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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Book Tutorial (At last)

Greetings to Sarah (no blog), Patrizia, Malu2 and Carmen the 108-111th followers of the blog.  Would you believe it, my followers have increased by a whopping ten percent in just a week.

Now on to the promised book making tutorial:

What you'll need:

Old phone directory or magazine
Retractable Craft Knife
Tacky Glue
Thin Leather or Paper Printed with Leather Texture (see below)

I bought some thin leather to use in book making, but then decided it would be a waste to actually use it.  So I scanned the leather pieces,  shrank each image and pasted several copies together to create one large sheet of leather texture which I printed on high quality paper (not photo paper).  Below are some of the scanned images I used which you may copy and use for your own books.

I used Microsoft Word to postion them on a page being sure to cover as much as the page as possible to avoid waste.  Try and butt the images up together so there is no white gap between them.  You can put several different colours on one page, but remember you will have to cut your books where the colours meet.

Start by marking a line down the front of your phone book.  This line should be as far away from the spine of the book as you want your mini books to be deep.  If you want to put finished books on a shelf, always measure the depth and hight of the shelves first so you don't end up with books that are too big.  In this example I've made quite large books about 2cm deep.

Use your craft knife to carefully cut through the cardboard cover along the line marked.  Cut repeatedly along this line, severing a few pages at a time and discarding the pages as they come loose.  This takes patience and a steady hand.  If you try and rush, you'll end up with books with raggedy pages, so go slowly and be careful to always hold your knife straight to avoid crooked books.

Decide how wide you want your books to be and open the spine of your phone book so that your chosen width is on one side and all the excess book is on the other side of the opening.  In this example I'm making the books almost 1cm thick, but most 1/12 scale books would be much thinner than this.  Just choose whatever looks right for what you want.  Hold the book open and run your knife through the spine between the pages.  Repeat this step until the entire book is divided into book-width sections.

Take a piece of your chosen book covering (i.e. leather or printer paper) and wrap this around the cut up section of phone book so that it starts at the front of the book, wraps around the spine and comes covers the back of the book just like the dust jacket on a real book.  Leave about 0.5cm overhang on the front side and mark a line on the inside of the cover 0.5cm past the edge of the pages at the back of the book.  Remove the covering, straighten up your line if needed and cut along it.  Repeat this step until you have enough cover cut to size to cover the length of the phone book strip.

Spread a small amount of tacky glue on the top of you book strip and carefully press the cover onto it, remembering to leave the 0.5cm overhang at the side.  Then apply glue to the opposite side of the book and wrap the cover around the spine and press this into the glue.  You may like to add a clamp to ensure the cover is held in postion while the glue dries but it isn't necessary.

Set the book strip aside until the glue is completely dry.

Now it's time to cut the long strip into individual books.  Decide what height you want your first book (each book can be a different height if you wish).  1/12 scale books would be anywhere between about 1.5cm-3cm high depending on the size you want.  Use a fine tipped pencil to mark a line at that height from the top of long section.  Use a craft knife to score along this line.   If you're covering your books in real leather, but sure to cut all the way through it.

This next step gets a little dangerous, so please be careful!  If you can clamp your book to the table, do so now.  If clamping is impractical, be sure and keep your fingers well away from your knife.  Extend the blade of your craft knife so you have a length of 5cm or so.  With the book lying flat on it's side, use your knife like a saw to slowly saw through the pages as shown in the photo.  Again this step takes patience and be careful to hold the knife straight while you work or you'll end up with crooked books.  Once you make it about three quaters of the way through the book, turn it over and finish cutting from the other side.  If you own a thin bladed razor saw, I imagine this would be a safer tool to use for this step than the knife.  If you are making very thin books, you can try a sharp pair of scissors or a guillotine instead of the knife.

Repeat this step until the entire spine of the phone book is cut into mini-book sided pieces.  If you changed cover colours part way along the strip, remember you will have to cut at this point, so try and adjust your heights to allow for this.

Fold the 0.5cm excess on the front and back of the cover over the first few pages of the book (again, just like the dust jacket of a "real" book).

Your books are now finished.  You can use a fine tipped gold pen to add details to the cover of the book.

If you want to use pre-printed book covers like those you can find at places like Jim's Miniature Printables, you need to print them out first and measure carefully.  Cut the phone book into mini books the width, depth and height of your covers and glue the covers on last.  This is a slower process than covering a phone book height strip of books all at once, but the resulting books are more detailed.


  1. Gracias por el tutorial !!!

  2. That was an excellent tutorial - thank you.

    I've often wondered exactly how that procedure was carried out.

  3. Alennka sent me some books with the giveaway and i can tell you all they are fabulous! so real looking :D Linda x