Friday, December 27, 2013

How to Use a Beautiful Old Binding to Cover a New Book

Old Binding on New BookThey say "everything old is new again". While that's not exactly factual, it is true that many old things can be refurbished, recycled or upcycled.

December 1st marked the beginning of Advent and a new liturgical year for many Christian religions. When I was a child, I received my grown-up missal when I was Confirmed. It is a beautiful leather-bound book with tassels to hold one's place and pages edged in gold leaf. It served for all three liturgical cycles which rotate each year.

Nowadays, we use paperback missals specific to each year. They contain all the same material and are easier to follow, but they lack that certain je ne sais quoi that signals "this is a holy book" and should be treated with respect and reverence.

So I thought, why not use the leather book cover and tassels from my well-worn missal to dress up each year's paperback version? I've done this for three years now, but it just occurred to me to pass the idea on.

How to Use a Beautiful Old Binding to Cover a New Book

Old Binding on New Book removed the old missal pages from the leather binding.

Old Binding on New BookThe newer paperback version is thinner than the original missal. I found another paperback with the same footprint to add the necessary thickness. I stacked the paperback missal on top and used glue stick to adhere the back cover of the missal to the front cover of the other book.

Old Binding on New BookThe book was literally held together by tape and the front endpaper was severely damaged.

Old Binding on New BookI found this beautiful scrapbooking paper to cover the endpapers and also secure the pages into the binding. It's exactly the same color as the original endpaper and has a worn vintage appearance. Kismet!

I love how that turned out (see top photo). Finally I gold-leafed the edges of the pages and glued the new insert to the flyleaves of the front and back endpapers..
Old Binding on New BookI touched up scuffed areas of the leather binding and waxed the leather. But some clues to its age remain.

The original missal was 57 years old.


jinxxxygirl said...

HOw wonderful is that! Was it difficult to gold-leaf the edges of the paper? I just finished some 'upcycling ' of my own! Hope everything is well with you Eileen!And thankyou so very much for the Christmas card! Hugs! deb

Eileen Bergen said...

Hi Deb,

The gilt edge is s bit tricky. I should have taken pictures and honestly I did have some problems.

The keys seems to be clamping the pages very tightly and sealing the edges well before painting or gilding.

If the pages are uneven or ragged, it's also important to sand and buff them to a smooth surface.

I've read you use actually paint and draw designs on the edges. I had gold leaf on hand so used that.

You know me. I'll try anything once ;-)


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