Today designer Melissa Esplin is showing us how to create a letterpress baby book and giving us tips on book binding. Take it away Melissa.
I am so excited to be joining you today! I've had this idea stewing in my head for some time now. See, I appreciate a good scrapbook. My mom was the best scrapbooker when we were growing up, she even made a sweet scrapbook of my daughter's first year with tidbits about her birth and milestones. However, I'm terrible at taking the time to keep things updated. I assume that there might be other moms out there like me, so I thought I would make it easier and create a fill-in-the-blank first year book to give as gifts. The nice thing about letterpress printing these things, is that they're special and it's easy to create multiples. It's not much more work to make 10 if you're already making one.
I thought it would be an invaluable gift to a new mom to give a milestones book. Something that could be dressed up if she wanted, or none if she didn't have time for it. This book measures at 5x7 inches, perfect for small prints (say Instagram prints?).
I feel like great handmade gifts are all in the little details. Between the blank deboss and the leather enclosure, you've got something that's going to create a wow moment.
I've included a couple of pages of blank lines for baby firsts and envelopes for those little goodies like a lock of hair or hospital bracelet. This is certainly where you can make your project gender specific, if you'd like. I used Echo Park's Sweet Girl and the coin envelope die for these pages for a girly flair.
I designed a custom printing plate with lots of little flourished graphics that I can arrange piece-meal on each page. I made a few pages with little flourished details so all mom would have to do is paste a pic and include a description, story, etc. Simple enough!
I loved designing these custom plates - the graphics can be used any number of ways, so I'll be putting these babies to work in a lot of future projects.
My custom plate and their individual elements are available to download for personal use over on my blog. Click here.
I used ultra thick paper for the cover and regular letterpress paper for the inners and extra thick paper for the covers. The extra thick paper was perfect for these covers!
This book is a machine-bound stub book. The stub meaning every other page is just a stub to accommodate extra images and whatnot without stressing the binding (not that a wire bound book would be stressed, but still). Below is a little graph of how you can make your book into a stub book.
To make a stub book, you'll measure your book and add 1 inch to the width of the book and fold the excess over. You can bind these stub pages as you would normally bind something at a copy shop. I used my cinch machine. Now for the enclosure, here's a little step-by-step to help you with making your own leather enclosure. Use this on pre-bound books or your very own books for a polished look.
- 1 bound book
- strip of leather, 1 in x 5 in
- 1 button-stud
- small hole punch
- larger hole punch
- needle and thick thread
Leather in this quantity is very easy to find. Stop by a local upholstery shop or design center and ask for scraps. They should be inexpensive or possibly free. Alternatively you could use an old jacket, felt or pleather for this project. I used both leather and paper punches for this project because I have both on hand. A regular paper punch (if it's not too dull) will do the trick here.
Measure 1 1/4 inches down from the top and 1/2 inch from the edge of the book. Make a mark. This is where your button-stud will go.
Punch a hole large enough for you to screw on the button stud. You don't want it too big, then the stud will be loose. Since I used ultra thick letterpress paper for the covers of these books, punching a hole through this thick, soft paper was not too hard.
Screw on the button stud. Doesn't it look polished already?
On the backside you'll prep the cover for sewing on the strap. Measure out a mark at 1 inch, 1 1/4 inch and 1 1/2 inch. All of these can be 1/2 inch from the edge of the book.
Punch holes in your back cover and your strip of leather.
Sew the leather to the book, start from the inside leaving a 2-3 inch tail and work your way through each hole and back.
Before going through the last hole, tie a square knot and trim the ends neatly.
Now bring your leather strip to the front and measure where the stud will land. Punch a hole. Since this is going to get thicker with photos, punch a second hole about 1/2 inch away.
Cut a small slit on the side of each hole to make it easier to slip the button stud through.
Et Voila! Look at how fancy this looks! I feel like so many of my friends are having babies in the next couple of months, I'm definitely going to stockpile a bunch of these and no-sew diaper and wipes cases (super easy to make and SO useful!).
Thanks Melissa! Be sure to visit Melissa for more ideas at MelissaEsplin.com!