Creating Grandma Hopper’s cookbook collection was a bit of an in-depth process. I wanted the books to look classic and colorful (and be copyright free!) I used archive.org, especially the Cornell University Library collection to create the book images. I imported each book cover into Photoshop, re-sized it, removed any stray bits I didn’t want (such as library bar code stickers) and added a spine to give the books some thickness.
The image is sized to print on 8-1/2″ x 11″ paper. I honestly don’t know how it would print on A4 sized paper. Give it a try and let me know? Anyway, make sure that you print on nice cardstock (I used 65 lb. weight, bright white. I think a linen-textured paper could also be lovely.) And print using your printer’s highest settings. My printer is a total crap basic inkjet that I believe we got for free bundled with a desktop computer we don’t even have anymore. It’s probably nearly 10 years old at this point. Anyway, even on my cheapo printer, it printed pretty well at high quality.
Before I get to the actual tutorial, I’d like to mention something I didn’t do when I made my books but should probably do in the future. It is recommended that you should spray your printed image with an acrylic spray fixative before cutting or handling it. I don’t know much about the various types available, but after having done this project, I would definitely add this step in the future. Each time I’ve handled my books, both while making them, and after, they have left ink smudges on my fingers. So far I have not noticed any additional ink transfer between books or from my hands to other surfaces, but that may happen over time. I may be able to spray the completed projects, but I think doing so earlier in the process would be much easier.
Onto the tutorial!
- Print out the image on high quality cardstock using the best setting on your printer.
- Roughly cut out the book image(s)
- With sharp, small scissors, carefully cut around the image, as close to the images as possible.
- Run a marker with similar colors to your cover along the cut edges of the book. It’s a minor thing, but making the white edges a matching color really increases the realism of your books.
- Using a colored pencil, color the reverse side of the book with the color of your choice. This creates an effective endpaper look and also helps to disguise that it’s just plain cardstock.
- With the printed side up, use a ruler and a narrow tool to create tiny parallel creases at each side of the book’s spine. I used a piercing tool for this step. I found that even the blunt side of an Xacto blade cut into the cardstock too much. A ball stylus may also be a good solution. Some of the book printies have very narrow spines. I recommend still making two parallel creases to help reduce the cardstock cracking when you fold it.
- Carefully fold your book on the crease lines. Try to fold the creases to 90 degrees, not fully in half. If you fold fully in half, your cardstock will crack.
- Cut several pieces of cardstock or other paper into pieces slightly smaller than your book cover. Cut enough so that they will “fill” the space created by the book’s spine.
- Glue the filler pieces together. I use a liquid glue for paper, but glue stick would probably also be okay.
- Open up your book. Apply glue to the back cover. (I use this Tombow liquid glue. It dries quickly and I like the precision tip.) Place your filler paper unit into the cover, making sure to leave the spine free so that the book can be closed.
- Place some glue on top of the filler paper, then close and hold the book until the glue engages. If your glue takes a long time to dry, you may be able to keep it closed with a binder clip. But the Tombow takes only about 10 seconds to bond.
- Your book is now done. Repeat 49 more times for the complete 50-book collection. 🙂