Hi everyone, it's Jenny Marples (Pushing The Right Buttons) with you today, and I'm here to share with you a method for creating book with fabric using a selection of stamps designed by Alison Bomber.
I'm often asked how the journals and books I draw in are created. Usually they are made with paper but increasingly that's changed to include fabric because it's easier to bind, more forgiving and stronger (since fabric doesn't tear). So for this project I'll show you how to make a simple book and include ideas for decorating the pages using Alison Bomber's latest stamp releases.
Start by selecting your pages; they can be of any size as long as they are all roughly equal and in multiples of four. Mine were cut from a cartridge paper (A2 in size, 220gsm/110lb) though you could use postcards, old envelopes, even those sheets of patterned paper you may have left over.
Having some colour/pattern on the paper is helpful because it will show through the layers of translucent paint you will then apply using tools of your choice. I started with PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic Paints in 'Autumn Fire', 'Scottish Salmon', 'Terracotta' and finally 'Peachy Keen'. Apply unevenly and with decreasing amounts of paint to allow the lower layers to peek through.
You may be happy to stop there but I wanted it to be more muted so dry-brushed 'Snowflake' PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic Paint over the top.
Finally scrape on 'Chalk' Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic Paint in patches.
In case you are wondering why those lighter layers have been added here's one of the pages simply stamped with the first of Alison's stamp sets EAB26 - you can still see the colours but it also allows the stamped words to stand out.
Time to start filling some of your pages with images from Alison's beautiful stamp sets EAB24, EAB25 and EAB26. With a decorative background already done you can afford to keep the stamping simple too.
To compliment the autumnal background use the PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic Paints previously mentioned with further brown, yellow and orange shades to add colour to the fruits and leaves. I went with 'Chocolate Pudding', 'Zesty Zing' and 'Tango'.
And here's where we start to get stitchy; think of your paper pages as pieces of fabric, sticking on scraps of gel printed tissue, Infusions dyed teabag paper, and bits of card before 'fixing them in place' with simple running stitches. I would recommend using embroidery thread (floss), Sashiko thread or others of a similar weight to make the stitches stand out.
With your remaining pages you may want to draw a few favourite buildings. Alternatively use gel printing to apply printed images or simply stick in some photos. Mine all have links to some of Shakespeare's plays set in Italy to fit with Alison's stamps.
Now you have your pages finished, time to turn them into a book.
Sort your stack of painted pages into the order you want them to be in your book. You will need two painted page on the front and back of each 'signature' so in total you will need four for the covers, followed by a further four for each signature.
With my 16 pages assembled, and taking away those selected for the covers, I had enough for three signatures (ie. 12 painted pages). Cut some cheap cotton calico fabric to fit the width of two of these pages leaving a border roughly ½ cm (¼ inch) around each painted page. You'll need further fabric signatures for each group of remaining pages, leaving the cover pieces to one side for now.
Sort through your fabric scraps to find bits that will compliment your painted pages. Cut them into small strips/blocks and use glue/gel medium to stick them around the outer edges of each page on the signature, leaving a small gap where the signature will be folded in half. Repeat on the reverse, adding offcut trims and lace for extra texture. I would recommend adding some extra fabric into the centres to support the painted pages which will be mounted on top.
Glue your painted pages onto the fabric signatures - you should have a little of the patchwork and lace beneath showing and the painted pages should roughly line up with each other in front and behind. Run some machine stitching around the edges to secure them in place and create a visual border to each page.
With all your signatures assembled and folded in half cut more cotton calico fabric long enough to wrap around it all from front to back. Be generous and remember, you'll be adding more fabric and painted pages to the inside of the covers so leave enough for them to fit. Fold the cover fabric in half and create a centre crease line.
Starting with your middle signature open secure it onto the cover fabric along the creased line using strong thread and a simple running stitch (as shown below).
With the pages now in place it's time to finish the covers, and the book.
Decorate the inside of the front and back covers using the same method used for the signatures, securing the painted pages with more machine stitching.
Everything is complete inside so now it's time to tackle the outside of the covers. Wrap lace (or old net curtain offcuts!) around the spine to disguise the stitching. Mount the final two painted pages onto cardboard before layering onto more fabric. The cardboard will add rigidity and strength to your covers whilst the fabric will echo the look of the pages inside.
You'll see on the finished book I added some filigree metal trims to the front and back covers to imitate the look of clasps. You could also add a ribbon tie beneath your painted covers, attach charms to your spine and further embellish your pages at this stage. All of these additions would add to the tactile feel of the completed book.
So here is a flip through of my finished pages, with the first spread celebrating Shakespeare's 'The Merchant of Venice' and the iconic view of the Bridge of Sighs. Quite by chance the stitched page could represent one of the famous canals!
More autumnal fruit, this time with the blackberries becoming golden raspberries. The 'Persimmon Flower' pattern created with the stitching replicates a design seen on the Doge's Palace in Venice.
A view of Arsenale in Venice has been used for Shakespeare's 'Othello' - as a member of the Venetian militia this could have been his home port.
Acorns are traditionally a sign of Autumn and Nature's bounty. And can you spot any extra Shakespeare quotes in the Alison Bomber stamp sets you may already have that could fit?
For the final pages I chose a typical Italian street scene for Shakespeare's 'The Two Gentlemen of Verona' - something about that tower...
So now you have a jumping off point from which to create your own books using fabric with paper, your own collection of PaperArtsy Paints and of course Alison's beautiful stamps. Whilst you can make these any size you want I would recommend starting small with a maximum of three signatures so as not to feel overwhelmed by the number of pages you will need to decorate. And make sure to share your creations with us all in the PaperArtsy People FB group!