Minouette, thanks for the tip! I'll try it out next time. I also just got this stuff called Sobo glue, which is white and gooey like PVA. But that doesn't say much, cause Elmer's glue is white and gooey, too. Hehe, we'll see how it goes.
Lovely gangster - I just wrote a really long reply to your book post. I attach the signatures to the cover with endpages. An endpage is basically a sheet of paper folded in half (the same size as the pages in your signatures). You put one at the front of the book and one at the back, between the cover and the text block. This is an alternative to gluing the the text block directly to the cover. So you just glue one half of the endpage to the cover and the other half to your text block. Usually people don't glue the entire half of the endpage to the text block, however. I usually just glue it 1/2" in from the spine. You do glue the whole half of the endpage that attaches to the cover board. Hope that helps!
Thanks, XbelovedXoneX. These are so much fun to make. I find a lot of the paper and hardcovers at thrift stores and flea markets. I haven't tried it myself yet, but I think you can sometimes get books from public and school libraries that they're going to throw out anyway. I also sometimes like to make my own papers to put in them, even if it's just like scribbling madly all over a piece of paper. It sounds lame, but it can end up looking pretty cool.
Hello! It looks like you are off to a pretty good start! I encountered the same problem with my first hardcover book and several books after that. You have to toy around with it some to see what works for you, but here are a couple of my suggestions - I hope they work (and apologies if you already know some of this stuff).
First, you're right about having the right amount of pages. Too many or too little will indeed funk a book up. It's usually a good idea to fold all of your signatures and press them overnight. When you revisit them the next day, you might find that the stack has shrunk quite a bit and you'll probably have to add some more signatures to fill it out. If you just jump the gun and don't press the pages before sewing everything together, they will flatten later inside of your book and form horrible gaps between the signatures.
Also, I find it's a good idea to make lots and lots of signatures with smaller numbers of pages per signature (this will reduce the gappage). For my recent books I've been doing about 20 signatures with 4 sheets of paper per signature. The downside is that if you pull your thread too hard whilst sewing, it might rip through the pages, since there are so few.
As for your specific problem, I've looked at some of my store bought journals and noticed that they leave a bit of a gap between the spine and coverboard. This extra little bit has made a pretty big difference for my books. I usually glue the endpage to the cover first (the endpage has already been folded in half). Then I use my bone folder to further define the crease (where the endpage is folded in half) between the cover board and the spine, right where that extra little gap is. Then I glue the end page to the text block. Just remember that if you leave that gap, you might have to make your text block pages a little wider than usual to compensate (or cut your cover board down a tiny bit). Also, I exaggerated the size of the gap in the diagram - it doesn't have to be that large.
I'm sorry if this is confusing - hopefully the wee diagram will help. Feel free to ask any questions, and experiment and look at any hardcover books you might have at home.
Thanks, BeaG! Glad you like them. My room is positively swimming with these sea creature books ... I'm going to try to make some scaley masks next. I've been wanting to make masks for a long time and I think I'll finally have the chance this winter break. Whee!
Thank you, gopoundsand. Hehe, I like your user name.
Thanks, Thumbelina. I use Lineco brand PVA (Polyvinyl Acetate ... hopefully I spelled that correctly ...) which has always worked well for me. It's sort of pricey (well, by my standards, hehe), and the generic art stores like Michael's don't carry it. I'm cruising for a new kind of glue to use for my books - do you know of anything good? I've also used Lineco's wheat paste. It's this white powder that comes in a plastic jar. You mix it with water and pop it in the microwave and it makes a clear un-runny glue/paste. However, it's messy and gets lumpy pretty quickly. But, yeah, Lineco's PVA is quite good.
Here is a taste of what I've been up to lately ... most of these are on etsy. And I still have more books that I need to photograph. I know I should experiment with something new, but I can't seem to stop making these!
janearina: I usually cut the pages out with a utility knife, being extra careful not to cut any part of the spine or cover of the book.
barbs: A lot of these papers came from the depths of my ancient house, actually. We have tons of old children's and science books and old business papers. There are also places where you can swap papers with other people (like here).
I made the ribbon holes simply by cutting little rectangles into the cover board. Then I put the ribbon through the hole, leaving about 0.5 in. to glue to the inside of the cover. Then I pasted down the new end pages *over* the glued down ribbon. That probably wasn't too clear, hehe. I can make a diagram if anyone wants ...
The bulk of it was made with 65lb cardstock, I believe. Heavier than regular printer paper. On the outside of each signature (each group of papers) is a piece of either green pastel paper or a page from an Italian book. And the back cover of the book is covered with cloth.
Augh, there is so much homework that needs to be done right now, but, naturally, I am putting it off. I wanted to post this book, which is one of many that I've made from polymer clay. I lurve mixing the colors and picking out the shells and fibers.
Thanks, Zitrone. That was my original intent - to make a book purse. I got a bunch of Reader's Digests for that purpose, in fact. Unfortunately I can't sew to save my life. If you do end up making a sketchbook, please post it! I'd love to see it.
Krajackex, I cut and folded the pages, then bound them together with embroidery floss. I used a chain stitch, which I learned from Shereen LaPlantz's book Cover to Cover. So I sort of sewed them together then glued the whole thing into the Reader's Digest cover.
I know that's a really general description - if you'd like something more in-depth, let me know and I'll be more specific.