a Modest Spine
August 25, 2014
I had been searching, unsuccessfully, for a recently acquired purchase, a zine about making soup. As I did not have the help of the big black arrow in the photo, that little slip of a white spine eluded me for days. Not a good thing. I like being able to find my books. If a book is going to show up in my bookshelf it needs something of a spine. I’m not inclined to making elaborate casings for pamphlets, but there is a way to create a lovely little spine, so I made one. I love this little detail of paper work.
I started with a piece of paper that was the same height as the book and about 3 inches (8 cm) wide.
- Fold the paper lengthwise, but not in half! Instead, make the fold so the edges are away from each other about 1/4 inch (1/2 cm).
- Fold the paper lengthwise again, to the other side, again so the edges are about 1/4 away from each other
- There, you have a spine, about 1/4 inch wide.
It didn’t make sense to me at first that if I made left 1/4 inch overlap on each side that the spine would end up to be 1/4 inch wide. It seemed to me that two 1/4 inch offsets would create a 1/2 inch spine. But, no, it creates a 1/4 spine.
I could actually stop writing this post right here, as it’s this bit about folding the spine piece that is at the heart of what I want to show. This folding method could be used on a much longer piece, large enough to be the cover for the whole book. The way that I am going to continue here is to extend my narrow strip by adding to. You’ll see what I’ve done next. but, really, the steps illustrated above are the details that I am mostly focused on offering here.
I didn’t take photo of attaching the cover of my folder to the spine piece that I just made….there is no real protocol for this. I just cut my cover to what will fit for my project and glue them to the blue paper. This is something I just figure out as I go along, and my hope is that anyone else who tries this will do the same. I used a piece of plastic acetate that I had around, because I wanted to see the book design through this semi- transparent material, but medium weight paper, or cover stock works just fine. Next step is to create a second spine the same way as the first then sew this to the pamphlet, which is eight pieces of folded paper stapled together. I didn’t remove the staples, as that’s what the book came with, and there was no compelling reason to take them out.
Before going any further I added the title to the spine. Always a good idea if the book within has a title. The pamphlet, with the second spine piece now attached is laid into the my open cover. I glued the edge of the inner spine, closed the cover, flipped it to the back…
I’ve been cleaning out my workspace, and rather than throw away every odd piece of paper I have been putting them together and making these offbeat little books. This here one is about to get a spine, but I am going to proceed a bit differently with this book.
I made the spine piece in the same way, but glued an extra piece of regular weight copy paper on the inside, to give the spine just a bit more substance. Next, I glued the front and the back of this spine piece right on to the first and last pages of the book. Note that there is no glue on the spine itself.
I took two pieces of decorative paper that were cut the same height of my book and a bit wider. I glued them directly on to the first and last pages, just overlapping the edge of the first piece I glued down, and folded then glued the overhanging part on the inside of the first and last pages. I used UHU glue sticks for this project.
And that’s it! This is not a technique for fine books, but I love having non-precious books around to toss into my bag and use whenever I want to write something down. This is book making at its most casual. Spines are a way of making these humble gathering of pages stand tall.