How – to project: A book of circles

The Travelling Bookbinder: How - to project: Book of Circles

Use ephemera to create this how-to project – a book of circles. Simple bookbinding and mark making for a satisfying creative fix. Punctuate your day with the pleasure of mindful/mindless repetition.

The Travelling Bookbinder: How - to project: A Circle Book: You'll need

You’ll need:

  • A few sheets of ephemera: Old book pages, maps, music, paper bags
  • White paint or gesso
  • Wide flat brush
  • Hole punch or awl
  • Ribbon/twine/string
  • Brushes/pen for mark making
  • Ink or paint

Step – by – step:

The Travelling Bookbinder: How - to project: A Circle Book: Gesso

White-out the pages with paint or gesso, allowing some of the texture of text or image to show through. I’ve prepared around eight pieces, but may not use them all.

The Travelling Bookbinder: How - to project: A Circle Book: More gesso

When dry, repeat on the other side.

The Travelling Bookbinder: How - to project: A Circle Book: Collate pages

Arrange in a pile, with the largest on the bottom, and the smallest on top. (They don’t necessarily need to be centred.)

The Travelling Bookbinder: How - to project: A Circle Book: Fold pages

Fold all the pages in half-ish. (Some of my pages are off to the left.)

The Travelling Bookbinder: How - to project: A Circle Book: Make a hole

Make a hole half way down the crease, through all the pages. I used the awl first, and then enlarged each hole with the non-bristly end of a paint brush.)

The Travelling Bookbinder: How - to project: A Circle Book: Cut ribbon

The minimum length of ribbon or string is three times the height of your book, but you may want extra for a wraparound tie, or a bow.

Top tip: Make it easier to thread the ribbon through each hole by reinforcing the end with sticky tape fashioned into a point.

The Travelling Bookbinder: How - to project: A Circle Book: Start at the middle hole

Starting at the middle hole on the outside, thread the ribbon through every hole until you get to the smallest page. I had to do it one sheet at a time because the holes were a little ragged. Patience! Leave a tail that’s at least half the height of the book (longer if you’re having a bow.)

The Travelling Bookbinder: How - to project: A Circle Book: Binding

Now take the ribbon up and over the top edge of your book, down the spine and underneath the bottom edge, back to the middle again. Gently ease your ribbon back through every page to the outside. For a more detailed description of each step, see page 86 of Bound.

The Travelling Bookbinder: How - to project: A Circle Book: Ready to knot

When you’re back where you started, make sure that each end of ribbon is on opposite sides of the long spine length.

The Travelling Bookbinder: How - to project: A Circle Book: Tie over long stitch

Tie a knot, or two if you don’t think it’ll hold. Watch this film for bookbinding knot tips.

The Travelling Bookbinder: How - to project: A Circle Book: Trim ends as you wish

Leave the ends long, or trim as you wish.

The Travelling Bookbinder: How - to project: A Circle Book: Ready to paint/write/draw

Now you’re ready to make marks!

The Travelling Bookbinder: How - to project: A Circle Book: Make circles!

On each page, make circular shapes with the ink or paint. Small dots, huge rings, blobs, balls…roundish shapes.

The Travelling Bookbinder: How - to project: A Circle Book: All sizes of circles

Take your time. Maybe fill one or two sides a day. Or cover every page in a rush of marks. Whatever makes you happy.

The Travelling Bookbinder: How - to project: A Circle Book: Add a title

Give your book a title, simply written in pencil.

The Travelling Bookbinder: How - to project: A Circle Book: Back cover

Please share your creations, using the tag @paperhazell and @thetravellingbookbinder on Instagram, The Travelling Bookbinder on Facebook and @paperhazell on Twitter. Can’t wait to see what you make!

If you enjoyed this project, then you might delight in two weeks of bookish pleasures: The BookLove e-course begins 29 May – Sign up here!

And you could move on to filling pages with inky alphabets too.

2 thoughts on “How – to project: A book of circles

    1. Thank you Roseanne – I hope you enjoy making it your own! Best and bookiest, Rachel

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