Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How To: Book Cloth

I've been putting off a project lately . . . because it's for me. The only down side to selling stuff I make, is that I definitely put off the projects for me now. I've had a project lingering for far too long (more on that tomorrow) but decided today that I need to finish it by tomorrow. Nothing like a deadline to kick things into gear. I think the main thing I was putting off was making the book cloth from fabric that I wanted to use. Well, I just made it and forgot just how fast and easy it is. (Note to self: book cloth is no longer an acceptable excuse for procrastination.)

I thought I'd share how I learned to make book cloth. If you make it another way, or have some tips, please let me know in the comments!

Step 1: Mix up some wheat paste. This is available in any art supply store and is super easy to mix up, just follow the instructions on the bottle. It will be a yogurt-like consistency when it's ready.
Step 2: Cut your fabric to the desired size and press crisply. I find it easier to make smooth, bubble-free book cloth with smaller pieces, so I cut the fabric to the size I need for my project.

Step 3: Cut your paper down to the same size as the fabric. For paper, you want to get a really thin, but strong paper. Kozo paper is very fine, yet very sturdy. I hate to use the phrase rice paper, since that's for egg rolls, but think of that when picking paper. (If you're in Providence, the RISD store has the best paper selection in town.)

Step 4: Lay your fabric face down on a smooth surface, check to make sure you have no stray fiber bits on the back and saturate with water using a spritz bottle.

Step 5: Using a brush, coat the fabric with the wheat paste. Make sure it's smooth and not gloppy in any one area.

Step 6: Lay the Kozo paper down on top carefully and press down firmly. I press starting from the center and work out to the edges. Make sure there are no bubbles anywhere.

Step 7: Blot out the excess water with newsprint.

Step 8: Hang or lie flat to dry. I put them on the window.

It should take about a day to dry. Check back tomorrow to see what I use it for!


  1. This is a great how-to, thanks for sharing! I can't wait to see what you do with that fun cloth!

  2. That's awesome, Kristin! Thanks for sharing. Something else for the list of "things to do when I have time." :)

  3. Thanks for sharing... very interesting :))