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Fabric books - part one

Last week, I showed you the little sample book mock-ups that I made using the instructions in Alisa Golden's new book Making Handmade Books (don't forget to sign up for the giveaway!).  Well, I had a few inspirations hit me while I was fooling around with the paper samples, and today I want to share one of them.  If you don't have access to Alisa's book, many other books have the instructions for a simple X book as's a traditional form that I think you'll even be able to figure out from my pictures pretty easily.

The X book form uses only the front sides of the piece of paper or fabric, so it can be made with a single thickness rather than having to be backed.  I decided to use fabric rather than paper for my finished book, and since I wanted it a bit stiff, I treated each fabric piece with wood hardener before constructing.  You'll need the following tools and materials:

Paper mock-up of book form
X-acto knife, scissors, or rotary cutter
Bone folder
Cutting mat
Clear ruler
Wood hardener
Sponge brush
Sewing machine (or you can hand stitch if you'd prefer)

1. Pick out 8 pieces of fabric, all the same size.

2. Use wood hardener on them and allow them to dry.

3. Arrange according to the pattern for an x-book.

4. Butt the pieces up against each other and zig zag stitch all the top pieces together and all the bottom pieces together.

5. Zig zag stitch along the top and bottom edges.  Zig zag stitch along the inner edges of the middle two squares.

6. Butt the top and bottom pieces together and zig zag stitch the two outer squares together, skipping the inner two squares which are already finished.

7. Zig zag stitch along the outer edges.

8. Fold into an X book shape.

Optional steps:
Write on pages
Stuff the pages and stitch together
Add beads, buttons, trim, etc before stitching together

Fabric books - part one
Fabric books - part two
Fabric books - part three

Copyright 2011 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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What is wood hardener? I've never heard of it. Wood fabric stiffener like Stiffy do?
Cyndi L said…
Probably, but I haven't used it so I don't know what kind of finish it leaves on the fabric. I like Min-Wax wood is designed to be put onto soft or even rotting wood and bind the fibers together to prevent further deterioration. The finish allows for any further embellishment you want, and I'm sure it's designed to last!
Cherie said…
Min Wax... going to have to try that. What a great idea. I love the fabrics in this one. They are so "spring like".
Limarea said…
What a cute book! :D
I've just priced wood hardener in Australia, its a non-starter for me, but experimentation is fun, and I want to try out a little fabric book, I have the Golden book on order, thanks to your post!
Cyndi L said…
I'm sorry that it's too expensive there. Perhaps there's another brand you could find that would be more affordable. My daughter uses a product called Wood Petrifier that seems to be about the same thing.
Carmi Cimicata said…
I have never heard of wood hardener! On a separate note...I do have a piece of furniture I love but the wood I am going to try this glue on that!
Just as a follow up, I ordered the Golden book just before I left my previous comment, and it arrived this morning from Amazon, pretty amazing as I am in Australia! The book looks amazing too, with a LOT of reading to do, and from a quick browse through, its more than well worth the price plus international postage. I suspect Cyndi's review will turn out to be an understatement once I start doing some of the projects!
Cyndi L said…
It is an *amazing* book! I'm glad you were able to get it so quickly :-)
Lynniemay said…
Thank-you! I too have never heard of wood hardener!! Will be looking for it! Maybe it can help in my house too!!!
Iam sooo glad you repost!