Making book blocks

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Part two of the making of the practical magic style spellbook. Creating book blocks.

Some tools you will need.

Awl

I am not going to walk you through step-by-step how to make your book blocks for your books because there is a great video on YouTube by sea lemon that walks you through that step by step.

Kettle stitching

Book Binding

I will tell you this; she puts several sheets in each signature but once you tea stain all your pages I have found it works best at three sheets per signature.

The big book block for main section of the Practical Magic style spellbook

Making book blocks may look a little difficult even with Sea Lemons easy-to-follow tutorial but trust me once you get going and get that technique down it will be so easy, the sewing will go so fast you’ll be amazed. My first book block I did curse a bit, especially when the needle stabbed a finger badly. Yes I am blaming the poor defenseless needle and not my hand sewing skills.

Sea lemon also has a video on how to make a book press.

Book Press

She makes a small press and you will be amazed at how simple it is to make. My husband and I went to Home Depot, I found the piece of wood I liked and they actually cut it in half at the store for me. We came home, drilled holes, and put in the screws. That was it. The trip to Home Depot, getting the wood cut, me drilling the holes all took less than thirty minutes total.

I did make a much bigger size press than Sea Lemon because some of the spell books I am making are going to be huge. 18×24 is the finished size of the press.

My book press. Not pretty but functional.

Once the book blocks are complete the next step is to make the cover and spine for the book. I will post that in a few days.

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Tea Staining Paper

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The end result

Part one of the making of my Practical Magic style book.

I wanted the pages of the book to look aged at the beginning with the pages appearing newer as you get towards the end. Like a grimoire that has been passed down generations and each generation having added to the book.

Tea staining is a great way to age paper. With some trial and error on my part I finally found a technique I like.

My first try I just took wet tea bags and rubbed them on both sides of paper. It worked but not like I wanted. I even tried hibiscus tea to give the paper a pink tent. The dark red tea dried to a blue on the paper.

Bag rubbing technique

My second technique was to just soak each sheet of paper in a bath of tea. Some sheets I soaked a few minutes some up to thirty. I laid them around the house to dry. It was a slow process but well worth the wait.

Soaking technique

I did try to dry some sheets in the oven but this summer heat was just too much for that craziness.

You can also stain paper with print on it. The tes won’t affect the print. I did get some pink tinted sheets by adding red food color to the tea.

Printed pages that have been stained

Some pages I gave the coffee cup ring

The paper I used was 70 pound cover in natural white. I work at a print company so I do have access to huge sheets of paper which I can get cut to any size. 15×10.5 is the size of the paper which when folded gave me 7.5×10.5 sheets.

After the paper dried I put them in signatures of three. Next post will cover the sewing of the signatures.

Not red or pink spots.