Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Miniature Aged Spellbook - Tutorial

Miniature Aged Spellbook

I've been working on making some books for a roombox scene and thought maybe I should actually post a little something about the process I'm using in case anyone else wants to try it out. Above is the finished product, a book I made just for this tutorial - larger than my other books for photography's sake as I don't know where my macro lenses are.

A magazine that is glued - not stapled and the thickness you want.
A ruler
An Xacto knife
Tacky Glue
A clothespin or something to hold the book shut
Paint (various shades of brown and black and gold)
Material of some sort (I used a black kitchen clothe that had nice texture)
Cosmetic sponge
Paint brushes
A candle
A lighter
A crafters cutting board
Cardstock in any colour
Toothpick or something to spread glue
Gamer ink
Wood glue/cement

Grab your magazine, ruler (I recommend a metal one), Xacto knife and cutting board. Instead of making "signatures" and doing proper bookbinding, we're cheating. We're using the magazines already glued binding for the inside of our spell book. This does mean, however, that the pages won't be blank inside. If you need blank inside pages and still want to cheat - get yourself a notepad. The kind you rip the pages off and is glued at the top. 

Using your Xacto knife (and ruler for straight edge), start scoring the pages of the magazine at the size you want your largest book to be. Remember that these are the inside pages and the cover will be a little larger. It will take a while if you're using a smaller knife like the one I have pictured - if you have a blade that has a large flat base, it will go by much quicker. I was dumb and didn't take a picture of that one, though.

Next, you're going to decide how tall you want your book pages to be and start scoring those pages out. The pages can get everywhere!

Then you've got your completed detached inside binding pages. Much quicker than making signatures and binding them and doing it by hand.

What I do next is take the "book" and line it up on some card stock. This card stock will be the base for the cover of the book. Leave a little on the top, bottom and each edge. 

Then, using the magazine as a guide I mark the spine - it is VERY important to leave space in the spine on either side when marking the book so that it has space to bend, you're not just marking the magazine tight against the spine here - just leave a teeny bit of space. Then finish on the other side.

Take the ruler, using your lines as a guide and bend along the lines of the spine to create your cover.

 It will look something like this...

What I do next is sort of roll the spine in my fingers to make it take a more rounded shape, like it's been sitting on the shelf for a bit.

Here I've cut out a bit of the dishcloth I want to use and have painted one side (the more textured side) a dark brown. The paint is from Dollarama...nothing special going on there.

Using Tacky Glue and a toothpick, I spread glue on each cover of the card stock but not the spine.

Place the cardstock on the non-painted side of the dishcloth and patiently wait for it to dry. I put some weight on it while I waited as I was afraid it might curl - you may want to do the same. 

Once dry, I cut the dishcloth like so - make sure you cut the spots at the spine - I found it helps with the overall look.

This was a choice I made - and something you may not have on hand - I used wood glue/cement for attaching the dishcloth inner bits to the inside of the cardstock. It dries very quickly and once dry, that stuff is solid. 

After it was glued, it looked like this - yours will probably look neater - hehe

I used the Tacky Glue to glue the magazine into the cover - next time I would probably only use the cement as it dries quicker and stays solid.

Now is when your art skills start to come in. I used about 3 different shades of brown paint (including the base brown) and a cosmetic sponge (shown) to get the paint on. You can go to the dollar store and get a pack of 24 for a buck - no big expense there. What I do when doing an "aged" look is start with the darkest colour and start dry brushing the lighter ones on. So dark brown, lighter brown, tan, etc.

Something I've also done is taken some black paint and a flat paint brush and dry brushed in, on both sides a black line where the spine would start on both sides, sort of exentuating it.

The next part is time consuming, smelly and can sometimes hurt. However - it looks amazing when you're done.

Grab your candle, lighter and incense. Light the candle and the incense. (Please excuse my paint covered fingers) Grabbing small bits of pages as shown with your lit ember incense (use a scent you like because you're going to smell it a lot!), roll and burn the edges of the paper. You're going to have to repeatedly re-light your incense, which is where the candle comes in. Just relight with the candle (rather than the lighter each time). It will take a while. Be careful. I burned myself a couple of times. The things we go through for the love of craft!

Don't let the picture fool you, it's actually a giant clothespin I bought in the craft section of Dollar Tree specifically for this purpose. Once you've burned all the edges of the book paper, your book is NOT going to want to close. Some of you may want and like this look - some of you may not. If you don't, not to fret, simply pin the book. I left mine for an hour or so and it was fine, but I left it overnight anyway just to be sure.

 You can see here how the pages look once the book is closed.

 For the most part, the rest is up to you guys and your own artistic and craftistic expertise! I used so many layers of paint on this, just going over and over with that cosmetic sponge it was crazy pants. Lining the edges with black, then tan, then black again. I also used something called "Gamer Ink" which you can get in hobby stores (I don't know that craft stores carry it, but I could be wrong). It's black and you mix it with water. It really adds to the aged look of the cover of the book.

For the symbol, I just used the alchemical symbol for "steel" and painted it with my teeny tiny (like pin-head tiny) brush in Game Color's "Polished Gold" - again, from a hobby store, not a craft store. I went around the edges of the symbol with some gamer ink and some dry brushed black paint as well. 

And just because I haven't included one so far, here's a picture of the back - nothing special, just wanted to show it as well. 

So have fun with it! Use some different colours! I totally want to try a red and a blue one!

If you've got any questions or if I've left anything out of the tutorial, let me know and I'll be sure to fix/answer. Hope this was useful....never done much in the way of books before, so go easy on me (please! lol)

Thanks everyone!

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