Sunday, February 20, 2005

A Tutorial....... Piano Hinge Book Instructions

This is my first bookbinding tutorial. I am hopeful others will find it interesting and enjoy creating this piano hinge book. As with all instructions, PLEASE READ THE ENTIRE INSTRUCTIONS prior to assembling. I’ve scatter in a few hints and tips along the way.

Start by gathering the following supplies:
3 sheets lightweight cardstock, 8 ½" x 11"
7 bamboo skewers, approx. 12" long, pointed at one end
a No. 2 soft lead pencil
a ruler
an eraser, artist grade
a sharp craft knife or a pair of wire cutters, for trimming skewer ends {optional}

Begin by cutting each sheet of paper in half, to make a sheet 8 ½" x 5 ½". Then, fold each sheet in half, to 4 ¼" x 5 ½" using care not to create a sharp crease as this edge of the paper will form the binding of the book. Use any medium and create any background technique now and embellish with desired final appearance. Next we will begin with the actual binding.

Using the ruler, measure in ¼” along the folded edge of the pages, make a mark very lightly in pencil along the top and bottom edge of the page. I say lightly as all the marks created will later be erased. Line the ruler up with these marks and draw a straight line vertically parallel to the spine. Starting at the top of the spine, measure every ½” and draw a horizontal line from the spine to the previous created line until you reach the bottom of the page. Stack this page on the top of all the previously folded pages. Using your scissor, begin creating a slit from the folded spine to the horizontal drawn line. When finished you should have 11 tabs. Remove the top sheet at this time and erase all the pencil marks you previously made.

Now, we’ll move on to assembling the book pages together; this is known as binding in handmade bookbinding terminology. Begin by bending the top tab towards you gently. Bend the next or second tab gently back from you. Continue to alternate the tabs in this fashion until you reach the bottom of the page. The next page will be the opposite; you will begin by bending the top tab away from you and alternating the bends until you reach the bottom. Continue in this fashion until all tabs on every page has been bent. I like to turn my pages over and stack them to keep them in the order I’ll bind them. When finished with all pages, flip the stack over, the top page is page 1, the next is 2, and so on.

The tabs created in the previous step will create loops that will hold the skewers that will form the spine in the book in this next step. Pick up the top 2 pages, using care not to reverse the order of them. Insert the skewer through the top of the first loop on the first page. You may find it easier to actually open the first page and work from the inside coming in from the top and inserting the skewer into the first slot. Next, pick up the 2nd page, on this page you will insert the skewer in the same fashion coming in from the top and out from the bottom ONLY this time you’ll use the second loop. Think of it as weaving the skewer through the pages. Continue to weave from here back into the 3rd loop of the first page, then to the 4th loop of the 2nd page. You will work in this fashion until all the alternating loops have been woven through both pages.

Now, you will begin to add the 3rd page. You will use the remaining loops from the previous page {2nd} and the loops from the 3rd page alternating in the same fashion as previously except this time you will start with the first loop of the 2nd page, coming out the bottom of the same loop and insert the skewer into the 2nd loop of page 3. Continue weaving in this same fashion alternating the skewer into the loops of the 2nd and 3rd page.

You will continue adding pages in this fashion until all 6 pages are used. Remember the pages will alternate at the top loop, all odd numbered pages will begin by inserting the skewer from inside the first loop, while all the even numbered pages will begin from inserting the skewer from the inside of the second loop. Each additional page is alternated in this same fashion. You may add any desired number of pages this way.
An important tip for success is to practice inserting the skewer through the newly slashed and formed loops prior to attempt inserting them to the next page. This allows the loops to expand opening up the tab hinge. Opening up the hinges makes the skewer insertion much easier. If maneuvering the skewer into the next loop is difficult, use another skewer to open up that fold, coming at it from the opposite side or even from inside the page. Sometimes, the wood of the skewer is thicker in places, either choose another skewer OR cut the slit slightly to allow the skewer room for the increased diameter. I suggest for the first time, choose another skewer. {wink}

NOTE: the ¼" depth of the slashes along the folded edge make a snug fit around the skewer. Depending on the skewers used, the slashes may need to be longer or shorter or may vary within the length of the skewer. The tab hinges should be fairly snug around the skewers, holding the pages in place, and therefore, requiring no further means of securing the pages together.

The last page will have remaining loops. You may choose to leave those loops empty or run a skewer through only these loops for a more finished appearance to the book.

Now, you will trim off excess length of the skewers, if so desired. You may choose to leave the length, as I have in an example I’ll post next, and decorate the spine with wire, fibers and beads if you don't wish to cut them off.

©2005 Cathy Highland

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