Monthly Archives: May 2012

New Projects – Notebooks and Clay Books

I’ve two new projects this week.  I have no idea which one I’ll finish, but here they are.

The first is my new portfolio and new cover for a replaceable note pad.


More pictures and information about the notebook and portfolio can be found here.


My second project is in honor of Clay Aiken’s outstanding performance on the recent Celebrity Apprentice show.  I have done some Clay books in the past and have given them away, sold them or donated them to the National Inclusion Project.     Here are some of my older Clay books.

This week, I’ll be working on four books.  The first one is for the duet Clay recorded with Dee Snider on “Dee Does Broadway”, “Luck Be A Lady” and it is titled “Lady Luck.”

Lady Luck

The second book is a tribute to Clay’s song on the finale and it is titled, “Always Tomorrow”.

The last Clay book is a throwback to a song Clay sang at a Golfing for Inclusion event. It’s titled “Cross the Desert”.

Cross the Desert

Only dedicated Clay fans will be able to identify the song or the occasion.  The fourth book in non-Clay and is a holdover from an older batch.


I’ve set up a separate page for the books so I can comment and show you the books as they develop.  For general information on how I make my books, please see my pages on making books which start here.

If you have any ideas for themes or titles for more books, please add them to the comments.



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Filed under bookbinding, Craft design

Comedy, Tragedy, or Just a Mess?

I had, what I thought, was a brilliant idea as I was marbling last week.  I have been marbling pages from an old coverless copy of Shakespeare’s plays and I thought I would use the title page of “King Lear” to make a Treasure Tower. It had an interesting line drawing and the beginning of the play.  I then would marble one of the text pages in a similar palette to make the inside.  I was so enthralled with the idea that I did “Much Ado About Nothing” also.  The pages came out quite nicely.








Since these pages are smaller than the paper I usually use, I had to figure out new measurements for all the parts involved – boards,  outside, inside, boxes and lid – plus a bit of trial and error and I was ready to roll.

After cutting the board, I started to paste out the outside paper.  As soon as I started working with it I knew I was in trouble.  When any paper becomes damp it begins to stretch and it also becomes weaker and tears more easily.  The pages I was using were old, cheap paper and they became very fragile as soon as the paste dampened them.  They had gone through the marbling process with some care, but now I was just asking too much. I went ahead, laying the pieces of board in position, but as I folded over the edges, the paper began to fall apart!  Whoops.

By the way, you should always apply the adhesive to the paper and not to the board.  The paper stretches, the board doesn’t.  Let the paper rest for a few seconds so it has time to fully stretch before putting it on board.

I soldiered on and put the inside piece on, but the old paper just wasn’t strong enough to take the folding and unfolding the design of the Towers need.  It would have been fine as the cover of a book.  So now I have a tower that can sit on my desk and only I can see where the folds, cracks and tears are!  From three feet away, it looks great.

Second mistake.  I decided to try to reinforce the remaining paper by adhering another piece to it, just like using interfacing in sewing.  Only problem is that instead of using Japanese tissue paper, which probably would have worked, I grabbed a piece of light weight modern paper.  Another disaster!  As I’ve said a couple of times already, paper stretches when is becomes damp. If you put a pasted piece on top of a dry piece, the dry piece will try to stretch as it absorbs moisture from the pasted piece.  The result – wrinkles, lots of them!  Sometimes you can get lucky and the wrinkles will smooth out as both pieces dry and sometimes they are just a mess.

In spite of everything, I tried out one of the laminated pieces and the old paper just cracked along every place I tried to fold it.

Some pictorial proof to come, if I can bear to take the pictures.  I just hope my next great idea works out more smoothly.

As promised here’s a gallery of the disasters.  Can you spot the problems?

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Filed under Boxes and Towers

Finally, Back to Marbling

I’ve been out of commission for a while and have lots to catch up on here.  If you remember the crown I groused about, well, it turned out that the tooth needed a root canal.  Yuck!  Fortunately,  while the temporary crown was still on I knew that all was not well and went back to the dentist.  He checked things out and told me the bad news.  The only good news is that they could use the permanent crown that had already been made.  My mouth is still not back to normal, but at least it has calmed down enough so I can function.  On to better things!

Saturday I decided I had to get back to marbling.  Not that I don’t have enough paper to cover hundreds of books or make dozens of towers, but just because I love doing it.  Marbling does, however, require a lot of setup and preparation time.  I did the prep work on Saturday and started off marbling on Sunday.  Because the carrageenan breaks down over time, it’s most efficient to cram as much marbling as possible into four or five days.  After five days, results of the breakdown begin show on the paper and it’s time to pack it up.

Look for a new page on marbling soon.  (I hope!)

Not the greatest marbling session ever, but there were some successes.  That’s always the fun with marbling.  What looks great in the tray may be a mess when printed or, what frequently happens to me, the process of laying down the paper messes up. I catch a bubble or there’s a hesitation line or big speck of paint I didn’t see.  If it were easy, it wouldn’t be fun!  Above are two of the good pieces from this session.

For a slide show of this marbling, go here.


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Filed under Marbled Paper