I have been making mini books in various forms for the past year, and this is probably one of my favourites. When I posted the first edition of this, some Craftster members expressed an interest in a tutorial, so I have been working on one for a bit. This was going to be posted on my blog, when this challenge came up, so I am going to post it here instead, as my first ever challenge entry.
I hope it makes sense, and you all like it - but warning, it is seriously picture ZAFTIG.
This tute was made when I made my Rapunzel minibook
, for the Month of Odd Holidays swap recently.Here is the first metal covered one I made recently, in a smaller size for a pendant.For the metal etched cover and hinges
- sheet copper or brass, 22-24 gauge
pure copper or brass decorative hinges
fine steel wool, or fine grit sand paper
Ferric chloride acid
Sharpie marker, black
Staz On or Ranger Archival ink, black
or toner printed images on PnP paper, or presentation/brochure paper
heat tool with transfer point (if using the toner printed images)
silicone sheet (like for lining cookie sheets for baking)
cotton pads, paper towels, scrap cotton fabric, newspaper
shallow plastic trays (like a dollar store food container)
This can be pretty messy, and you are dealing with sharp metal bits, and acid, so wear gloves, safety glasses, and protect your work surface with paper or plastic bags.
Take your sheet metal and measure out the size of your covers with the ruler, marking with the Sharpie, and cut out at least two with the metal shears.
Cut wings of the decorative hinge off of the hinge portion with the shears (the book will be too thick to effectively use this hinge).
Cutting the metal may cause a but of curving/distortion of the metal, so flatten it out gently, using the nylon hammer on the steel block.
Using the shears, snip off the corners, and blunt down any sharp edges, and burrs with the metal file.
Using the steel wool, or fine sandpaper (I prefer the steel wool), smooth out the edges further, and finely sand the surfaces to remove the finish, and give it slight tooth for the image to adhere to.
Here you can see the difference between a sanded piece (left) and the prefinished brass (right).
Soak a cotton pad with alcohol and clean the metal pieces to remove finger prints and any debris, allow to dry
There are many ways to transfer an image onto the metal for etching. You can print toner images onto presentation/brochure paper
, or PnP paper (for making etched circuit boards), and apply them with heat to the metal, and remove the backing paper (I use the silicone cooking sheet, and my bench block to protect my work surface when I do this). The tower image on the cover of the book was an illustration for Rapunzel by A. H. Watson. I copied, and re-sized the image onto PnP paper, and heat transferred it onto the metal as per the instructions. Remember that when you print and then apply, that the image should be printed in the reverse of what you want the end result to be. The hinges were stamped, and the back cover was a combination of Sharpie marker drawing, PnP transfer of the words, and stampings. Whatever is covered by ink/toner will be unetched. Be careful not to handle the surface of the piece when applying the image, as your finger prints could prevent a good transfer or image stamping.
To protect the metal on the edges and the back from being accidentally etched, cover with a layer of Sharpie marker
Place a long piece of duct tape (long enough to dip the middle into the bottom of the tray without touching it, and overhang your plastic tray edges), and lay it on your work surface, sticky side up. Place the metal pieces on the middle of the strip of tape, image sides up.
Carefully pour a shallow layer of acid into a plastic tray. Lift the duct tape up by the short edges, invert, and gently dip into the tray, so that the metal pieces are all submerged in the acid, but not touching the bottom of the tray. Adhere the edges of the tape to the tray edge to hold in place. Allow to sit in the solution until the pieces are etched to your satisfaction. A new solution can etch in about 30 minutes. The acid can be reused, but used solution will take longer to etch the metal.
In another tray, place a thick layer of baking soda. In another tray, a solution of water and baking soda. I eyeball this, but the solution has enough baking soda that the soda no longer dissolves. I just want something that will help neutralize the acid and clean the metal a bit.
After the etch is as deep as you want it (you can feel with gloved fingers, and see it as well), gently remove the pieces from the acid, remove from the tape backing, and place them into the baking soda. This will neutralize the acid (you will see bubbling when this happens).
Then dip it into the water/baking soda solution and use your fingers to rub the solution gently on the piece to neutralize further and clean off some of the toner/ink.
This will not remove all the ink/toner, so take a cotton pad soaked with acetone, and clean the metal pieces with this.
It does a great job removing any remaining black off the metal, especially in nooks and crannies
Here are your freshly etched, and cleaned, metal pieces
This is all well and good, but they don't seem all that impressive, right? They look much better with some patina to highlight the etching. I prefer using a patina solution to age the metal. You could also use paint, or glazes like Vintaj glazes, or even a layers of ink - just experiment to see what you like.
Anyways, I like Jax, and would pour a small amount into a container, and immerse my pieces in it until they become dark.
Gently sand off some of the patina to highlight the etched pieces until you are satisfied with the appearance.
Rub on some Renaissance Wax all over the surfaces of the metal pieces to preserve and seal the patina. After letting it sit a couple of minutes, buff gently with a cotton cloth. It helps to preserve, and also has a nice sheen as well.For the embossed leather spine
(I took this off a tute I made for embossing leather on my blog
- embossing and die cutting machine and platform (like a Cuttlebug, or Big Shot)
water in a mister
leather pieces (not suede)
eyelet setting tool
metal jump rings
punches for metal/leather
rivet setting tool or rivetting hammer
rivets, and decorative brads
Cut a small piece of leather and lightly spritz a light amount of water on the raw side.
Smooth the water out to evenly moisten the leather piece
Place the leather in between an embossing folder
Make a sandwich with the embossing machine platforms, as directed by the manufacturer of your particular embossing/diecutting machine. Run it through the machine until the leather is sandwiched in between the rollers of the machine.
Leave it there for several hours. I left it while I slept. Then remove from the machine, and embossing folder.
The leather will be deeply embossed, but still damp. Allow to dry.
Cut a small piece of leather slightly longer than the length of the book covers, wide enough to allow for the thickness of your pages, and overlapping the front and back covers, with enough space in the middle to set an eyelet. You may need to lay out your cover pieces with the leather to figure this out.To make the cover
Using a small metal punch (I used a 1.8mm one), punch two holes through the hinge pieces where you want to set the rivets. Lay out your pieces of leather and metal to the configuration of the book, as you want it. I sandwich the leather between the metal pieces for greater hold/security.
Use a fine tip sharpie, or light coloured marker to mark the holes of the hinge piece on the leather, so you can punch holes to correspond through the leather. Repeat with the leather pieces and the cover. Note, if you have a longer decorative hinge, like on the second book, you may want to gently bend the hinge pieces with pliers for a closer fit to the actual metal cover, and then mark and punch the aligning holes in the leather and covers - it just looks nicer.
Now you should have holes that align through all three pieces.
Rivet the pieces together
If you find that the ends of the leather are a bit too loose and messy looking, especially if the hinge piece doesn't cover the corners, then punch small holes in the corners of the leather, through the cover underneath, and place more rivets or brads through them to hold the corners down. I like a the brads for something a bit different from the rivets.
Punch a hole in the centre, approximately an eighth of an inch from the top of the piece of leather, and set an eyelet in that hole. Using the pliers, open a jumpring and run it through the eyelet, and close it.To make the pages for the book
- Cardstock, decorative paper
decorative stamps - or whatever you want to decorate the pages with
fine sharp needle
glue (my go to here is Beacon 527 - but you probably can use craft glue)
Measure paper so that it is lightly smaller than the height of the covers, and slightly smaller than double the width of the covers. Cut several pieces. Don't worry about being super precise at this point, as you may need to trim them later.
Using the scoring board and bone folder, score down the centre of each page
Decorate the pages at will - here I stamped them and hand-wrote on them. You could print directly on the pages before cutting them, or use toner transfer images, etc. Decoupaged images can become tacky though and the pages sometimes can stick together. Also keep in mind that you may need to trim the edges of the pages later, so try to keep the image centred on the pages.
The second set of pages were done with toner transferred images, which were printed with a laser printer.
cut another piece of cardstock to be the inside lining cover of the book. Wrap that around the pages. You will ultimately want it to be slightly larger than the finished inside pages, but slightly smaller than the outer cover.
Fold the inside pages together in the order you want them, and use the needle and thread to hand bind them together. There are many sites on the internet that give good instructions on how to sew journals and books that are helpful with this. I used fine Nymo, a beading thread, that was treated with Thread Heaven to help keep it slick and prevent fraying, and a fine beading needle - I have lots of both.
After they are sewn together, fit in the inside cover, and the entire lot of cardstock pages and cover inside the metal cover, and adjust the cardstock pieces, and trim to fit. Give the pages a finished look by inking the edges.
I swear to you, we are almost done!
Now glue your inside pages to the inside of the cardstock cover with a thin layer of glue. Then apply a thin layer of glue to the outside of the cardstock cover, but not the spine, and attach that to the inside of the metal covers. Clamp with binder clamps to to set and dry.
Yes, it is labour intensive, with lots of little steps - but the end result is uber-cute. At least I think so.
I hope that those of you who were interested in making these find this helpful, and the rest of you now want to to try it. Most of all, I hope that these instructions are actually helpful - please let me know if anything needs clarification!