Are you ready to dive into the enchanting world of bookmaking, where words transform into tangible art? Whether you’re a creative journal keeper, or simply someone with a love for crafting, bookmaking is a delightful art that allows you to bind your thoughts and dreams into beautifully handcrafted pages. To embark on this journey, you’ll need a few essential tools, each playing an important role in bringing your creations to life. In this blog, I’ll explore six indispensable tools for bookmaking: the awl, the bone folder, the eyelet setter, waxed linen thread (or embroidery floss), large-eye needle and binder clips.
- An Awl:
At the heart of bookmaking lies the need to create precise holes for binding. This is where the awl comes into play. This simple yet indispensable tool allows you to punch holes through the pages of your book with accuracy. Whether you’re stitching pages together or attaching decorative elements, the awl ensures that your book’s structure remains secure and sturdy. One thing I would add to this is a 1/8″ hole punch. You can purchase these at most craft stores. I use the hole punch specifically when I’m punching holes for eyelets which I will discuss further on in the article. I purchased my awl at Delta Art and Drafting in Edmonton. https://www.deltaart.ca/product/00/77LIBBHT105/Lineco-Books-by-Hand-Heavy-Duty-Paper-Awl
- The Bone Folder:
If you’ve ever marvelled at the crispness of professionally bound books, chances are a bone folder was involved. This versatile tool, often made from bone or plastic, is used for a variety of tasks. It helps you create clean, sharp folds in your pages and covers, ensuring a polished appearance. Additionally, it’s handy for smoothing out adhesive and eliminating air bubbles, resulting in a professional finish. The main reason I love a bone folder is, it embosses your paper. Some papers are not easy to fold because of their weight or stiffness. Using a bone folder facilitates a nicer fold. Imagine trying to fold a sheet of 140 watercolour paper?! You need a bone folder to do this! I purchased my bone folder at Michaels. https://canada.michaels.com/en/fiskars-traditional-bone-folder/10242441.html
- The Eyelet Setter:
When you’re crafting a book that’s not just functional but also visually appealing, the eyelet setter becomes your best friend. This tool enables you to securely attach eyelets, which can be used for decorative purposes, as well as to reinforce holes for binding. With the right eyelet setter, you can easily add eye-catching embellishments to your creations. My favourite size eyelet is 1/8″. If you are using this size eyelet, you will use the 1/8″ hole punch to first punch your hole before inserting the eyelet and setting it into your page. You will also need a small hammer to set the eyelet. My hammer is the gold tool you see in the photo above. Eyelets come in different sizes and colours. I prefer plain silver. This colour goes with all colours. I purchased my eyelet setter and eyelets at Micheals. Make sure you have the proper size setter for the proper size eyelet. https://canada.michaels.com/en/eyelets-with-setter-kit-by-artminds/10395400.html
- Waxed Linen Thread or Embroidery Floss:
The thread you choose plays a crucial role in the durability and aesthetic appeal of your book. Waxed linen thread and embroidery floss are popular choices. Waxed linen thread offers durability and strength, perfect for long-lasting bindings. On the other hand, embroidery floss comes in a wide array of colours. I use embroidery floss because it’s easy to get at Michaels. I use a combination of bees wax and paraffin wax to wax my embroidery floss. I run it through the wax several times until my floss becomes stiff. The stiffness of the thread/floss creates a stitch that holds together tighter. If you don’t have wax, linen thread is the way to go. https://canada.michaels.com/en/waxed-linen-cord/10268124.html
5. Large-Eye Needle:
No bookmaking toolkit is complete without a large-eye needle. This specialized needle is designed with a generously sized eye, making it easy to thread with waxed linen thread or embroidery floss. Its simplicity belies its importance, as it becomes your primary tool for stitching together the pages of your book. With a large-eye needle in hand, you can effortlessly create clean and secure bindings. This tool is a true game-changer, simplifying the stitching process and allowing you to focus on the artistry of bookmaking. One more thing to add if you are using a needle is a needle threader to make the threading effortless. I would go to the store to purchase your needle. You need to see how big the eye is. Bring your linen thread/embroidery floss along with you.
6. Binder Clips:
Without them you may struggle making them a tool that’s indispensable! I find binder clips are great for holding everything together before you poke in your awl. They are also great for keeping pages out of the way if you were to create an accordion pleated book. I have a few different sizes in my tool kit. Staples carries assorted sizes of binder clips. https://www.staples.ca/products/496892-en-staples-boxed-binder-clips-small-34-black-72-pack
Whether you are crafting journals, sketchbooks, or unique gifts, the awl, bone folder, eyelet setter, thread, needle and binder clips are essential tools that will help you create books that are not only functional but beautiful.
So, gather your tools, unleash your imagination, and start crafting your literary masterpieces. Happy bookmaking!
If you are looking to make a book or two, I have several classes on my website that you may want to check out.