Now I have finished and finalised my book, I am printing it myself and then binding it myself. This is the process that I have used to do this:
- I had to buy the paper I wanted to use. I went for a creamy/white paper with about 180gsm so it is thicker than standard. I brought this in A4 sheets because each page of mine is individually 10×8 roughly. If I print individual pages this incurs a perfect bind rather than a sewn bind, based on the fact that my book is an odd size for finding paper for double page spreads.
- I then took the InDesign file I had created of my book, and individually printed each page, rotating the paper out of the printer each time to print on both sides. I needed to use the bypass tray because of the thickness of the paper. I had to set up the print options to accommodate for the bypass tray and for thicker paper. I also had to set up with crop marks and lines on so I could give the best estimate that my pages matched up. (I did have a big issue with printing on page because the margins kept moving upon printing, but I was told by Tim Adams this can happen. To rectify it I had to export my document as individual page jpegs which I then placed on a new layout and could print from. This worked.) Once all my pages had printed I had two books ready to go to illustration.
- In illustration I used the crop marks on the paper to cut the pages to the right size and then lined them up in the correct order. I left a slightly bigger margin on the left border because I knew some of this would be lost to the binding machine and it wouldn’t matter so much.
- I then got them bound using the perfect binding machine. (One did bind the wrong way round so I had to cut the glue off and rebind the correct way round.)
- Once bound the pages then had to be cut to size so they were all equal and no pages overhung. This was done using a special guillotine on all three sides. I had to ensure that I did not lose any of the work on the pages so I had to be careful of this.
- Once they were all cut and of equal length I could then begin to work on my hardback covers.
- I had to measure my pages and give 3mm extra on 3 sides for the grey board so the pages would be protected inside. I then was able to cut the right size out of the grey board using a scalpel and ruler. I did this twice for the front and back cover. I then had to put the front and back cover around my pages to work out how big I needed my spine to be, which I could then cut from the grey board using the scalpel. (I did everything twice, because I made 2 books.)
- Once the grey board had been cut, I could then begin to mark out my book binding cloth. The book binding cloth was laid out on the cutting board and then the piece of grey board I had cut were laid out over the top. I ensured the cloth was straight before I began to mark out the outline. I left a rulers width around the outside of the grey board because this is what will be pulled over to secure the material in place. I also gave 3mm either side of the spine piece of grey board so there is flexibility within it.
- I then marked 3mm from each corner and drew a diagonal line which would help to fold in the material. I then cut out one big shape using the scalpel.
- Once the shape was cut out, I could then stipple the glue onto the material before placing the grey board in their right places.
- Then using a bone folder I rubbed the edges of the cloth against the grey card before pulling it over and down, securing it in place and nipping in the ends. I made sure to do the long edges first and then the shorter sides and this gives a more secure holding.
- Once it was all glued into place, I then flattened it using some rocks to keep it set ready to be used later.
- In the meantime I created end papers for my book that will go in to attach and cover over the messy ends from the folding. I chose green end papers to match the inside of my book. These will then go on the front page of my book and the front of the cover and the back cover and the back page to tidy and offer support. I would go on to attach these at a later time.
- I then printed off my title onto MFD paper which was then cut down and oiled so that it because translucent. I am screen printing my title onto the book so this is the process I need to use to get the best result. I decided I would also like to emboss so this came later after printing.
- The screen printing process was quite complex and long and involved UV light and mixing colours. I had originally thought I would have a black title but because my book is quite dark on the cover, I have opted for an off white instead so it stands out a bit more. We had to put the paint on the frame and then check all the text lined up where we wanted it to be printed. Once this worked I could then scrape the paint over the screen print, which would print it on the covers of my book. It took a lot of time to set up the correct measurements!
- I decided to not emboss my book because this would look a bit too ‘family album’ which I was trying to avoid, and also it would have potentially damaged the book I had already created. Plus in this case, I think the minimalist book design works really well and gives a more old fashioned, professional look to the work.
- I then stuck the perfect bound pages into the hardback cover of the book and attached my end pages using PVA and the stippling technique.
- I then had to weight my book down for a while to set the glue. I made sure the spine was loose so that it didn’t get crushed under the weight. Once out the book couldn’t be opened for a while because it had to stay set.
- My book was finished!
Overall my book took 2 days to print, bind and create but it was such a fantastic experience and I love the outcome I have created!
(In the photos Mark let me photograph him showing the actions taken to create the book, but I did most of the things I could myself and he made a great model to show the process!)