i have talked about my love for making books and the leporello books before. i'm a member of the facebook group "Junk Journal Junkies" (not linking because unless you are a member you can't see any of the content) and i shared some of my leporellos there. i was asked to do a tutorial on them (that was at the end of february) and i'm sorry i couldn't manage any sooner...
i actually like the term "guide" better than "tutorial" because of the way i interpret them. to me a tutorial is something i follow step by step without changing anything. a guide is something i watch/read and then take the concept and follow it as much as i need to while changing things as i go.
before i start with the tutorial, here's a little edit from my future self:
make your leporello insert (part 2 - leporello insert), including all the signatures and all the ephemera you want to put in it, before you make the cover for your leporello book. i explain why that's a good idea in part 3 - signatures and finishing.
in this part of the leporello book guide i show how to make the cover on the basis of an album i will be sending to a friend when it's done. it provides measurements and the supplies i use, but there is one important thing to keep in mind:
everything can be changed to suit your needs, taste, supplies at hand, requirements in size and so forth.
for example: the measurments for the cover i make are based on the size of the card stock i use in part 2 for the actual accordion fold. if you find card stock that is lager or smaller just go ahead and resize the cover.
if you have an awesome old fairy tale book where the pages are falling out already - feel free to take them out and adjust everything accordingly in part 2.
if the chipboard you want to use for the cover is not big enough you can just make the leporello smaller to fit your smaller cover.
there is no hard math involved, you just need a ruler...
this is the finished cover.
the tools you will need are:
a sharpened pencil, a pair of scissors, a craft knife, a paper trimmer (optional) or ruler, one or more sheets of scrap paper (i use the glossy cover that is on kid's drawing blocks but anything is fine really),a brush and glue - i'll talk about the glue later. there is a bone folder in the pic too but you won't need that yet. what's not in the pic but needed is a clean dry cloth like a dish towel (it probably won't stay clean though).
the materials you ned are:
fabric and/or pattern paper/card stock and/or bookbinder's cloth which is paper backed fabric.
the book board for the cover can be covered in fabric, book cloth or paper. if you want a fabric cover but don't feel comfortable gluing flimsy fabric there is a quick and easy way to make your own book cloth (youtube link -- not my own tutorial).
for the inside of the cover i would generally suggest using paper. for the spine i like to use book cloth or fabric but i have seen spines made from sticky tape like duct tape.
you need a base material for the front and back cover. i use chipboard that is intended for hardback covers and is 2mm thick.
the board i use also comes in 1mm which i find too thin and 3mm which i find too heavy. feel free to use whatever material you have at hand though. it depends on what you want to do with the journal: if you want it to sit in a shelf the entire book can be as light or heavy as you want. if you want to carry it around whereever you go it probably shouldn't weigh a ton before you even started to put stuff in. but for a two month trip through india it should be sturdy enough so it doesn't fall apart right away... i know lots of journal making peeps like to use cereal boxes for their covers and of course you can try that too but keep in mind that all the weight from the leporello and the signatures and all of the stuff you might want to stick into the book hangs not on the spine but on the back cover! so that should not be too soft and bendable.
so let's get started now:
cut 2 pieces of chipboard the same size.
my measurements are 20,5cm x 13cm or 8" x 5 1/8".
cut a piece of very heavy card stock (300g/m2 or 110lb) - for the spine - the same height as the chipboard pieces (20,5cm - 8") and the width you want your spine to be. i cut mine 4cm - 1 1/2" but again that depends on what to book will be used for. if used only to write in, 3,5cm - 1 1/4" will do. if used as a photo album, make the spine 5cm - 2" or more, so the leporello has room to expand but the book will still be able to close - sort of.
an accordingly cut strip of cereal box material will work for this too. the colour doesn't matter since it will be covered up as long as your spine cover fabric isn't of a very light colour - check if anything shines through.
now cut 2 pieces of pattern paper/card stock to cover the inside of the cover. i cut mine to 7 7/8" x 4 7/8" leaving a border of chipboard to be seen. how big you want the border is up to your personal preference.
(most scrapbookers, card makers and mini album makers know how this kind of "matting" works anyway.)
if you want to ink or colour or in any way personalise the inside cover pieces - now is the time. the 2 sides to the left and right of the cover will be covered by cloth for the spine though. keep that in mind when you want to draw or doodle or write on them and do that after assembling.
inking first - embellishing later.
uninked piece on the left - inked piece on the right.
set these aside for now.
place your chipboard on your outside cover material - be it fabric, paper or book cloth. the pieces will be covered individually so make sure you leave plenty of excess on all 4 sides! trimming off is much easier than patching together (or starting again).
i usually use cotton prints so i can just rear the fabric to size. use paper trimmer or scissors for paper/book cloth. the edges don't have to be pretty and straight - they will get covered anyway.
when using fabric, give it a good press - creases once glued stay where they are...
start applying glue to the first cover piece. i used a little too much on this one. pay a lot of attention to the edges and give it an even coating.
this size chipboard is good for me to hold in my hand. if you work with anything too big to hold with one hand place it on a scrap piece of paper and hold it down with your finger tips while applying the glue.
the glue i use is called "Planatol BB" and it's a glue for professional bookbinding. it has a rather low water content and doesn't warp paper so much. you can use any glue you are comfortable with but if you've had experience with some glues warping the paper very much i would suggest finding something else. adhesive tape works too but seems like a waste if you need full coverage. as long as you don't use too much of it, any glue should be fine.
place the chipboard glue-down on the "left side" (that's the not-so-pretty "inside") of the fabric/paper/book cloth. press it down.
(sorry about the camera holding strap thingy - my hubby was in a hurry taking this pic.)
flip the cover over and burnish it with a dry cloth - protecting the fabric with a scrap of paper. some fabrics tend to get a shine when being rubbed and you probably don't want that. pay attention to the edges.
you can take as much time with this as your experience with your glue taught you. my glue - the Planatol BB - dries rather quickly so i have no time to fuss.
taper the excess material (= cut it at an angle).
do not cut across at a 45° angle! i.e. NOT like this:
don't cut the corner right up to the chipboard. leave about as much material as your chipboard is thick - 2mm.
next start applying glue to one of the edges of the chipboard.
i always start at a long edge out of habit but it really doesn't matter. and i usually do the opposite edges and then the other two opposite ones.
i also have as a general rule for my work - because i feel more comfortable with it - the glue always goes on the heavier material with the exception of the spine cover.
fold the fabric/paper/book cloth over onto the glued chipboard edge.
if you use paper you might want to score the paper along the edge of the chipboard to make folding easier.
make sure your material is flush with the chipboard and there are no wrinkles in the fabric.
burnish again with the dry cloth and the scrap paper for protection.
glue all remaining sides this way. when gluing on the shorter sides, imitate the angle of the tapered material when putting on the glue:
one cover done - repeat the same process for the second one.
you don't have to make both covers the same by the way.
you may find that the covers bent a little into a curve one way or the other. don't worry about that - it doesn't need any pressing. gluing the inside cover on will counteract that and the cover will flatten out again.
i like to do a little cheating at this point.
when gluing on the inside cover pieces i would have to be super careful when applying the glue - not right up to the edge but close enough so the edges of the inside paper actually stick. it can be done but i can't be bothered. so here's what i do:
apply double sided tape right up to the edges of the back of your inside cover paper.
peel the backing off the tape on one of them and set aside. apply glue to the first covered chipboard - on the uncovered side of course - going as close to the edge as you feel comfortable with. since we are cheating with double sided tape it doesn't have to be very close.
place the cover paper carefully in the center. once it's there it stays there.
if you look closely at the corner you can see a little excess fabric sticking over the edge - i just snip that off very carefully.
again, burnish with your cloth and the protective paper.
repeat the same with the other cover.
two cover pieces done! you can use this technique on any size project. you could also just call it a day, put eyelets on the spine-edges and use binder rings. in that case you would be all done... if not then take a close look at your covers. if you covered them in different patterns for the front and back your're all set to go on. if you made them the same like i did look for the side you like less (a crease, a wrinkle, a gluey fingerprint, etc. and put a post-it on it saying "BACK".
remember before where i said i used a little too much glue? when i cover in fabric i really have to pay attention to that because the glue can seep through to the outside leaving slight marks - easier to see on light coloured fabric.
i have only experienced this with fabric so far - you would need a rather large amount of glue to make it seep through card stock or book cloth. and it would be different again if you wanted to cover your chipboard in news paper or tissue paper.
it doesn't show so much in the pic but you can see it a little on the purplish section between the flower shapes next to the edge. i decided this was going to be the back cover and this very spot would then be hidden underneath the spine material.
for the spine i use either fabric as it is and with torn edges (and use the double sided tape cheat so i don't accidentally glue down the frayed edge) or book cloth. i get my book cloth already cut to strips of 10cm x 50cm - 4" x 19 5/8" or in huge sheets of 70cm x 100cm - 27 1/2" x 39 3/8". i get them at local stores in vienna but you can also google it and find plenty.
for this cover i used a precut strip - it measures 10cm x 50cm - 4" x 19 5/8".
make sure the strip of material you have is right-angled. take a ruler and a pencil. go up from the bottom edge of your book cloth/fabric strip about 7cm - 2 1/2". it can be more or less but it has to be parallel to the edge. find the center and lightly mark half of the width of your spine piece (the card stock strip we cut earlier) to the left and right of the center. lightly draw a line each parallel to the long edges of the strip. pencil comes through book cloth very easily.
i think the pic above shows it pretty well. this part has to be done carefully and precise. if it's not your entire cover will be and look wonky.
lay out all of your pieces on the spine material to check that it's all right.
gently bend over the top and bottom end of the spine material - basically wrap it around - that's what we will do. 50cm - 19 5/8" is too long for this size cover - so by wrapping it you can check how much you need to trim off. both ends should overlap by about 2,5cm - 1". more or less is okay but don't make it too close. i cut off about 7cm - 2 1/2" but it really depends on the size of your cover.
set the cover pieces aside - the left one to the left side and the rigth one to the right side without turning or flipping them. you don't want to do all the work just to glue one of the covers on upside down - i've done that often enough...
set the spine material aside too.
place the spine cardstock strip on a clean piece of scrap paper and coat it with glue.
place it carefully where you lined it out on the spine material and burnish it well.
place on a clean piece of scrap paper and apply glue on the left side of the book cloth from the center towards the edge down the length of the spine. this is the one exception i mentioned earlier where the glue is not applied to the heavier material.
remove the scrap paper and place the left cover on the glued book cloth leaving a 3mm - 1/8" gap.
press down well and then carefully flip over to burnish the outside with the dry cloth over the protective paper (especially book cloth gets that annoying shine).
repeat the same process for the right side. take care to always use a clean scrap under your gluing. you don't want to do all the work just to place your almost finished cover in still wet glue - i've done that plenty of times too.
now apply glue to the short piece of spine material sticking out at the bottom.
remove the scrap paper. fold the piece over and glue it to the spine cardstock and the covered chipboard.
press it down well, paying a lot of attention to the edges and the gaps between the cover pieces and the spine where there is only book cloth.
now do the same to the top piece - be careful as it's a little trickier to do with the longer piece.
as you can see my two ends of spine material didn't quite meet up. personally i don't have a big problem with that and since i don't really know what i could do differently to make them line up perfectly it doesn't really matter. maybe folding it over before applying glue to crease the material or just to check would help. sometimes i do it perfectly and sometimes i don't. i don't mind. i'm an artist, a craftsperson, a human being and not a machine.
now all that's left to do is to give the spine a nice and rounded shape. as far as i know professional bookbinders have shaped wooden bars to bend spines into shape but we can use our hands to do that as well. since the spine card stock and the spine cover material are wet with glue everything is still bendable and will take almost any degree of roundness you want to give it. so it's important to do this right away and before the glue has dried.
on both ends, put one hand on the inside of the spine, pushing upwards while bending down from the outside with your other hand. don't neglect the middle section even though that's harder to reach that way.
work and wiggle the hinges between the chipboard and the card stock back and forth. make the spine poke over a little like a mushroom cap.
putting it on your work-surface like this and then pushing the cover upwards to bend the spine works well.
keep working it until your are happy with the shape. take your time with this and look at it from every angle repeatedly. once the glue has dried you won't be able to shape it any more.
now if you don't want to wait for part 2 of this - which will be putting together the leporello with the signatures and finishing everything - you can totally just stitch signatures straight through the spine or attatch them in any other way you like.
you can also substitute the spine card stock for spine chipboard (which will not be bendable) and make a ring binder.
this example shows three things all in once:
the basic principle can be used to make all sorts of book covers - in this case a ring binder.
you can even cover your book in foil using double sided tape as adhesive.
the front and the back cover look different - i had to take special care not to glue one or both cover pieces on upside down.
now on to happy crafting!