Wednesday, August 29, 2007

RW: Book Making

As much as I enjoy seeing my publishers put my work in print, I love to create my own books at home. Doing all the writing, art work, editing, printing and binding by myself takes time, but it's fun, too.

I got seriously involved in creating my own books after I took a class in Orizomegani (Japanese paper dyeing) and book binding. An artist and a professional book binder ran the all-day class, and by the end of it I had a whole new perspective on the making of books. I've been hooked ever since.

These days I make up books of stories I write as gifts for family and close friends, or with poetry and stories that I write for myself. I also make blank books for use as journals, notebooks and quilting and gardening diaries. Occasionally I'll rebind old books that are falling apart or that have extensive cover damage.

Readers may not think they have any reason to make a book themselves, but if you have family letters, poems or stories that mean a great deal to you, why not put them together in book form? Think of it like a scrapbook of words instead of pictures. There are all sorts of book making sites out there with instructions that are easy to follow.

Now it's your turn for some ideas -- if you were going to make your own book, what would you like to put in it? Put your answer in comments to this post by midnight EST on August 31, 2007, and I'll draw one name at random from everyone who participates and send the winner one of my handmade blank journals, along with a pack of book-making materials to get you started on making your own. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.

Related links:

Hollander's

How to Make Your Own Trade Paperbacks

Make Your Own Journal

Rit Dye

54 comments:

  1. Actually, I've been thinking about writing a story for each of my children for a Christmas present (trying to start a new tradition) and have been wondering how I can make it more special than just printing it out and stapling it. Thanks for the link!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm thinking of making a book out of all the stories my now-deceased grandmother wrote down for us about her childhood - maybe a copy for each of my siblings.

    those special stories deserve some special care.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've just discovered a kind of haiku that has a photo or brush painting and a haiku that goes with it. A small book of these would be great, and could be hand-bound. A beautiful object.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I haven't made my own books for a while, but they were mostly black books for sketching and writing, ad blank journals for friends and such.

    If I were to make one now, I would probably write a Cars related story for my grandson and illustrate it myself. He's a big fan of Lightning McQeen *sigh*.

    ReplyDelete
  5. That's a really cool idea. I hadn't thought about book binding as a craft, but I have a few paperbacks that could use some serious TLC. Please drop my name in the hat.

    Amanda

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've thought about making my own book but never knew how to go about doing it. As for what I would fill it with... Well we have alot of stories and history in our family I would like to write down. Memories I would like to preserve for my future generations to come.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I used to make books after doing a course on the subject for my art degree. If I were to make another now it would be a moment in time for my partner, filled with the words of her children.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I would love to finally make my scrapbook of mine and my fiance's relationship so far. i have loads of photos and tickets but i havent found a nice enough book to do it in.
    book making sounds like the way forward.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I would make a collection of fairy tales! I do hope to do this one day, and I've already got a couple of tales written. Just need to finish the writing part. I was going to publish it with Lulu, but I think after reading your post I may bind a few copies myself to give out as gifts.
    What a great idea. I'm so glad you bought it up!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Some of my friends are kind enough to say they like my photos, so I would like to put together a book of my photographs. I think they could make excellent presents, and we already have a decent enough printer. Could prove pricey, though.

    ReplyDelete
  11. On my mom's side of the family there are a lot of ghost stories. I mean A LOT. For some reason, that side of my family seemed to attract the weird and unexplainable (hey, is that why I was born into the family?)

    I keep meaning to sit down and write the stories down. I want to save them for my kids before all the people who know them are gone.

    So that's what I'd do.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I would both write and draw in the handmade book. Hopefully it would represent what's happening in our family at the time.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Rhonda8:27 AM

    I would fill it with family stories. My parents are not getting any younger and once they are gone a whole generation of history is lost. They have wonderful stories that I would love my children and grandchildren to know.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I would love to learn to do this as gifts, give my friends stories or handmade journals. That would be a fun thing to try. *being the fresh-out-from-college-with-loans sap that I am, wonders if it's expensive*

    Please put my name in the hat.

    ReplyDelete
  15. When my husband was on NATO peacemaking duty, first in Bosnia and then in Kosovo, I wrote him every day and he would write whenever he had a moments break. Of course, I saved all his letters. But what touched me so deeply is that he saved all the ones I sent to him and brought them home with him. There was even the one that he carried with him every day in a pocket in his combat uniform.

    By the time he was in Kosovo... the troops could receive e-mail too. The guys used to tease him that he got more e-mail than anyone else. He saved all those and brought them home too.

    They are tucked away in my keepsake box, but I'd love to figure out a way to put them in a book.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Ooo...such a neat idea. I wouldn't just make one book. It would have to be three. My kids and my husband. They'd be filled with letters to them. Words that show how much they mean to me even when we argue.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Ooh, a craft I haven't tried. If I made my own book, I'd probably put family recipes in there.

    ReplyDelete
  18. The pre-publication version of my first novel, all two hundred and forty seven thousand words, has already been made into a gorgeous hand-bound edition. A dear friend made it for me long before Ghosts sold, and he called it a Magic Book. A thing to have, hold, and wish on as the manuscript went out to seek publication.

    The Magic evidently worked. I have 'real' books too, but they're not as special as my Magic Book.

    That said, I don't know what else I'd make into a book but it does sound like an interesting craft to try.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I think I'd use it as a writing/idea journal or to write little notes to my husband. What a fantastic idea!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I think I would use it for a journal. I have such a hard time finding the premade commercial ones that I like, making my own could solve all my problems.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I would make a book for my stepson. When he was small I would write stories for him on the outside of his paper lunchbags, and each day would be the next "chapter." I would like to try and recreate some of these stories for him to keep.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I love to write about my childhood dog, and while I know no one but me would actually care to read about, I would love to put all my essays into a book for myself.

    DiDi

    ReplyDelete
  23. My family has the best stories (some true, some wholly fictional) about their lives. Opa in particular was the king of fibs, to this day, I don't think any of us grandkids are really sure how he and Oma met. I've been planning to collect all the stories in one place and give them to the rest of my family as a present.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I have always thought that the stories of my husband's adventures learning how to fly and the things he did to pay for all the htings you neeed to do in order to become a pilot would make an interesting book... I think I shall go start that... inlcuding the tale about manure and strawberries...

    Catherine

    ReplyDelete
  25. Wow, what a lot of great ideas! I am thinking of trying a book with all the pictures I've saved from my children's school days. And I have grandchildren now to start on too!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Wow, I had never thought of making my own books. I guess I'd put my own stories in it; I could then say that I had published a book, without explaining how or who had done it...

    ReplyDelete
  27. I like the idea of a blank journal, or a blank one with decorated pages and cover. It would be fun to do the decorating.

    But, I think what I'd really do with one is use it for my craft project ideas. I'd draw a sketch of what I want and any details or directions on how to make it, plus the supplies needed. (Right now I have these ideas on scattered pieces of paper.)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Anonymous11:44 AM

    For myself, I would make a small book to record the books I read. For new moms, I would make a book to record the cute things their children say and do (you always think you'll never forget, but two weeks later. . .).

    Kristal

    ReplyDelete
  29. Everyone has some fun or interesting family stories. There are many that the kids love to hear us tell about their grandfather and great-uncles growing up on a farm, grandmother's childhood, childhood exploits of my husband or myself, etc. I would write these stories down and put them in a book just for us and our children.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Melissa B.12:20 PM

    I do photography as a hobby so I would make a book of my favorite photos from over the years.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I am currently working on a book of our trip to Chile a couple years ago. I'm using Blurb, and it will be very pretty with lots of photos. Kind of like a scrapbook, only without having to scrapbook.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Either poetry or a children's book for me.

    ReplyDelete
  33. My husband and I just moved from the city out to our lake cabin, the place where I spent my childhood summers, my teenage weekends, my young-parent vacations with babies, my writing retreats, and now finally my full-time home. Over the next couple of years, we're going to tear down the old cabin (before it falls down on our heads) and build a house.

    What I'd put in my journal is memories of the old cabin, photos, family stories (my dad learned to walk holding on to the porch railing), important dates (when the ice goes out, when the hummingbirds come back, when the first irises bloom). I can't keep the old place, much as I love it, but I can keep its memory.

    ReplyDelete
  34. For my 40th birthday, I didn't want gifts, but I did want to create something that would mark the event. I asked my friends to come with something in writing--a poem, a letter, a wish, a saying. Something that had meaning for that particular person and their relationship with me. During the party, I had an alcove set up with scrapbooking materials and by the end, I had a wonderful book. People who weren't able to attend, sent their pages by email and snail mail, so I have this amazing keepsake.

    The book I would love to make is out of a story I wrote for my youngest son in his toddler years. It is the only children's story I've ever written, or probably ever will write and I'd love to bind it for him as a gift. (He's 11 now.)

    Thanks for the links, Lynn!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Maybe I'll create a photo book. Since pictures are easily printed with the new printers, I may put together a book of pictures.

    IT would be a cool thing to put on the coffee table so others can flip through it.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Mary21:06 PM

    If I were making my own book right now I would put down school memories. I am about to finish my Masters in nursing at 52 and going back to school has been both a challenge and the best time! I've made wonderful memories and met some people who, even at this old age, will affect the shape of me for years to come :)
    I have made books in the past and you are so right... it is worth doing. I came to it through a calligraphy class... we made a class book: everyone made a page in calligraphy and we copied them, then everyone made them into a book... they were lovely and the writing was too:) At the end of that, I was inspired, so when a good friend graduated from nursing school, I made her a book. I embossed the word nurse, one letter on each page, then wrote in a poem I found that I felt pretty well summed up nursing.I was surprised at how well it turned out, and even more surprised by how touched she was to get it. I've made an occasional book since then but those are my favorites.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Bridget Medora1:25 PM

    All the military history in our family. Both my and my husband's parents/uncles/grandparents/etc. served in the armed forces -- both reserves and active duty, peacetime and wartime, and my kids need to know all that. The newspaper clippings, the handwritten letters, everything. I want it all in one place.

    ...Whether or not you draw my name out of the hat this time, I think I'm going to start that project. Thanks for this post. =)

    ReplyDelete
  38. My cousin and I were thinking of writing children's books dedicated to her son--well, she'd write them and I'd illustrate. Other than that, I'd probably use them for sketching purposes. Making books/doing the binding yourself sounds a lot more creative than just buying those spirals like I do. Awesome idea, Lynn!

    ReplyDelete
  39. I have a bunch of papers my kids wrote when they were little. I might incorporate them with stories of funny things they did or that happened at different points in their lives.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I would make a cover incorporating some of my mother's paper art (hope you don't mind the family promotion) and the use it for those ideas that strike at random moments. I would put in pictures and pages torn from magazines that trigger a plot point or bring on inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Haiku. About slugs.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Anonymous6:50 PM

    I do scrapbooking but to make the covers for one would be awesome. We've made a family recipe book on my Mom's side and a family history book on my Dad's side and they would be nice to make covers for.
    Please enter me. I love journals and will look into making one.

    robynl

    ReplyDelete
  43. My sixth grade teacher had us write a short story, illustrate it, laminate it, and bind it for our "grammar" credit. My mom still has it.

    Ironically, even then I had a sarcastic sense of humor. The princess and dragon in the story don't fall in love but snark at each other.

    Now, I sometimes write things down just to get them out of my head. A particularly funny conversation I had with a friend. A conversation I wish I'd had with a stranger. A chance and imaginary meeting with a celebrity or a literary character or a cartoon character or whatever. Thoughts on politics that I wouldn't share with anyone. Snippets of particularly vivid dreams. Even sketches and doodles that catch my fancy after I'm done with them. Names. Interesting twists of phrase.

    I don't keep a diary, but if I did, it would be these little snippets of my disorganized and always moving mind, and it would probably be handbound. Because I'm odd like that.

    ReplyDelete
  44. I'd make a book, a happy book, of all the things I've lost -- in moves, through carelessness, by theft or breakage. I'd include photos and drawings. And there I'd have the quilt my mother made me when I was six; my great-grandmother's blue vase; a pocketwatch; the coin purse my grandma bought me; the ring my sister and I both wore.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I'd make a book for my poetry, journals for my mom, my sisters and my niece, and small reading journals for friends. This is a cool idea. Thanks Lynn.

    ReplyDelete
  46. I'd make books of family favourite recipes to share and a knitting journal for me.

    I've made some little books before, but I wasn't entirely happy with how the bindings turned out. I keep thinking that one of these days I should figure out how to do it properly.

    ReplyDelete
  47. I've made some books for friends before as gifts...much less elaborate though! I'd basically print them out and then make a nice cover. If I were to make a handmade book for something, though, I think it would be a book of my poetry, either for myself or to give to my boyfriend (hopelessly romantic, I know). Or to use as a personal journal. Great idea =)

    ReplyDelete
  48. What a wonderful hobby and a lovely offer on your part. Since I'm single and my dogs are my children, I'd fill it with all things related to my girls - past and present. Then it would be filled with love.

    ReplyDelete
  49. I think if I were going to put together a book myself it would be a book of all the letters my boyfriend and I wrote to each other when we were...courting each other, I guess. We had a period of time before we got together when we were best friends, but I was still with my, now, ex-boyfriend. I kept trying to end it and he kept threatening to kill himself. In that period of time my, now, boyfriend and I started writing each other letters. They would be nice to have collected in a book. Perhaps as a wedding gift to him.

    ReplyDelete
  50. I would make a book for myself. Not motivated by selfishness, but by remembering - I would make a book to rememember who I was later in life.

    ReplyDelete
  51. I would love to make a book of proverbs from all the different schools of thought.

    ReplyDelete
  52. I would write and illustrate a children's book idea I've been working on.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Tamith10:20 AM

    I'd love to make a scrapbook of the best and funniest emails I've gotten from friends over the years, and of the poems I used to write them.

    ReplyDelete
  54. I would take a story I wrote for my best friend (a graduation present when we were still in high school), and give her a much better copy than the one she did have. It's been over 10 years, I think she deserves and upgrade!

    ReplyDelete