Mount a small object in front cover of hardback book? Please/
December 9, 2010 5:09 PM   Subscribe

How can I insert a small mirror or peephole into the front cover of a handmade hardcover book? What kind of material is appropriate for the cover? Will cardboard/cloth do? What about leather? Is there a tutorial anywhere to show how this is done?

Hi all -

I'd like to make a short blank book as a Christmas gift. I know how to cut/sew/glue the signatures and assemble a basic hardcover. I don't know how to...

1) ...use leather, rather than cloth/paper, to wrap the front and back covers;

2) ...insert into the front cover a small mirror, gear, or (ideally) fisheye peephole. I wanna make this book not only by hand but awesome.


OK, craft MeFites: help me, help me, help me please!!! Thanks lovers.
posted by waxbanks to Grab Bag (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You might be interested in the community handmadebooks on Livejournal as a place to either find a link to the answer, or ask and get a better answer than you might get here.

IIRC, using leather is much the same as using paper or cloth to cover boards of a hardcover, just treat it like a thick cloth. YMMV depending on what the leather's like, of course.

Sticking something into the cover ... I would recommend that the item be of the same thickness/depth as whatever you make the rest of the cover out of, or it will stick out and be quite annoying, and generally guarantee that book can never be treated as a normal book for storage purposes (ok, you want it to be a special thing for now, but do you want it to still be around in ten years?). This means a mirror's probably going to be easiest. That way you can get a mirror larger than the one you want, cut a mirror-sized hole in the greyboard, and use the overlap of the covering cloth/paper/leather to hold it in, with a solid backing of paper on the inside of the book. Something that was only held in at the edges would be harder to secure, I think.
posted by Lebannen at 5:33 PM on December 9, 2010

... I do not know whay that link didn't work. I try again: handmadebooks. Possibly this means it's too late for me to be trying to be helpful on the internets.
posted by Lebannen at 5:36 PM on December 9, 2010

I've seen instructions for shisa - a mirror on Indian and other textiles - on dance costuming websites - here's an overview. However, I've never done it, so I can't speak to how easily it goes. It would be easier to do on fabric since you can pick out mistakes without leaving holes. I think this will work for anything round that you have a wide enough border to afford to lose, be it mirror or flat-backed hardware fixture.
posted by cobaltnine at 6:35 PM on December 9, 2010

Your leather is going to need to be really thin. The one leather book I've done I had access to equipment in my instructor's workshop, so I'm not sure how easy this will be to do if you don't have the proper tools. You need to essentially plane off most most of the leather without cutting through and ripping it. The thinner it is, the easier it will be to wrap around your bookboards.

As far as the inset piece goes, what you need to do is use an exacto knife to cut out the size and shape you want on your bookboard BEFORE you cover it with any binding. So mark out the shape you want in pencil, trace it with the knife, but don't cut all the way through, and then peel off layers of the bookboard until you get a deep enough recess for your object. (This is easier with something thin like a paper inset, harder with something thick like a mirror.) If you want your inset piece to be flush with the surrounding cover, or a little bit recessed, don't forget to make the space slightly deeper than the object, so that you'll have room for the binding material. When you bind your book, make sure you press the bookcloth or leather down into the recess that you've created , and use your bone folder or a finger nail to push it down into the nooks and crannies.
posted by MsMolly at 10:35 AM on December 10, 2010

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