Anatomy of a sketchbook

Immediately upon being tasked with making a sketchbook, my first thought was that I had already made such a thing years ago for my Auto CAD class.  I had made that book from salvaged materials in my time working at the University print shop, and I assembled that book as follows:  leatherette navy blue covers, navy blue plastic coil spine, blank sheets of graph paper (with quarter-inch grids), a sturdy sheet of cardboard inside the back cover, and a hand-crafted pocket folder that was placed inside the front cover.  “Could I cheat and just use this book as my sketchbook?” I thought to myself, but alas the book only had 27 sheets of paper.

No worries, I’m crafty.  The simple solution was to re-purpose the book by cutting it in half and rebinding it with twice as many pages.  And so I did.

First I had to remove the spine.  Easy to do by just cutting one end with scissors and then using my fingers to spin the coil out from the book.  I wish we had bought that rotary paper trimmer, because the next step was cutting the sheets with scissors.  I was able to cut 4 sheets at a time and used the grid lines of the graph paper as a guide.  This was the most time consuming part of the process but only took 5 minutes.  I then folded one of the covers in half to create a crease as a guide to then cut it into 2 to serve as front and back covers of the new book.  After stacking all the sheets together and lining up the holes, I spun the coil back on by hand.  The final step was using a crimping tool to cut and simultaneously bend the coil to be the same length as the smaller book.  The crimping tool I happened to have because I saved one that would have otherwise been thrown away due to wear and tear.

The final product is a mini version of the original.  It is now a 5.5″ x 8.5″ tablet-style book with 54 sheets of blank graph paper.  I spent nothing for the book but would have spent close to $5 to have one custom made at the print shop I worked at, or I could have found a similar one for a buck or two at a store.  It took me less than 10 minutes to make the book (3 minutes to find the original book).  During the time making the book, I was able to tell my wife all about my first week of class and the different projects I’m working on, including this BLOG.  I did not use all the materials from the original book, but I did save them in my craft drawer for future projects.  The only thing I threw away was the tiny piece of plastic that I had cut off from the original spine.  But then again, I missed the trashcan and my dog had quickly swallowed it up thinking it was food.

2016-08-29 20.42.20
my custom hand-crafted sketchbook

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