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Re: Place to start...?

Try 'Hand Made Books' by Rob Shepherd. I can't give you an ISBN because I
just borrow it from the library every few weeks. It tells you enough to
start from scratch with reasonable confidence, and to give you an appetite
to do more.

Last Christmas I decided to produce a cookbook of 'family favourite
recipes'. My sons chose the recipes and typed them, and I did the lay out,
printing and binding, The little book ran to about 28 pages, laser printed
and then photocopied. It was case bound, using mounting board, which is
probably a little too lightweight, but worked fine as the book was so small
(about 3/4 the size of a standard paperback). I stitched it, glued the
spine, lined it with a stiffened webbing, made marbled paper for the
endpapers, printed the cover design on bright red craft paper, (that was
tricky, working out positioning and allowing for 'stretch' when the paper
was pasted). I also bought some brightly coloured tape... bother, can't
remember the right name for it, the stuff that sits at the top of the
spine... and some coloured ribbon for a bookmark.

I have no specialist equipment. I made a press by drilling four holes in two
pieces of plastic veneered board and buying some bolts to put through.
Otherwise, I cut up newspaper, bought some siliconised baking parchment and
found my old craft knives and cutting board at the back of a cupboard.

The printed text was embellished with hand written comments, explaining why
the recipes worked for us, and my sons wrote a spoof 'blurb' for the back
cover. Apart from that, we didn't work too hard to 'personalise' it. Our
taste in recipes is weird enough to make it completely unique.

I used PVA glue, and only the spine ribbon (what do you call that stuff?)
came from a specialist supplier. I'd imagine you could find something
suitable in any haberdashers, if you didn't have access to the exact thing.

All in all, we made twelve copies, and probably spent around 12 hours on the
'handcrafts' side of it. I was very pleased with the result, and quite proud
to wrap them up and give them to people. I didn't keep one myself, so have
no idea how they've stood up to life in the kitchen. Being English, my
friends and family didn't enthuse much. I would imagine if I'd given the
books to American friends, as I have in the past with bound versions of
their own stories and the like, I'd have been overwhelmed with appreciation.

As for copyright of the recipes, I didn't worry too much, since they were
all things we'd cooked so many times, we'd adapted them pretty substantially
over the years, if we hadn't made them up ourselves to start with. But I
don't *know* what the legal situation is. I'd have been a lot more careful
if I was selling the book.

Best of luck if you do try it. It was great fun, and I'd repeat it if I
could think of another idea to bind. I've considered birthday books, address
books, diaries, but I liked your idea of coupons for favours.




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