How to project: use your jewellery skills to recover a book

Many of  your skills as a jewellery maker can transfer to other craft and embellishment projects but we hadn’t though bookbinding was one until London Jewellery School tutor (and former diploma student) Sarah Burnett-Moore produced a soutache embellished book cover. Here she shares what she did.

soutache book binding project

Sarah’s soutache embellished book cover

I am always looking for new ways to use my soutache skills, and as I have recently got into bookbinding I thought this might be an interesting challenge. Him indoors and I went to Wiltshire last month to learn how to recover paperback which is a great way to create personalised presents. Here is a modified version of that technique – no complicated sewing required.

Step 1

soutache book binding project

My daughter is a keen actress and doing English lit at A level, so I decided to recover a copy of Romeo and Juliet I found in a charity shop. The first job was to remove the old hard cover with a craft knife.

Step 2

soutache book binding project

Cut a piece of wrapping paper to the precise size of the book plus an extra 5cm which is folded as shown. Use a brush to run a line of PVA close to the back of the book and attach the new end paper. Repeat for the the back of the book.

Step 3

soutache book binding p with PVA. If yosoutache book binding project

Fold back the extra flaps and trim carefully to the width of the book. Trim a piece of non-fray fabric (bookbinders use something unimaginatively called Fraynot, but something like non-iron Wundaweb will work) to width of the book plus both flaps. Glue the fabric down securely with PVA. If you want a book ribbon, glue a suitable length of soutache braid under the fabric as shown. Leave to dry

Step 4

soutache book binding project

Apply PVA to one flap only and glue the top flap to the bottom. Do not glue the flaps down to the book as this will stop it opening smoothly.

Step 5

soutache book binding project

Cut a piece of strong but pliable card to the precise size of the book and spine. Score and fold it to fit. Apply PVA to the spine only and glue to the new card cover. This is called “caseing in”.

Step 6

soutache book binding project

While the PVA is drying, you can make your closure. Use a craft knife to cut two rectangular strips of thin leather – I used the cover of an old diary. Sew a small button or add a diamante rivet to the end of one, and cut a corresponding slit in the other.

Step 7

soutache book binding project

Cut a length of contrasting heavy duty paper long enough to go round the book and fold inside the front and back covers like a dust jacket on a hard back. I deckled the edge for a decorative effect

Step 8

soutache book binding project

On the card, mark where you want your closure to lie. Cut a corresponding slit in the “dust jacket”.

Step 9

soutache book binding project

Fasten the closure and slide it through the slits to the correct position. Apply PVA to then wrong side of the leather. Assemble the book – the glue will attach itself to the card cover.
Leave to dry while you create your embellishment using soutache or other jewellery techniques. When the book is dry, glue your embellishment to the outer cover.

If you want to learn soutache techniques, Sarah teaches a taster and a full day class at London Jewellery School (click for details).

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