Saturday, June 7, 2014

Turning Fabric Into Bookcloth

High quality paper backed bookcloth is a cinch to make at home with a few basic supplies.  Virtually any cloth will do.  In this example I am using Japanese linen fabric I purchased at Britex Fabrics on a recent trip to SanFrancisco. 

The fabric needs a lining because the weave of most cloth would allow too much adhesive to seep through when covering boards. I use a heavyweight Japanese paper like Okawara to line the fabric and a wheat starch paste such as Zen Shofu to attach the lining to the fabric. Cut out your fabric and a piece of Japanese paper the same size as the fabric.

Place the Japanese paper on a piece of waste paper and liberally apply the wheat starch paste in a star pattern starting at the center of the paper and moving out to the edges.

Drape the fabric onto the pasted out Japanese paper and smooth out from the center outwards.  Do not overzealously rub down the fabric as that could cause distortion to the fabric pattern.

Finally place the newly lined fabric between Hollytex (a non-wover polyester) and blotter and weight with a piece of plexi glass. The "drying sandwich" should be blotter, Hollytex, fabric, Hollytex, Blotter.   If you are not a conservator and these materials are not lying around your house you can sandwich the fabric between pieces of wax paper.  The dry time will just be longer. 

After drying over night the bookcloth can be used for full cloth bindings!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A great little tutorial Katie, I'll see if I can't include it as a resource on our site soon.

Keep up the good work! ~ Paul