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The joy of making Miniature Books

Posted by Misha Gudibanda on

Making and binding tiny mini books, is one of our favourite things to do. :) Many a time, when I get too stressed out, or have too many thoughts in my head, I do this. Sometimes by myself, sometimes with my 11-year-old daughter. I always emerge an hour and a couple of mini-books later, with a much calmer mind, a smile on my face and gloriously grubby hands from which Fevicol can be removed layer by layer - so oddly satisfying! 

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First we take out our stash of mini books - stored in one of our Sky Goodies book-shaped-boxes. We'll ogle at the mini books and discuss the best kind to make for this round. We sweep aside our always-too-cluttered table, bring out the trusty Olfa cutter and cutting mat, and ransack the kitchen for a serrated kitchen knife. Then the best part - opening up folders of printed coloured paper, collected and hoarded fanatically over the years in files bursting at the seams. These papers are the ingredients to fashion tiny book covers and end-papers, which finally give the mini book its own character. For the inside pages of our mini books, we get our hands on simple sunshine paper or tear out a few pages from the currently abused sketchbook. You need only a few sheets. Look for some binder clips and glue, and we're all set. 

In case any of you want to try it, I've put a video below to show you guys the process from start to finish, with captions explaining the steps. This one is to make a mini book with plain pages. We've used material that is available at home or can be found easily. I'm also adding brief descriptions of each step below.

You will need: scissors, craft knife, kitchen knife with a serrated edge, ruler, glue, binder clip or clothes' peg, plain paper for the inside pages, coloured paper for the cover and end-paper, a piece of thick card, some stickers (optional) 

Step 1:
Cut pages of size 4 x 5 cm. I have used 32 cut sheets for each mini book

Step 2: 
Align the pages and hold them together tightly, using a tight binder clip or clothes peg. The tighter the better. 

Step 3:
Cut some grooves along the spine, using a serrated kitchen knife. You can also use a hacksaw blade if you have one handy. (I don't know if it is usual to have hacksaw blades turn up in drawers and pen stands, but it happens in my unorganised home.) 

Do this part carefully and thoroughly. The depth of the grooves should be roughly 0.5 mm. That's pretty deep. The strength of the binding does depend on these grooves, so cut no corners here! 

Step 4:
Cut a piece of paper 3 x 5 cm. Any paper- doesn't have to be pretty. This will get covered later. 

Apply glue thoroughly to the grooves in the spine. Like, fill them up! 
Stick the paper to the spine and firmly press and remove extra glue. If you have long nails like my daughter, please do use them to push the glue into the spine, and squeeze out any extra glue and wipe it off. 
Leave to dry for 30-60 minutes. 

Step 5: 
Cut 4 pieces of the thick card for the covers of each book, each piece 4.2 cm by 5.4 cm. You can use a thick visiting card. Our a wedding card. Or some old packaging. 

Step 6:
Choose paper for the book cover. This is my favourite part! Mixing and matching and imagining the tiny cover with different patterns and colours. I try to drag this part out longer than necessary.  Like window-shopping to my heart's content before finally putting the money down on the counter. (Except during 2020, of course; in 2020 you get in, dart for what you need, put exact change on the counter and exit as swiftly as possible.) 

Coming back to choosing the right paper for the cover, just go with what you feel like doing. There's no right or wrong. Take the chosen paper and cut a piece roughly 11.5 by 7.5 cm. 

Step 7:
Stick the cards on the paper, leaving enough room for the spine in the middle. Snip off the corners, and fold and stick the edges onto the card. You can keep the cover simple or add details like faux-leather edges and spine. 

Step 8:
Apply glue on the spine of the bound pages, which should have dried reasonably well by now, provided you spent (not wasted!) enough time choosing the right paper for the cover. Attach the glued spine to the cover. 

Step 9:
Choose end-paper to match or contrast with the cover, and cut 2 pieces of 8 x 5 cm for each book. Fold in the middle and stick to attach the cover to the bound pages. The bound pages are called a book block or signature, by the way... but let's keep the language simple. Decorate the cover if you wish, with stickers or art. Maybe print a name with teeny alphabet blocks! 

And we're done! Now to use them... they make the most adorable hand-made gifts to friends! And nobody's gonna throw them out because they ran out of space and their spouse was suffering from an overload of books in the house. A mini book will make a sweet gratitude journal for beginners- the practice of writing down one thing that you are most thankful for at the end of every day, is a powerful practice! It forces you to go over all the nice things that happened, and choose one. Then fit it into the tiny page of your mini book. Or here's an idea- give a mini book to a friend or loved one, telling them in one word one every page, why you love them. 

Now that you're done, go ahead and spend some time turning over the little baby books in your hands, passing them around and generally feeling awesome! 



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