Before I took Mary Ann Moss's Remains of the Day journal making class, I hadn't given much thought to safety envelopes- envelopes with a pattern inside meant to keep nosy people from peeking through the envelope.
Then I started to notice them at work, and I wondered just how many different patterns there were. I had the girls I work with save envelopes for some future art project. At first I thought I'd piece the envelopes into some kind of paper quilt. When I couldn't decide what you'd do with a paper quilt, I decided to try a book instead.
(Note: These are really basic bookmaking instructions. I didn't invent them, this is just kind of an accumulation of ideas I've cobbled together from lots of places. I am, by no means, implying that I discovered how to make a book.)
Grab some safety envelopes, sturdy paper to be used as pages (I'm using some recycled watercolor notecards), a paper cutter or scissors, an awl, several glue sticks and some twine, ribbon or thread to tie the pages together.
The watercolor paper I'm using for my pages is approx 7" x 10", and when folded in half makes pages that are 7" x 5". I've used 8 pieces of paper. Each piece, when folded makes 4 pages. The book will end up being 32 pages.
Covering the Pages
Making the Cover
Measure to find the center of the cover and fold about a 1/2" on either side to create an approximately 1" spine. To get my fold even and crisp, I laid a metal ruler on my fold line and folded against the ruler.
Use a pencil to mark four dots on the spine about a quarter of the way from the top and a quarter of the way from the bottom. This will be where you poke holes to tie your pages to the cover.
Sewing the pages to the cover.
In my example, we'll be using eight pages folded in half.
Nestle two pages together, and using your paper template and awl, poke holes in the fold. This group of pages is called a signature. Repeat this with the next set of two pages, creating another signature.
Thread your needle and push it from the cover side through the top hole on the cover and signature. Leave about an 8" tail. On the inside of the signature pull the needle through the bottom hole to the outside of the spine. On the outside of the cover, tie the two pieces of twine together.
(In other words, you're just threading the twine through the top hole in the cover and signature and then the bottom hole in the cover and signature, leaving the loose ends on the outside of the cover to be tied together)
Do the same thing with the next signature, using the same holes.
Follow the same instructions for the remaining signatures, using the other set of holes in the spine.
When you've got your book put together, the decorating begins.
You can make books like this using lots of different supplies- cardstock, magazine pages, vellum, even fabric. These books are great to use for a pictures and keepsakes from a special occasion- a wedding, a family reunion, a trip. I keep a small version in my purse (with plain pages) just to take notes and doodle.
Let me know how your bookmaking goes, or if you have questions.
If you are curious about safety envelopes check out this website.