food, music, demonstrations, a falconry display… what more could you want?

Castle Ashby marquee

 

I’ll have a full range of handmade notebooks, journals, sketchbooks, miniature notebook necklaces, as well as origami flowers for all occasions.

It will cost just £5.50 for adults (£5 concession, under 10’s go free) to gain access to the show and gardens. Cross your fingers now for good weather!

 

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New design! Hand bound map journal

Leather spine

 

Up till now, I’ve been making simple notebooks or amending existing templates to create my own notebooks. But now I’m working for myself, I’m starting to have time to create my own designs and templates. This is the first!

Map journal

Friends and family have kindly donated old leather bags for me to up-cycle; as soon as I saw this yellow leather, I knew it would work beautifully with the map print paper I bought in Amalfi a few years ago. I’d been hoarding the paper for the right project and this was definitely it.

Yellow leather spine

 

Taking what I’ve learned over the years I’ve been making notebooks, I combined a flexible leather spine with solid boards front and back, covered in that beautiful quality map paper, finishing off the corners with leather for durability (and because it looks gorgeous!).

Map notebook corner

Hope you like it as much as I do! I’ll be making more of these and also designing new books, so keep a look out  🙂

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Last minute Valentine’s Day gifts

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, there’s not much time left to order your gifts! There’s a range of handmade goodies over at my Valentine’s page. As Valentine’s Day is on a Sunday this year, I suggest ordering by Monday Feb 8th to guarantee getting your items on time.

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New on Folksy!

Finally! After taking a gazillion photos and agonising over my product descriptions, I have managed to get my first lot of stock up on Folky.

Check it out here.

Bright coptic

Etsy to follow very soon… unfortunately my camera battery has run out and I’ve lost the charger!!

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New Year, new notebooks

I’m currently working to stock my online shops with my handmade notebooks, plus I’ve got some products into a shop in town – so it’s all go! Here are some samples of what I’ve been doing:

Light leather

Leather 1

Leather 2

 

Bright coptic

Coptic spines

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Oh My, Origami! New year, new makes

So far this year I’ve been trying out lots of new origami! Here are just a few samples of what I’ve been making:

New flowers

Bunch of flowers

Two tags

Paper pig

Mini Vase

 

 

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Paper Flower Workshop: test run

Origami workshop creations

 

Over the Festive season, tucked in between Christmas and New Year, I ran my very first workshop. It was just a small group at a friend’s house and I knew everyone there, so I figured it would be a good way to test things out. Check out my team of paper folders 🙂 :

Happy workers!

Happy workers!

The main project I wanted to try out was the origami kusudama flower: a modular item made up of five petal units. These are the same flowers I used to make the wedding flowers I did recently. The folds are fairly straightforward, but not so simple that there’s no challenge, and the end result is very satisfying!

Step 1: I made sure I brought along everything we’d need. This is one step I got right first time – squares of practice paper, squares of pretty paper, glue, glue pot and enough sticks/brushes for everyone, paperclips, sparkly beads on wire, pearls, sticky gems… ok so I forgot a table cloth and had to borrow an old sheet, but I still think I did a pretty good job.

Flowers in the making

Flowers in the making

It being my first time, I had trouble trying to gauge who needed help, who wanted help, and who wanted to be left alone to figure it out for themselves. Everyone is different and works differently but we all got there in the end- apart from my husband, who gave up after one petal, but I’m ignoring that.

Someone's done this before...

Someone’s done this before…

Overall the workshop took about an hour, which I think is a good amount of time. We were all there for the evening though, so carried on and did some teeny cranes and butterflies!

Ta da!

Ta da!

The experience was really good fun and I would love to do some proper workshops in the future. There are definitely things to improve on though, and I’ve come up with some useful hints and tips for anyone thinking of running their own workshop:

  1. Make sure you have EVERYTHING with you. I know you say you think you have. But maybe just double check?
  2. Have an example of whatever you’re making to show people – on a large scale if possible.
  3. Explain the fundamentals of the craft you’re about to demonstrate; the basic techniques, maybe a bit of history, uses in today’s society.
  4. Write out step-by-step instructions FOR YOURSELF. Really, do it. I’ve made well over 500 flower petals but when it came to showing other people, I had a block on the basic steps. I just couldn’t think if I was doing it right. So write yourself a how to!
  5.   Before doing the workshop, talk through the steps you’ll be showing to someone you know well. Someone who will butt in and tell you if what you’re saying doesn’t make sense. Somethings are easy to do but not explain. “Just fold this bit here… no this bit… yeah… fold it to that other bit over there…”
  6. Talk clearly, explain fully, demonstrate as neatly as possible and keep looking round at everyone to make sure they’re all up to speed. As I mentioned before, it is hard to gauge how much help people want and need, but I think this will come with time.
  7. Time your workshop!

I think that just about covers everything 🙂 Till next time x

Close up origami

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Happy New Year

 

Hope you all had a good festive season! Yes? No? Get up to anything crafty? New Year resolutions? FAB.

It’s all go here at The Craft Fantastic HQ – I’m now officially a full-time crafter! WHOOP! I’m VERY excited, as you can imagine.

First things first: this isn’t a decision I made lightly, and I’m aware that I’ll need to work hard to get this business off the ground. With that in mind, I’ve taken a few steps to make sure I stay on target.

  1. GOAL LISTS. The idea is to have one list for each month – so far I’ve written Jan and Feb and I’ll keep adding as I go along – I’m still figuring out how much time things will take.
  2. THINGS TO DO EVERY DAY. This is a list of activities I’m going to do every. single. day. It’s a good mix of work, work work and downtime; things like exercise, read, craft, write, catch up on emails and social media, housework etc.

Ok – so only two steps! I’m just getting started though, learning as I go- lots more hints and tips on starting out to come 🙂

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