Friday, June 15, 2012

Bookbinding 101: Linen Tape

When a book structure calls for tape, linen tape was traditionally used, and today it is still used by most bookbinders and conservationists instead of cotton tape.

It's not sticky backed tape like duct or masking, rather, it is basically a narrowish woven fabric, which you sew, and maybe also glue, to the pages when constructing some styles of books. The ends of the tapes are then glued, and/or sewn, onto the covers. The last photo below shows one way tape is used in bookbinding (however ribbon was used rather than linen tape - the stitch is the Romanesque stitch).

Linen tape comes in different sizes. Just pick the width that fits your design and/or budget.

Cotton tape is not as strong but it is cheaper, so if you're making a book that doesn't need to last for a long, long time, then it can be a good alternative that costs less.

Cotton tape

A trick I learned from Lizzy House: use book cloth as the tapes. I've had a lot of fun experimenting with this.

Bookcloth can be a tape substitute

Here are three good reasons to try substituting linen book cloth for linen tapes:

Reason 1: you can cut the book cloth into strips as wide as you need to, which especially helps when creating larger books. 

Reason 2: The linen bookcloth, if backed with paper, adds extra strength to the binding, and adds a little thickness (which can help for reason 3).

Reason 3: You can make fun designs with the tapes on the inside or outside of the cover by cutting the ends into shapes. In a previous post we have a few examples of book-cloth-as-tapes showing through the the paste down (the paste down being the cover side of the endpaper). The pages are sewn onto those tapes just the same way as can be seen here. You may optionally place the decorative ends of the tapes on the face of your cover, and depending on the book structure it may either show as a raised design through the cover material, or you may leave it visible. The last photo below shows visible tape on a completed book (albeit with ribbon instead of book cloth).

Reason 3a: With book cloth, your color choices are much greater than when using "real" tape, giving you more options in your design.

Book cloth backed with paper

You may of course use traditional linen or cotton tape in similarly decorative ways, but book cloth gives more options in width, shape, and color.

You can also use ribbon instead of tape or book cloth, but durability may not approach that of linen.

Ribbon used as tape - works, but may or may not be as durable
- Romanesque stitch -

Anything to add to the discussion? Please leave a comment.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Cordbound Class at the Central Utah Art Center

Cordbound Bookbinding Class 

Central Utah Art Center 
86 North Main Street - Ephraim, UT 

June 16, 2012 
10 am - 4pm 

Class is for beginners but all levels welcome!

 The workshop goes from 10am to 4 pm with an hour break for lunch. You're welcome to bring a sack lunch. The cost is $55 per person which includes the materials and some tools you'll need for the class. Bring a friend and get a discount! $30 off when you and a friend sign up together.

To register and pay for the class, sign up here (Note that there are two options in the drop down menu):

In the class you'll create a traditional quarter leather cordbound book using modern methods and tools. The cordbound book dates back to the 5th century and it was introduced when Byzantium monks established their first scriptorium, Byblos, in modern Lebanon. The Arabs were the ones to bring this style to life with all sorts of decorative work, gorgeous gold embossing and clasp closures. They still make the most wonderful cordbound books in the world. With your choice of leather and papers from around the world, you’ll create and keep your own raised cord bound book.

Students need to bring both a sack lunch and the basic tool kit. Everything else is provided!

Basic tool kit to bring: Scissors, Pencil, Metal edged Ruler, Bonefolder, 1" flat brush for glue, Bookbinding Awl, X-acto type craft knife with extra blades and a Cutting Mat or old magazine to cut on

If you can't locate any of these tools, please contact me as we do have bone folders and awls we can sell to you. Everything else should be attainable at Walmart or your local hardware store.

Purchase the class for $55 now through Paypal by adding it to your cart via the Buy Now button above or email to register and pay via mail/in-person. If you've taken the class before and just want a refresh or the good time of making a cord bound book with a fun group, please contact us for a discounted price and to reserve your spot.