Saturday, November 14, 2009

Extreme Papercrafting

This weekend, let's take a look at something completely different...a sort of walk down my memory lane of crafting.

I made reference in my last post to making over 100 ornaments a few years ago (four, I think). Anyway, these were miniature books because, for some crazy reason, I figured people would appreciate little, tiny Christmas books to hang on their trees, handmade by me, the Book Worm. These were actually a gigantic hit with my family, but I was crippled for months afterward with wrist pain and numbness in my hands.

Sometimes, extreme crafting is hazardous to your health.

I kept a sample of each ornament for my own tree. Some are, well, embarrassing. Others are pretty cool, like this one:

It was the most technical of all the books I made. I used different papers for the covers because what's the point of making them all the same? I loved the swirly green paper and the sparkly sheer ribbon, until I hung it on the green tree and it disappeared. The holly paper below shows up much better.

Inside, these are accordion folded with pockets holding little cards stamped with words like love, hope, manger, star, etc. The idea is to meditate on one word for each day of the 12 days of Christmas. I made these long before the scor-pal was available. They'd be easier now, but not by much.

Having to tie and untie the bow, however, is a pain in the tookus, so on the remote chance I ever do book ornaments again (on a much smaller scale, of course!) I will use other types of closures, like elastic loops.

Next are little stab-bound books for collecting each year's Christmas postage stamps. These use scraps of ultrasuede for the binding. The idea comes straight from a book on book binding. Ultrasuede is expensive, but a fabric company my MIL told me about sells bags of random small cut scraps for cheap. I had to match paper to the grab-bag fabric, so some were pretty funky colors for Christmas. I like this orange one, though.

I had a pretty big scrap of black ultrasuede, so I made about five or six like this gold and black one:

Here's the inside, so you can see the point of the book.

Can you believe that we used to pay just 34 cents to mail a first-class letter?

Book binding is fun, but it is much more technical and complicated to learn than card making. The stab binding above requires an awl (danger! danger!), and the gluing of paper on bookboards is tricky and messy. You have to align the grain in the matte board and papers and fabric to keep boards from warping, and everything is glued using PVA glue completely covering the paper, which curls awkwardly when wet. Mitered corners, end papers, needles, and lots of cutting...definitely not clean and simple.

If anyone is interested in giving book binding a try, let me know and I'll post titles of the books that helped me the most. It is both challenging and fun, and once you master the basic techniques, it's really not that hard...if you're a detail-oriented AR/OC type. *wink*

I'll post a couple more of these tomorrow, and then we'll resume CLEAN AND SIMPLE CARDS, because I have a few new cards to share that I hope you'll like!


  1. Susan, these are lovely! I got my papercrafting start in bookbinding, too -- and you're right, it is kind of a pain for folks (like me) who are perhaps a tad less detail-oriented. I do not miss PVA oozing everywhere! I wish I'd had the foresight to take photos of my projects back then -- most were gifts and are long gone. Looking forward to the next post!

  2. Oh my, Susan, I sure wish I'd been on your gift list 4 years ago. These are totally awesome. So delicate! And tiny packages DO hold the best surprises. What wonderful surprises inside the ones you made. I don't know where you get your patience, your motivation, your time, or your creativity, but if you could bottle it, you'd be rich and famous. These are positively fabulous, Susan. Soooo much better than a store-bought ornament.

  3. These are real works of art. Beautiful. Love the book binding.

  4. Susan - these are FANTABULOUS... which I think was a word that I was using around the time that you made these little wonders. I can't imagine the hours that it took to make them - but it sure was worth it. However, it did make my arthritic thumb ache thinking about all that cutting! :-)
    thanks so much for sharing...jaydee

  5. OMG, these are AMAZING! Your attention to details just blows me away. I would love to see a picture of your Christmas tree with these 'little works of art' hanging from the branches.

  6. If I was in awe of your talent before there are no words for how I think of you now. I'm almost lost for words over these little gems which are minature works of art. This is something I have always thought I would like to do but having seen these I know my limitations.
    Thank you so much for sharing with us and I too wish I had been on your list 4 years ago!!!

  7. My oh my! What treasures! The gold and black is my favorite.

    OCD/AR is a "disease"? Looks like a prized asset to me! Wish you were selling it.

  8. Thanks, everyone!

    Christine M, if you want to learn, you can. Trust me. When I started book binding, I was totally not crafty AT ALL. Determination and a few good instruction books are all you need. And it really is so much fun!

    Bahb, I joke about being AR/OCD, and I suppose I am, just a little bit, but my mom agrees with you: the only reason why things get done in this world is because someone decides to DO THEM. That takes a bit of AR/OCD, no matter what!

  9. wow Susan...these little books are fabulous but my, what a lot of work. I have made the waterfall books before but have never tried bookbinding. I guess I am an impatient crafter.
    thanks for sharing

  10. I had a lady come to our crafting group, and she was working on her mini book that she was binding. Nobody else got any work done, we all sat and watched her created these tiny little gems.
    thanks for sharing these with us!

  11. These are amazing, so beautiful and such an original idea! Jo x

  12. What a beautiful job. While I love clean and simple items, I also love doing detailed items. I am also ocd (according to my dd)not sure what the ar is though. Please let me know what books you used to help with the book binding.
    LOVE IT!

  13. Wow...these are incredible, and I can see why they were such a hit!! Ouch about the wrist pain, though. Thanks for sharing once again!! I don't know that I would have the patience to make these. ;)


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