Secret Belgian Binding

Jan 18, 2023 | Book Arts Study Group

Shhh! This month’s project is a Secret. Secret Belgian Binding, that is. This book form has a reputation for being somewhat difficult when it comes to getting the stitching tension just right. But I have found directions for a new stitching method that helps with that issue. We’ll give it a go on Thursday, January 19th.

We will supply the three book board pieces and you will bring your own bookcloth or paper for the covers. You can use the same paper or fabric for all three pieces or mix it up with a contrasting spine material. For example, you could use solid bookcloth for the spine and printed paper for the front and back panels. Or perhaps your handmade bookcloth for the covers and plain paper for the spine. It’s a maker’s choice. It would be helpful to have your pieces rough cut to approximate dimensions before the class. I will demonstrate a new tip for making nicely mitered corners with bookcloth or heavy paper.

Our book will be based on signatures that are 5 1/2″ tall and 4 1/4″ wide. Coincidentally, this works perfectly when you are using 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper. If you aren’t fussy, just use copier paper. Or if you want fancier paper, try resume, drawing or mixed media paper. The number of pages in each signature will be between 8 for thin copier paper or maybe just 2 or 3 sheets for heavier mixed media paper. You should prepare 6–10 signatures. When stacked, the signatures should be about 1″ thick. (We will be using a 1” spine piece) When moderately compressed, the stack should be about 3/4″ thick. [If anyone wishes to make a different size, feel free to adjust the sizes to meet your needs, and please supply your own book board.]

We will start at 12:30 so we can try to get the covers done and the first few signatures sewn before you take it home to finish. To make best use of our time, PLEASE have your signatures cut, folded and pressed under weights before we meet. And have your cover paper or bookcloth cut to rough dimensions. You will also need to provide end papers to coordinate with your unique cover materials. Each person should also bring 4 binder clips. These are essential for getting the right sewing gap.

This is a classic structure and I hope you will attend. Rain or shine!

Thursday, January 19th, 12:30-3:00 pm
Shepard Garden and Arts Center

~~ LuAnne Hansen