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Bookbinding Sewing Cradle Tutorial

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Bookbinding Sewing Cradle Tutorial

A friend recently asked me to make new sides for her sewing cradle. I decided just to make another sewing cradle and give the instructions here.

You'll need:
2 pieces of book board that will form the main body of the cradle. Shown here are two 13"x 4.5" (33 x 11.4 cm) pieces.

8 pieces of book board about 3"(7.5cm) long x .5"(1.3 cm) wide. These will form the supports on the "legs" that will hold up the cradle..

2 pieces of book board for the legs/ends. The pieces here are 3.5" (9cm) high x 6"(15.2 cm) wide for a 13" (33cm) long cradle.

And you'll need 2 strips of book cloth that are about 3.5-4" (9 to 11.5 cm) wide and slightly longer than the length of your cradle.

1. Measure approximately 1" down and 1" in from each end. Mark a slit that is as wide as the thickness of your book board. It should exactly match the placement on the other board, but be a mirror image. See photo. If necessary, err on the side of making the slit too narrow--you can always use an emory board later to enlarge it. 

2. On each of the smaller end boards, mark a 45 degree "V" in the middle. Do this on both sides, and on both sides of the other board this size. I find a small quilting ruler to be quite useful for this.

3. Carefully glue each small side support piece along the sides of the 45 degree Vs you just made. They will meet just at their tips on the bottom, as in the photo.  They won't reach all the way to the top--don't worry about that. Do this on all 4 sides. Put aside to dry.

4. Join the two main cradle pieces by gluing a book cloth strip down the center, as shown (the book cloth is on the underside in the photo). Leave 2 board thicknesses space in the middle.

5. Do the same on the other side. The book board will be sandwiched between the book cloth. It's fine for the book cloth to hang off the ends. You'll trim it after it's dry. Put it aside under weight to dry.

6. After drying, trim the extra cloth off the ends and trim open the slits:
The book cloth isn't exactly centered here because I was ditzy.
It won't be elegant, but it will work.

7. Using your bone folder, you can score down the middle of each side to neaten the joint in the bookcloth.

8. Slide each slit over an end piece/leg. Use an emory board or trim slightly to enlarge the slit if necessary (but be cautious--it should fit snugly). The V-shaped supports will hold up the cradle.

Your finished item will look something like this. You can take it apart for storage and travel.

I've made a couple of these for my own use. One is smaller than the other. That's the one I tend to use most, since I like to make small books.

Punch those sections with confidence.

This is my favorite hole punching tool--a pin vise. These actually come with different kinds of handles, including some that look like craft knives. You can attach a needle on the end of it, for nice holes that are smaller than those made with an awl.

Now doesn't that look delightfully menacing?

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Anonymous Elephant's Child said...

Oh Wow.  Nice clear instructions and a useful finished product.  You are right about that Pin Vise though - scary looking.  A dentist I had as a child used to delight in telling me as she probed painfully in my mouth 'Your father made/designed this for me dear'.  As a result I would come home hating her AND my father.

Friday, May 20, 2011  
Anonymous Paper Chipmunk said...

Thanks. I figure most of my bookie friends will likely already have one, but I figure someone might find it useful. 

That's such a sinister tale of childhood trauma. Oh dear! I suppose you developed a lifelong dental phobia from this?

I've thought of actually making a post about gory studio accidents. Knock wood, nothing major yet with the pin vise, but the scalpel... tsk. There's a reason I keep boxes of bandages handy both in there and in the kitchen. (Do you call them bandages in Australia? Or are they plasters like in the UK? Or something else?)

Good luck tomorrow!!

Friday, May 20, 2011  
Anonymous Anna Mavromatis said...

I love this!
I don't have one, and I will definitely make one following your amazing instructions. Thank you!!!

Friday, May 20, 2011  
Anonymous Elephant's Child said...

 Yup.  Not real fond of dentists.  And I hope there is a special hell for that one.  When she drilled out a nerve (I was about ten) and a tear formed in my eye (didn't fall you understand, just glistened) she slapped me.  Grrr.

I would be interested in your injuries post.  Bandages are for BIG injuries here, and bandaid for things like paper cuts and the like.  Isn't language a wonderful thing!

Friday, May 20, 2011  
Anonymous Paper Chipmunk said...

That's such a shocking story about the dentist! My God--don't know about Australia, but nowadays here an abusive "professional" like that would wind up in jail, and probably in the newspaper too. At least I would hope. The hell she winds up in should include lots of drilling into open tooth nerves. What an abusive sadist!

We say bandaid too--actually, probably more than bandage. I think "bandage" does generally conjure up visions of more serious mayhem, even if it is used interchangeably with bandaid. Hmm...maybe I *will* do a post about the dangers of playing with scalpels... ;-)

I'll be thinking of you, hoping the shift isn't as bad as feared, and that maybe you'll even get something rewarding out of it (?). Turning off the ringer... can't be overpraised. Sigh...

Friday, May 20, 2011  
Anonymous Paper Chipmunk said...

Anna, that makes me so happy! I do hope you make one! I love my cradles. Thanks so much.

Friday, May 20, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dam! That dentist sounds like Little Shop of Horrors level sadist for sure. I had a dentist, just a couple years back, that my Insurance assigned.. he found out I am ultra-sensitive to that air machine that dries dental filling, and he kept shooting me in the face to startle me! He had sadistic fun watching my shaken nervous reaction, because it's automatic. He knew I had panic disorder then from a thyroid issue, but f-'d with me just the same.

Needless to say, I switched dentists.

Sure, a post about horried accidents would be interesting. DO IT!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011  
Blogger Paper Chipmunk said...

Hi Spectrum Woman,

And I thought it was mostly neurologists who were sadistic! Geez... what a [expletive of choice]. Ok... I guess the scalpel uh-ohs will have to get added to the list of posts in the works . . . heh . . .

Thanks for the comment, and for stopping by! Just to let you know, this blog is in the process of moving. The new address is The official launch will be announced here soon in a new post. I hope you'll join me over there. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011  

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