Bound by love.
March 3, 2011 11:58 AM   Subscribe

For a three month dating "anniversary" I'd like to create a bound book of all the text messages my girlfriend and I have sent back and forth.

There are a few issues I have to deal with. Our anniversary is on the 7th so that doesn't leave me enough time to get this done online and I'd kind of like to do it myself anyways. I'd like to create a bound book with a page break after each day's worth of text messages.


Are there any layout tools to help me with the conversion from Word/InDesign into gatherings and then the final binding? I have approximately 600 text messages to date.

What would be the best way to glue the gatherings together?

What sort of material could I use for the cover? Leather, paperboard, ??? and how would I best attach the pages to said cover?

The book doesn't have to be perfect. Mistakes show a human hand is involved. Any tips you may have to help me get this done would be most appreciated.
posted by talkingmuffin to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I've got a friend who runs a business making journals in a very old style of binding. She's got a little slideshow on her website showing how she makes them. The pages are gathered into signatures and stitched directly into a leather binding, which you could do with some simple tools. Imperfections would be part of the charm of something like this, and there's a nice contrast between old and new.
posted by adamrice at 12:04 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

I love this. And if you can figure out a way to make the cover look like a phone so much the better.
posted by elsietheeel at 12:22 PM on March 3, 2011

The simplest way would be to print out each day's messages on paper, double sided, so you'll have a stack of say 45 pages. Small looks nice. I'd make it like 3.5"x5" or so depending on how much text you've got. You could trim them down at Kinko's or maybe you've got a friend with access to a guillotine-style paper cutter.

Cut two pieces of card stock or paperboard same size as your pages, maybe a little wider, hold them in a stack with the guts and tap them all against the table so they're pretty flush along the edge you're trying to bind. Clamp them/elastic band them/lay heavy things atop them to hold them in place and paint that edge with some padding compound (available at craft stores) or a tacky glue that dries flexible. Do several thin layers, and use your fingers to dab it in the crevices.

Once it's all dry, lay a strip of linen tape over the binding and trim it so it looks nice.

If you have some experience making zines you could futz around with laying out a folded-in-half style book and stitch the binding, but I think for the beginner padding compound is definitely the way to go.
posted by milk white peacock at 12:30 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Such a cool idea! If you have a specialty paper store where you live (such as Paper Source), you can get your supplies there and they'll probably be able to advise you how to bind this yourself.
posted by Dragonness at 12:46 PM on March 3, 2011

Seconding Paper Source. I took a basic bookbinding class at one of their stores. They're very knowledgeable and can give you tips as well as supplies.
posted by orrnyereg at 12:59 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you really get desperate or short on time, find a book with an intriguing or romantic title* and paste** print out your text messages*** on the pages. Chapter one would have your first texts and go forth. Make sure you stop halfway through the book (so count your texts before you paste) so your girlfriend will know you're "leaving room for more"

*try to tie the book in with your relationship or your jobs/hobbies.
** or use those scrapbook corner things if you like that look and have the time/money to mess with them. You could include pictures taken with your phones in this book too.
*** you could start with plain white paper and then print out significant texts on nicer/fancy paper. Sext messages could go on red paper if you're into that kind of thing.

(even better, just give her the book as the gift and don't mention what else is inside )
posted by jaimystery at 1:41 PM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

jeeze - print outs of your text messages
posted by jaimystery at 1:42 PM on March 3, 2011

Staples - they have printing and binding options, even trimming (they can tell you about costs). If you get pressed for time, you can bring them a cd after you design it, they'll print, trim, and bind it.

include an inscription!
posted by Geameade at 8:39 PM on March 3, 2011

I did this once (with just selected text messages, hand-written, in a little accordion-style book) and it went over great. I highly suggest going for something hand-made or what jaimystery said instead of getting it bound professionally.
posted by NoraReed at 8:52 PM on March 3, 2011

Response by poster: For those interested, the final result.

The toughest part was figuring out the page order for the sixteen page gatherings. I printed the pages 4 up and double-sided and used a little php script to get the page ordering correct. The other headache was getting the string through the leather. I didn't have any proper leather working tools so I had to push the string through the leather with a screwdriver made for tightening glasses. Pain in the ass.

Overall it was a really fun project and it impressed the hell out of my girlfriend ("This is the best gift I've ever received in my life") so thanks for the suggestions and help.
posted by talkingmuffin at 4:04 PM on April 5, 2011

« Older Pain Clinic First Timer   |   DVD Rip & Editing Software? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.