Saturday, 26 August 2017

The Great Book Challenge

A  while ago I mentioned that I calculated I needed 500 books to fill my bookshelves.  I realised that even if I managed to buy them at an average of 50p per book I would have to spend £250 - clearly that wasn't going to happen!!  So it was a case of knuckle down and make a bundle of books now and then.  

Months ago I made up two sets of Mini Mundus Books which I really liked doing and I liked the finished result but they are £25 for a kit yielding 84 books.  This works out around 30p per book; so not a financial possibility for the quantity I need.  Also, I can't have a library filled with the same sets of books.

If you want to see those books click on Mini Mundus which I hope will take you to the post.  Failing that click on 'library' label in left margin of blog and scroll through those posts until you get to it or find it by date order of posts - 25th August 2015 (wow, so long ago)

Off I toddled to search on line for free printies for 1/12ths.  I know there is ton of that stuff out there so I easily found and saved a few likely pages and I began mass production.   So off to step one of bookmaking as per me.

Download the printie and print on ordinary A4 paper.

I then coated the print with matt Mod Podge to stiffen the paper, protect the print and give a slight sheen to the covers.  I do find it makes the inkjet ink run but I don't think it matters for this purpose as nine tenths of the book will never be seen again - in reality this will be 500 book spines I am making!!

When it was bone dry I cut out the covers.

I began filling the first couple of books with long strips of copy paper which I concertina folded and glued into the book.  I find concertina folding fiddly at this size as it needs to be spot on accurate for a good result.  The alternative method was to cut double page size pieces, fold in half and glue those together to form the inners.

This worked fine but the process needed to be speeded up.  Thinking about the Mini Mundus set and the speed and ease of filling covers with balsa wood I searched around for something the right thickness for my printies.  Out came old faithful - the grey cardboard.

The appearance of the end result again doesn't matter for my purposes - loose pages obviously look better than the cardboard but neither will ever be seen.



There was also a downside to the ones with pages in - they stopped the books staying neatly closed.

I intend to glue sets of books together to make them easier to load onto the shelves.  They are not things of beauty but hopefully with some nicer books mixed in here and there they will do the job - Elizabth is collecting 17th and 18th century texts after all so scruffy is fine!

On my searches I also paid (!!) £1.91 to download this music book printout.  I am going to make a set of six to stack in the music room somewhere.

Concertina fold and glue

Mod Podged the cover

I made better corners on the next books

I came across a lot of nice maps in the free printies so I decided to do a page of those too.  This time no Mod Podge was involved but I did paint the back of the paper with a mucky coloured water colour wash to get rid of the bright white paper.  When bone dry the maps were rolled around a toothpick and relaxed a little, then re-rolled, not too tightly and not all the same.  The roll was fixed with a spot of glue and stacked (for now) in a book box.  They look good beside the library desk.

PS:  If you do ever have this book challenge - look forward to it.... no, really.  By day two I had found ways of speeding up the mass production process and found I could make little groups of books in very quick time as long as each book didn't need to be a perfect specimen which, of course, they don't.  Let go of that requirement and you end up with great looking little groups of books that look just perfect on the shelves of a bookcase.



  1. This is a comment from Beth via Google plus:

    Oh Marilyn, I do love this post. Beautiful job and your library will be filled to capacity! Coating the sheet with Mod Podge is a wonderful idea. For your other followers, I would suggest viewing your

    1. Hi Beth - I am having bad, bad issues with Google + - too long a story to recount here. It is fine if you want to use it for comments as they also get sent to my mailbox (I hope) and I can post them here. Best of all though if you can talk to me here on the blog's website, life is simpler. we can always natter by mail as you know but it is lovely to see folk in my blog that way I know I am sharing with other humans rather than the void. Thank you as always for your lovely positive remarks. I am always most pleased if someone finds a handy tip in there somewhere, like the Mod Podge thing. Stay with me.... Marilyn

  2. Hi Marilyn, I made some books using this method for my witches house but only had to make 20. You can actually now download a printout of a whole shelf of books which you just glue onto a piece of wood the right length so you don't have to do individual books.

    1. Thanks Diane. I sort of tested that out and it would be the perfect answer if it was a bookcase in a room or even better behind glass doors but in a library the whole focus is sort of on the books and it kind of 'showed'. I am probably too fussy. I honestly actually enjoyed the mindlessness of it. I love various serials and dramas on radio four so I often need something to do which allows me to fully listen to them.

  3. Hi Marilyn,
    I LOVE seeing books on display whether they are collected on a shelf or casually strewn about, but I particularly like the music portfolio ( and I LOVE your book corners too! ;D ) The idea for making a stack of them sounds Marvy and I hope that you will show the finished results when they are all made.
    The container of rolled maps was something I once did for a nautical project only mine were installed in a barrel, even so, I think that yours in the Book Box look perfect!
    I am a dyed in the wool Paper Freak and find it fascinating just how versatile paper can be and so I appreciate your showing us different examples using a variety of techniques for filling up your library- Keep it Coming! :D

    1. I do find it slightly odd to be in a house where there are no books - I suspect that statement will become less and less meaningful in this digital age. I love the feel and smell of books and positively enjoy the page turning moment of reading something I am engrossed in. As a child we had a set of encyclopedias and I actually loved just ploughing through one now and then for the sheer pleasure of coming across something that was interesting! Vastly different to 'Hey Siri' or Googling a query. So Elizabeth's small library is a real life dream. M