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Making a post bound Book of Shadows- looks like a regular book, but you can rearrange the pages

I recently made a new book of shadows, and recorded the process in case someone else might find it useful. This doesn't lay perfectly flat, but it stays open and feels like a real book. The smaller you make the binding strips, the wider it opens. If you use wood, or make it very thick, it will be very heavy (mine is about 15-20 pounds-400+pages.) That's a plus in some cases, as it stays open and is hard to knock off a table or altar, but if weight is a concern, use cardboard, less paper and plan for a smaller size.


Wood or heavy cardboard-
2 pieces of identical size (whatever size you want the finished book to be) and another of the same height for the spine. Spine width can be whatever you choose, depending on how large of a book you intend on making.
2 more identical pieces, about 1-1.5 in wide and the same height as the book, to hold the posts for the binding. (In the photos, mine are much wider, as I was experimenting. I cut them down quite a bit later.)

Thin leather or heavy cloth/paper of your choice-
For covering the book and possibly making the hinges. (I used leather to make the hinges this time, but I'm going to try small box hinges next time so the cover can be bound in one piece. I will post an update if it works.)

Decorative paper/cloth
For the endpapers.

3 Scrapbook binding posts & extenders
Available where you find scrapbooking supplies-make sure you get a little extra so that your posts are wide enough to hold all the paper.

Because a book without paper makes no sense. I used a nifty faux parchment. You'll need to 3-hole punch it. I also ran mine through my printer to print very faint guidelines for writing and a template for a decorated initial.

PVA or other high quality craft glue
For sticking things together. Look for archival quality/acid free/non-yellowing on the package. Make sure it works with cloth, wood and leather.

Scissors, heavy books, brush for the glue, scrap paper, flat surface, etc.

Heavy twine or cording
If you want it to look like a hubbed book.

For bookmarks

Gilding, paint, etc.
For decoration.

And any decorative things you'd like to add. I used brass jewelry stampings (Casa Jewelry on eBay) and stones to decorate mine. I also bound in a leather strap (gluing it down underneath the endpapers) so I can add a lock or clasp when I find one I like.


Step One:
Gather and prepare your supplies. Make sure everything is the size you want it, sand the edges if you are using wood, etc. Take the two thin strips for the binding, and mark them up to be even with the 3-hole punch for the paper. Drill or punch the holes.

Step Two:
Lay out the cover, spine, and post binding pieces out on your leather/heavy cloth. Cut around them, leaving an inch or two of excess. I forgot to take a picture, but I also cut 2 strips of excess here the height of the book for hinges. At this point, if you want the faux hubbed binding, glue your cording or twine (I braided mine for an interesting finish) at the appropriate places on the spine, and give it a few minutes to set.

Step Three:
Next, cover the spine and cover pieces with your glue. Press your leather/cloth over the glue, smoothing it down flat and pressing out any bubbles. Flip the pieces over, bring the excess over the edges and glue that down as well, mitering the corners for a neat appearance. Only fold over the top and bottom of the spine piece. Leave the side excess on the spine unglued-that forms part of the hinges for the binding. Cover with scrap paper and lay heavy books on top to ensure that the covering is smooth and secure. If you wanted to get really fancy here, it would be theoretically possible to glue wood or cardboard shapes to the cover first and lay the leather down on top for a relief or embossed effect.

Step Four:
This is where the book goes together. This is also the point where I forgot to take some pictures between the steps, so I apologize if anything is unclear. Glue the excess leather/cloth on the spine to one side of the binding strips, as shown in the photos. This is the point, where if I were smarter, I would have covered the bare edges in spare leather, cloth or paper. I didn't, so I had to do it later. It would have been neater if I had done it at this point, word to the wise.

When that glue is dry, fold one of the excess leather strips you cut earlier in half lengthwise. Glue one half of the leather to the front binding strip (on the side nearest the spine) and the other half to the inside of the front cover. Repeat on the other side.
I tried to show it in the picture here-I glued on the endpapers before I remembered to take it. The hinge is the dark strip you can see under the lighter paper.

Step Five:
Now we're at the stage where we make it pretty. Cut a piece of your decorative paper large enough to cover the inside cover, hiding the edges of the leather/cloth, with enough excess to fold over the binding strip. Glue it down over the cover, leaving the part that covers the binding strip unglued so that you can get at the posts to add or move the paper. Repeat with the back. You can layer two sets of papers for a fancier look as well-I have a gold metallic embossed paper over a textured red paper.

If you want a strap to close it, glue it down in the back before you lay down the endpapers. Then install the hardware of your choice. If you want a tie, you can bind strips in on either side.
To bind in bookmarks, cut ribbon to an appropriate length and glue it to the inside of the spine. Glue attractive paper or cloth over it to hide and protect the edges.
Decorate the cover as you choose or leave it plain.

Slip the posts through the holes in the binding strip, load the paper in, fasten the posts and you're done.

Here's my mostly finished product:

I wanted the distressed look, so I intentionally splattered a bit of glue and cut some bits ragged. If you don't want that, be careful with the glue and trimming. I used a wax based gilding on the hubs to make it look worn. Gold leaf or paint would make a cleaner look.

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Comment by amanda richardson on April 23, 2008 at 7:59pm
just wanted to thankyou so much for posting the directions to making a screw-post grimoire. i have bought a few grimoires from other people and always became frustrated at not knowing how they did it? i belive i can do it myself now!

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