A tutorial: Making Bookcloth

I love making mini albums and other types of books using chipboard.  Most of the time I use pretty scrapbook papers for the cover and lining, which works very well and makes very crisp, precise corners.  But there’s no substitute for bookcloth!  After being very frustrated on a recent project by finding bookcloth that a) wasn’t incredibly expensive and b) exactly matched my project, I decided to turn to the greatest invention ever, the Internet, to see if there was a way to make it. 

There is, and it’s easy!

You will need:

  • An iron
  • Iron on fusible webbing (I used Wonder Under, purchased at JoAnn Fabrics)
  • Fabric, or your choice of handmade papers for the cover and/or lining of your book
  • Plain Kozo paper from Japan (two good sources: Washi Accents and Paper Arts)
  • A presscloth to protect your ironing board

The directions are available at the paper arts dot com website.  Essentially you are simply ironing the fusible webbing between the back of the fabric and the Kozo paper.  It only takes about 5 minutes!

Some tips learned through my trial and error:

  • To get the Wonder Under to “glue” end to end I cut the webbing a bit larger than my fabric.  This worked really well, except you must make sure to use a presscloth or even an extra sheet of Kozo paper underneath so that you don’t get the webbing on your ironing board.
  • When adhering the paper to the webbing, press the iron down very lightly and run left to right.  This will prevent any bubbling of the fabric in its adhesion to the paper.
  • I was using this technique only for book lining (not the cover) and I did not want the seams of my book cover to be very visible, so I needed to use two layers of webbing and Kozo paper.  This worked very well for the lining but I wouldn’t recommend it for the cover as it makes the paper very stiff, which would make the corner folding more difficult.
  • Depending on the size of your project, a rolling fabric cutter and large cutting mat can be very helpful.  I used this to cut my fabric into size and then after the lining was made to square off the edges.

I hope this is useful.  Mini books are so useful for presents, invitations (Ceci New York has some fantastic examples of invitations using a form of book, as does Alia Designs), favors, and programs.  You could even use this technique to create a fabric cover for boxes!  Do you have any other creative uses or project results to share? 

You will see the fruits of my bookcloth labor when I post on my Save the Dates – they are in the mail now and I can’t yet spoil the surprise!