Monday, March 12, 2018

Making Books......

Now And Then......

I Know I am not alone, Dear Readers in my Love of Books, both RL sized and Miniature. It has been one of the constants in my miniature buildings that there would need to be books, shelves of books, reading nooks, whole Libraries of books. I bought the Secret Christmas House kit because it had a Library.... I just had to have it! I have collected mini books made by miniaturists from around the Globe whose workmanship I admire immensely. I have been sent gifts of mini books from readers of this blog on more than one occasion! And I have dabbled in making my own mini books... trying out various methods offered by other bloggers.... using printed pages shared by other miniaturists. Sometimes the books are "readable".... sometimes they are covered blocks of wood never meant to be opened. I do not remember just how young I was when I made my first dollhouse book... but I still have it and I was probably about ten years old when I made it. I was thirteen when I took an art class that taught us how to properly bind a book... stitching together the quires and making the spine and covers in the traditional methods. In the above picture you can see a mini book I made a couple of years ago, just to test the traditional methods in mini scale. The pages I used were "antiqued" (ie tea stained) and don't lie flat.... and the cover material is a "faux leather" I wanted to try out....

But I don't think it looks very good in close-up shots..... 
it is supposed to look worn... but it actually looks too threadbare
 and you can see the cloth texture in places.
But I really wanted to see how the binding methods would work
 in projects this small...

Because if you stitch the pages together right 
and attach the "spline" correctly...
 to the cover and not to the back edges of the pages....
 then when the book is opened, 
the pages fan out without damaging the binding.....!

I did it incorrectly on a book I made in my teen years....

I had stitched the pages together correctly... 
but I had forgotten that you don't want to glue
 the spine to the back of the pages.... 
I think I was impatient and wanted to get the cover on....
so I could do the illuminating.....

This was made in 1974.... 
well before the era of color copiers... 
or black and white copiers for that matter!
 Hand painted and lettered.

Still incomplete... I admit!
I never found the "right" cloth for the cover....
So why am I showing you this, you might ask?
Well, a recent Reader's comment asked 
whether I planned to fill the shelves in 
the Hardwick Hall Library with individual books
 or "dummy rows" with a few real books?
And I have to confess, Dear Readers,
 that I had not decided the answer to that question!
My Bookbinder self wants to make all real illuminated books.....
 but my saner self knows that this is not the Library
 that should hold those books!
The main problem being access.... 
way back in the corner of this Dark attic... 
behind the spiral stairs and the Hearth...
And a lesser problem being the lifetime(s) it would take
 to make all those books!
But Millicent's question led me to think that 
I should at least test out some of the book-making techniques 
that might be appropriate for this project....
 to see if I could manage to get it done in a reasonable amount of time!

The simplest of these methods seemed to be the printed covers
 glued around a block of wood method...
 and I even had the materials on hand..... 
having intended for years to try this method!
I had printed out some copies of book covers
 that were shared by someone a long time ago... 
I have forgotten who!
But I had printed them on paper not card stock...
 before realizing my error! 
So that meant I would need to glue the paper to card stock
 before cutting the covers out....
And it was a bit tricky to match the thickness of the printed books
 to the balsa wood I had bought long ago.... 
lots of extra cutting involved to get the shapes right!

And the balsa wood needed to be painted gold on the edges that would be the "pages"....

And the edges and inside border of the covers needed to be painted as well.... 

Because if you don't paint them,
 the white edges will show and ruin the effect!

And eventually I had a whole row of books
 in "sets" that would maybe fill a single shelf!
But how to get them into the shelves.... 
way back in the dark corner of the Attic Library...
That was the Question!
I am always reluctant to glue things down.... 
I like to Play with them....
 the Room isn't ready yet... 
what if I need to change my mind about something....?
But what good will all these books be if they don't get into the shelves....
And what good will all these shelves be if they don't get filled with books...?
Then I remembered a technique 
that somebody showed on their blog a long time ago... 
so sorry that I don't remember who.....
Which was to attach the items to a strip of clear plastic....

Cut from a clear package cover.....

Using a tiny dot of Museum Wax on the bottom......

The row of books will hide the plastic strip.....

Like so!

Here you can see the bottom side.....

But they are easily movable... 
and even removable... 
without damaging the books!

So we have to test them on the shelves.....
I think it will work! 
This way I can re-arrange them as I see fit 
once more of them are made...

Which I started right away in a slightly larger size
 after realizing that the first batch end up being quite small.... 
only 1/2 inch tall!
I had printed out sheets of the larger size all those years ago... 
and even though the print quality was not very good... 
the pixels are too large at this size... 
I think they will work well enough 
for the dark back corners of the Library...
And I had printed them on card stock which was slightly easier to use...
but still needed the edges painted....

You can see the two sizes here for comparison.....

The thickness of the wood matters!

Another row attached to the plastic strip.....

And testing the fit in the shelves.....
Gosh it's dark in there.....!

What if we turn on the spotlights.......
Or try them on different shelves.....

Here you can see them on the other back corner shelves.
Well, Dear Readers, I am sure by now you have realized, 
that I have realized that I will be making a lot of books... 
and most of them will not be "real" books....
And they may or may not be firmly attached to the shelves.
But every Now and Then, 
there will Possibly be a book or two
 that are made from the Pages to the Spline
 in Complete mini bound book fashion....
Because I just Love making Bound Books!


  1. Your rows of books look wonderful, the row with different hights especially. the strip of plastic is a very clever idea .

    1. Hi Margot! I have a lot of books to make! LOL! Using the wax means I can re-arrange them later too! I am glad you like it! :)

  2. Your books are fantastic. I like that ageing look you have achieved. And the plastic strip is a such a clever idea. I understand and share the love for a hand made readable book, they are one of a kind but when having to fill lots os shelves, your solution is the way to go. Well done!

    1. Hi Alexandra! It would take too long to realize the "dream" of real books for all of them! I have decided that the "fake" books will be good enough for this project! And they will take long enough to make! LOL! But I will make more real books someday! :):)

  3. Bonjour Betsy, j'adore aussi les livres et j'ai pris beaucoup de plaisir à en fabriquer pour ma mini-bibliothèque. A l'intérieur je ne mets pas de bois mais plusieurs épaisseurs de carton fin.

    1. Hi Jean-Claude! I LOVE your Library! I am sure I probably got these covers to print from your blog? I will think of you while I make these books and remind myself of the pleasure to find in crafting them! :) And I will try using card as well as wood... it might be easier to get the right size! :)

  4. What an excellent idea to glu the row of books on a clear strip of plastic! Your books look wonderful in place on the shelves. Making a miniature book by hand, according the RL guide lines, will be difficult, but it's possible. It's a lot of work, but worth it, especially because you'll put them in this special library.
    Again I've learned something new: museum wax. I've never heard of it, is it a sort of tranperant substance..?? And won't it give sticking residue after use on the books?
    Good luck with making new and more books, Betsy!
    Hugs, Ilona

    1. Hi Ilona! The Museum Wax is a product that museums use to keep valuable glass and china from "moving" by accident... it is sticky but is based on wax so it will not damage the surfaces. I use "Quik Stik" a product that can be ordered through model train supplies or miniatures suppliers.
      And yes, I will be making books for a long time! LOL!

  5. Replies
    1. Thank you Genevieve! I wish I could make more "real" ones... and will probably make some of them "real".... but truly they don't need to be all readable! :)

  6. Hello Betsy,
    The books look wonderful. Real mini books are fantastic for display on a table or chair to give the impression someone ewas reading them and then left the room, however ina bookcase I think the covered wood blocks are best. they look fantastic and take a fraction of the time. Your books all look very realistic and the plastic strip to hold them into place is brilliant.
    Big hug

    1. Thanks Giac! I agree that all the books don't need to be "real" books... but that some of them should be on display as you point out... to give the illusion that someone was just reading them! I have my work cut out for me! LOL!

  7. Replies
    1. Thank you Claude! I love books... and hope to make more "real" ones too!

  8. I really have wanted to make mini books! I need to try some of these methods.

    1. Hi Tiny New World! Welcome to my blog! I think mini books are pure magic! I have so much to learn about making them "real"... and I am like you wanting to try to make my own.... (I have bought a lot of books!) Fortunately there are a lot of tutorials on the internet and pictures of covers to print out too! Good luck with making some! :)

  9. Betsy the book you made growing up and lovingly illustrated is truly a treasure! I hope to see it finished and displayed prominently, however long it takes for you to complete.
    It might be fun just to make a few "real" ones to sprinkle among the rows on the bookshelves. You could differentiate them from the "dummies" by giving them tassel ended bookmarks, which would also serve as a handle of sorts to pull them off the shelf with. How delightful they would be when the time came to play with the house!
    It looks like you are making great progress, and I can't wait to see the shelves stocked and ready for learning!

    1. Hi Jodi! Thank you for the encouragement to "finish" the tiny Bible I started so long ago! It is now on the list of "to do someday"! LOL! And I do plan to make some "real" books to add to the variety too! It will take longer... but it will be more fun that way!!! :)

  10. Genial que te hayas decidido con los libros, te queda genial así las estanterías. Animo ,merece la pena.Buen día:-)

    1. Thank you Contrastes-Rosa! It will take a long time to finish, but it will be worth it! :)

  11. I love your little row of books. And I intend to watch you very closely as you continue to fill your library shelves. My WQ needs some books of her own and I'd like to try and make some so this will be fun for both of us!

    1. Hi Sheila! I imagine the WQ will need some very elegant and Wicked Books! LOL! There are so many options out there... I am still experimenting, but the shelves fill as I try new methods! I look forward to seeing what you come up with! :)

  12. Hi, Betsy - As another ardent book lover, I enjoyed this post immensely! But I haven't tried - yet - to make my own mini books. Your beautiful books are inspiring, though, and make me want to try it myself. The plastic strip idea for arranging and holding the books is an ingenious one; I will certainly try that method, even if I don't make my own books. I love seeing all your books on those attic shelves; they do light up the dark corners! Thank you for a lovely and motivational post!

    1. Hi Marjorie! I am learning that the mini bookshelves are very "forgiving" and will accept almost anything that "resembles" a book! LOL! I hope you gather your courage and jump in... it is no harder than making tiles...;)

  13. This was a Wonderful post Betsy! I already think that you are a Genius when it comes to all of the mini things you make, and I always Applaud your dedication to getting things RIGHT no matter how tucked away or small they may be.
    I truly LOVED seeing those cherished mini books you made during your youth because very often those items become lost or discarded as our crafting skills advance.
    The illuminated Bible IS SIMPLY AMAZING!!! It is something your mini scribe might enjoy helping you with, once his current work at the castle is completed. :)
    Meanwhile, the row of books attached to the acetate is such a Great Idea! Keeps them all aligned and much easier to re-arrange in those Fab corner bookshelves-
    I LOVE IT ALL! ♥

    1. Hi Elizabeth! I LOVE your suggestion that the Castle Scribe help me with completing the Bible!!! :) It definitely merits more progress!
      As for the rest of the books.... it is a project that will lead me who knows where...! There are a lot of options! LOL! And I Love making books! :)

  14. As your blogfriend I really must thank your saner self for winning this argument! Even for Mrs. "But I will know it's there" it's okay to fill plenty of rows of many bookshelves with the easy made versions of miniature books aka non-readable books. Believe me - you will still have enough opportunities to display the splendid ones made with the 1:1 methods in your nooks, at tables, on the floor. ;O) The idea with the plastic strip is terrific, it will give you all the creative freedom to find the best shelf for the books. Your first test runs look awesome - I'm already looking forward to see all these rows of books being drawn on this year's Christmas card... *shows-a-very-broad-grin* But I'm amazed how neat and tidy your witches are with arranging their books - my beary magicians cause chaos even with just paper stacks and having Gertie's cupboard in mind... oh my... does this reflect on me in any way? *pant*

    Birgit (who still needs to say that your early miniature bible is a masterpiece)

    1. Dear Birgit, I am so glad you "approve" of the "quick books" method! LOL! (I do get a bit obsessed!) I am sure there will be not only a lot of methods used with these books.. but a lot of time taken up with learning to make them too! LOL! This is another big project! And as for the "condition" of the book-stacks.... (I once worked in a Library and know how to properly organize books!:)).... the museum wax allows me to "rearrange" the books later... so there is no telling just what they will look like by the time the shelves are finally filled! :):):)

  15. Hi Betsy, I really enjoyed reading through this post. I love the readable book you made, it's such a treasure. I do think you made the right choice with the faux books for this project. There are just so many to be made! Happy book making ;)

    1. Hi Kristine! Yes, I am already glad that I decided to "compromise" and use a lot of "fake" books! They really do look wonderfully old... and how many would I really need to read anyway?! LOL! But I will definitely also be making more "Real" ones too..... it is a project I want to master someday!

  16. Those "fake" books look wonderful on the dark shelves.
    Sorry I'm so late this week - I really enjoyed the blog, with all its questions...
    Love, Mom

    1. Hi Mom! I know you have been very busy! Yes, there are so many options! I am trying a few.... and liking the results! It sets a great "mood" in the room.... and is so much more manageable than real ones! :)

  17. wow these books look wonderfull & amazing dear love your work.. online shopping in pakistan