Encasing Structure's Content

This is a weekly blog that I have created with the sole purpose of creating a hand bound book once a month. I will be showing the entire process from start to finish. Although I would appreciate some mention of credit, please feel free to use and share any information found on this blog. The creative process rarely happens in a vacuum.

Monday, January 26, 2015

January 2015, Week 4

This week's post is about the binding of the codex.

I finished with the painting, etc of all the signatures, cards and cover.  I did not yet adhere my text to the pages, just to make it easier to deal with.

STEP 1 - Creating a template

The first step is to create a template to make the slots in the signatures and the cards.  Creating a template will help you avoid having to remeasure every signature and card and helps maintain consistency.

It is the same length as the book, the width is 1/2".   I measured 1 inch from the top and bottom.  Then measured and marked  19/32 inch from each 1" mark.  This will accomadate the size of the tyvek strip.  If you would like, you slots can be 5/8" instead.

Step 2 - Cutting the slots for the tyvek strips

For the cards - I aligned the template along the left edge, marked and cut slots for each.

For the signatures - I used the template once again.  I marked and cut slots in the middle fold of each of the signatures.

Now.  I was ready to start weaving.

STEP 3 - Weaving the signatures together or binding the pages

Helpful note:  Before you begin the weaving, cut one end of the tyvek strip into a point.

You can also add a small piece of scotch tape to the end.  It will help glide it through the slots.

I started my weaving by taking two signatures and inserting a tyvek strip from outside to inside into the top slot, leaving a tail of about an inch or so on the outside.

If your pages are heavily painted or thick it will take some patience and care to get the tyvek to go through the slot.  You do not want to tear or rip the signatures, cards or tyvek as you are doing the weaving.  I found it helpful to slightly bend the paper where the slot was to open it a bit, insert the tyvek and then carefully slide the signatures and cards into place.

I then insert the tyvek strip into the top slot of a card and back through the same top slot of the two signatures.

You can see how it makes a loop.  In weaving terms, the tyvek is the warp and the card is the weft.

You will want to take up some of the slack but don't make it too tight yet because it helps to have that slack to attach the lower strip.

I then did the same with the lower slot using the other tyvek strip.

STEP 4 - Continue Weaving

I continued to do the same process with the remaining signatures and cards.  Starting from the outside to inside, insert the tyvek strip into two signatures and then into the card and back through the signatures.

You need to check often to make sure each page is oriented the correct way, so that nothing is upside down or backwards.

Above shows how two sets of the signature cards are attached.

As I was weaving I kept a bit of slack in the tyvek warp.  I found it helpful to have a little wiggle room to move the pages.  I will tighten things up at the end.

After I finished all the weaving, it looked like this:

STEP 5 - Adding the text

I then adhered my text to the pages.  (I don't think its necessary to wait to add your text till now, but I felt more comfortable not having to worry about messing up the text blocks while I was weaving the signatures together.)

Step 6 - Tighting the weave

I did one last check to make sure every page and card was oriented right and then I very carefully tightened the weave up.  It's kinda like tighten up your shoe laces.

I did use a piece of an old plastic rewards card to make the job of pulling the tyvek a bit easier.  But mostly it just requires patience.

I then cut and glued the the end pieces directly to the first and last pages.

STEP 7 - Folding the cover

Since I am interested in people seeing the binding, I did not attach the cover directly to the signature block.

I measured my signature block and added a bit of room, it came out to 11/16".  I then found the center of my cover page and centered the 11/16", scored and folded the paper.  I inserted the signature block to make it sure it fit properly and then measured, scored and folded for the page width.  (Once again adding about 1/8" of extra room to each side.

STEP 8 - Finish

It does need a day or two under some weights to help flatten it a bit.  But overall, I was happy with the results.

I hope this inspires you to create your own woven codex.

Next Week, begins February's book - a Tunnel Book.

Happy book making!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

January 2015 Week 3 part II

I wanted to insert this extra piece of information about the significant features of the Woven Codex for those who would like to take on this structure itself.   (For subsequent projects, I will be providing this information on Week 1)

I created a dummy book, just using regular printer paper.

The elements in a finished Woven Codex are:

a cover and a signature block.  The cover can be attached to the signature block, but you will cover up the binding.  I have seen this structure done others without any cover at all, so there can be some variation in the final piece.

Close up of binding -

The signature block is made up of two signatures that are woven with a card in the center.  You can see the tyvek strip (that is used for the weaving) on the front and back of the middle cards.  It is not visible on the signatures.

And the signatures packets are divided by a small gap.

The tyvek strips are attached to the first and last signatures.

As I said above, going forward, I will put information about the structure on Week 1.  I find its very helpful to know this as you are planning your content for the book out.

Happy Book Making!


Monday, January 19, 2015

January 2015 - Week 3

As you can tell I'm new to this blogging thing and haven't quite got the schedule figured out.  I am rearranging some everyday life things to make this process a bit more smoother and timelier.

As I looked at the calendar I realised I have two weeks to go before this book needed to be finished.  Therefore, I am dedicating this week to another round of content creation.

As noted last week.  I had put down my initial layers.  Then I began to add the layers of white glaze.  The glaze is very shiny and I think I would like to see what I can do to counter act it.  (Starting with mat medium, instead of gloss, would have helped.  But I'm not always that clairevoyant.  Sometimes I mistaken think, oh this will work really well.  And then later I'm trying to find a way to fix it.)


After living with them for a few days I decided it need something more to feel complete.  So I decided to add a little hand line drawing work.


Once again, I used just simple white acrylic paint (titanium white) and water with a number 6 bright paint brush.  I tried to create as much variation as possible.  I decided to stick with just using the one brush for all the pages, but you could certainly use several to create even more variation.

Here's another example:

Slight differences in the colour and value, as I tried to make every page unique but in a general sense the same.

For the text, I settled on Apple Chancery as the font and created my own textured paper before printing the font.

I will finish my pages this week and have the binding tutorial next week.  Additionally, this week I will add a post about the format and special qualities of the woven codex and how I intend to set up my the book for the final binding.

Happy Book Making!


Monday, January 12, 2015

January 2015 - Week 2

A bit behind this week.  I'm still trying to get the bugs out of my schedule.

The theme for this book is "winter".   I'm want to capture the cold, frozen blueish-gray sameness of winter instead of the more picturesque landscapes you find on Holiday cards.  For me the beauty of the time in late winter, when everything is frozen, dirty and gray, is harder to find but its much more eloquent and profound than the first snows.

I am hoping to achieve the look I want by creating a series of layers.

I started each page using just acrylic paint and water.

Then I added another colour, still using just the acrylic paint and water.

It looks pretty bright and un-snow like, I know, but now comes the fun part of adding the layers of acrylic white paint and glazing medium.  It takes a bit of patience because each layer you add needs to dry completely.  I also added a some thicker areas of paint.  This is what turned out -

I like the effect.  I will probably add another layer or two.  I think it's going to be important to make sure the paint does not get too thick.

This technique needs to be done for all the pages, cards and cover sheet.

I did also colour the tyvek strips

Just one coat of Prussian Blue acrylic paint and water.  Since I will be weaving the tyvek strips in and out of the pages, I didn't use any glazing medium on them or anything that could make them sticky or difficult to thread.

For the written text, I have decided to go with a light, san-serif font, such as Corbel*.
Once again with my font choice, I want a font that is softer in appearance but strong in form, mimicking the soft, roundness that snow gives to the frozen landscape but the strengthen of the cold and ice.

The colour will be closer to a light Prussian Blue, rather than the teal shown above.

*might not be the final font I use

I plan to have my pages all painted and ready to bind by next week.  I will add the text after I bind the pages.

Till next time,


Sunday, January 4, 2015

January 2015 - Week 1

I was a bit ambitious in thinking I could start this new blog right before the holidays.  Since it didn't work, I am starting again (this time for real :) ), and with a better understanding of how the entries should be framed.  So....

This month's book - Theme - Winter; Binding - Woven Codex

I decided to make my book approximately 6" x 8"

If you would like to follow along, you will need:

8 pages - 12" x 8" medium to heavy weight paper
4 cards - 6" x 8"  medium to heavy weight paper
2 tyvek strips - 12" x 1/2"
for the Cover 1 sheet - 24 1/2" x 8"

My theme is "winter" and I found this picture on Pinterest that spoke to me and I will use as inspiration for this book.  I'm going for the cold, frozen blueish-gray sameness of winter that has a stark, severe beauty to it.