Delia and I were out shopping at the amazing Portland shop Oblation Papers and Press which sells letter press cards, ribbons, paper, fountain pens, vintage typewriters, and all sorts of goodness, and she fell in love with a very small leather book on a necklace. It was about $50, and I told her we could make one. And we did. It was really important to her that it was a real book—with signatures and everything (she has started more complex bookbinding on her own) and I assured her we could do it.
This is just one sheet of 9" x 12" newsprint folded and cut until it made 4 signatures.
I pinched them together and marked where to pierce the holes.
This newsprint is so thin the holes were easily made with a push-pin.
Then I started sewing. I didn't really worry about a formal stitch, it's neither a long-stitch, nor a coptic, kind of a made-up hybrid of the two.
Then I clamped it together and glued the spine with PVA. This is showing two books, one not glued and one glued.
I used thin scrap leather to make the case. I was making two books here.
To case it it after the spine dried, I used a permanent bond glue stick on the first and last page—gluing it straight to the leather. Using parchment paper in between kept the excess glue away from the rest of the pages. This is a super important step. That's it for gluing. You don't glue the spine of signatures to the leather, just the front and back papers.
After the leather case was on and dry, I pierced the top with an awl to attach a jump ring.
I found these great brass jump rings that look a bit distressed. I closed it up and then I slid it on a chain.
She loves it! I made two more for her sisters. They are surprisingly fast to make, I think because the glue dries fast and there is no pressing, so I could make these in about an hour. I know I could have made these much more simply with an accordion folded paper inside, and not bother with the whole sewing, but I loved the idea of making the mini book just as I would a normal sized one (pretty much) and they loved seeing it come together. I didn't look for any tutorials for this. I felt comfortable just making it, but I suspect if these directions are too vague there are probably clearer tutorials out there that would show a more detailed step-by-step.
I don't measure or plan all that much when I make books this way. I let the folded paper dictate the finished size and then make the case slightly bigger. It all comes to life on its own. It's so magical—and all from just one sheet of paper and a little scrap of leather!