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Re: [BKARTS] Scroll case instructions

Here are my scroll case instructions for all interested. They are based on a scroll case I made while I was studying at Camberwell in London. You can make it in any shape (ovoid, rectangular with rounded corners -- depending on the mold you use, I used PVC plumbing pipe. Gook luck! -- Mindy



·     decorative paper for the inside lining of the case (will probably need one sheet to line both top and bottom pieces)
·     paper for constructing the core of the scroll case (Arches text or other heavy, but soft paper. Two sheets of the Arches was required for a 12” x 2” case)
·     covering material for the outside of the scroll case (pared leather, paper, cloth)
·     Museum board or binders board for the ends of the case
·     An armature or form to make the case around, for a scroll case use a piece of PVC pipe that is several inches longer than you want your case to be. For a square box, use a piece of wood or some binder’s board
·     wax paper
·     wheat starch paste
·     PVA glue and methylcellulose
·     sandpaper
·     heavy Olfa or mat knife and blades 
·     pliers (optional)
·     bone or Teflon folder
·     for almanach – brass paper fasteners


The scroll case almanac box is made in one piece, formed from paper around a form or armature. It can be made around a cylindrical armature or you can construct a square or rectangular armature made out of binder’s board or wood. After the case is dry, it will be necessary to partially cut through the case to release the top part. If you are making the case to fit a particular scroll or item, remember that you will be constructing the case about 1” larger than the finished piece will be, as you will be trimming both ends. Choose an armature that is at least 2” longer than the finished case will be, as you need some extra material to hold on to while you are working. If you get confused at Layer 4, keep in mind that whatever you do to the bottom of the box, you have to compensate for on the top. 

Layer 1: Line the pipe by attaching a piece of wax paper tightly around the PVC pipe with Scotch tape

Layer 2: To attach the inside decorative lining, wrap one layer of your decorative lining paper around the pipe, with the pattern or front of the paper facing the pipe. Paste or glue the paper to itself with a 1/8”-1/4” overlap. Pare the edges of the paper if necessary so you won’t have bumps to sand down later.

Layer 3: This is the first layer of the core. Measure and cut enough paper to wrap around your pipe six times. Wet it out with a sponge and paste the sheet out. You want the paper to be wet and expanded so that it wrap smoothly around the pipe and not create air bubbles or distortion. You will be grateful for this effort later as the results will be more pleasing. Slowly and carefully wrap the pasted paper around the armature rubbing it and smoothing out any air bubbles and trying to keep the layers flush at the bottom end of the case. When joining pieces, tear the sheets, use the deckle or just butt the ends up to each other. This will reduce the amount of bumps that you will have to sand off later.

Layer 4: This is the spacer layer that will separate the solid bottom of the case from the loose top.  Determine where you want the top of the case to begin (around the center or two-thirds up from the bottom) and make a pencil line around the core at that point. Make a jig or record your measurement in your notebook, you will need it later when you cut the case.  For the spacer layer, use the same paper you used for the core. Cut a piece that is the height of core paper and wide enough to wrap around the core two times. Cut the paper in two pieces corresponding to the dividing line you drew on your case. Wet and paste the paper for the bottom of the case and wrap it around the bottom of the case lining it up to the pencil line. Then wrap the top of the case with one layer of wax paper and wrap the top half of the paper around itself without pasting it onto the case. It only gets pasted onto itself, as this is the spacer that will allow the top of the case to slide on and off easily. 

Layer 5: This is the layer of decorative paper for the inside of the top of the case. It needs a compensating layer pasted onto the bottom part of the box. For the top, glue or paste on layer of decorative paper to itself, facing in. Just overlap it 1/8” – ¼”. Carefully slide the top of the case up the core 1/8-1/4”. This will leave a space that will make it easier for you to see when it is time to separate the top and bottom of the case.

Layer 6: Paste six more layers of core paper around the entire case as you did in Layer 3. Let the case completely dry at this time.


Mark with a pencil a line around both ends of the case where you want to trim. You can wrap a thick piece of paper tightly around the case at your pencil line and use it as a ruler to make your lines straight. Using a sharp knife or scalpel carefully cut along your markings. To get my cut going straight, I usually cut against a thick piece of plastic or cardstock for the first cut and do the rest freehand.

Using the jig you made and noticing the space you left, mark a line around the case at the point where you will separate the top and bottom of the case. Carefully cut through this area until you feel the top release. Don’t pull it off at this point, leaving the spacer paper in will help with sanding.


Each end of the scroll case is made from two pieces of binder’s or Museum board. The round pieces can be traced from the outside of the scroll case and cut with a scissors and sanded. One piece will fit inside the case and the other will cover the outside of the case (like a plug). The inside parts of the ends must be covered with the same decorative paper that the scroll case was lined with. After the ends are cut and covered they can be glued to the ends of the case with PVA.  

·     sand the case
·     check the spacing/drag between the top and bottom and adjust appropriately
·     cover or decorate

Sanding: The entire scroll case must be sanded smooth. Pay particular attention to the ends, which can be rounded slightly to your taste. The top end gives a chance for design. Additional board or wood can be added before covering to create a sculpted top. 

Adjusting the spacing: The space you left between the top and bottom of the case when creating the case may need to be adjusted. It could be either too tight or too loose. You want the top of your case to slide on easily but not be too loose as to fall off. If it is too tight, sand down the inner part of the scroll. If it is too loose select an appropriate paper and cover the inner part of the top of the scroll with an addition layer or two.

Covering: Your scroll case can be covered with paper, cloth and/or leather; or, if you made your case out of nice materials, it can be decorated with paint and other art materials without covering. If you will not be covering the case, you may need to add an additional layer of paper where the two parts come together so that your lid isn’t too loose. The case is covered in several pieces depending on the type of material you use to cover it. My preference has been to cover the top and bottom with leather and also put strips of pared leather where the two pieces come together. I make thin strips and cover the sides first, leaving an overlap onto the ends that I fill in or sand and then cut round pieces for the ends. If you bevel or pare the edges, they will blend in. 

·     Bevel or sand the edges of all materials so that the seams will not be obvious. If you use leather, pare it very thinly allover and edge-pare or bevel the ends. Cut the ends on a diagonal and the ends will not show. Pare or sand the edges of heavy covering paper so that they will disappear. 
·     Carefully measure all materials before gluing them down.  

-----Original Message-----
From: Book_Arts-L [mailto:BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Maurene Fritz/Yehuda Miklaf
Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2004 10:44 AM
To: BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [BKARTS] Scroll cases

Does anyone out there make scroll cases? I am trying to find a source of
tubing in sizes that telescope into each other just enough to allow for
covering materials.

I have tried making my own tubing by wrapping PVC drain pipe in release
paper and then covering it with layers of acid-free paper. I wet the paper
first, paste it out and then roll it tightly over the pipe. Three layers
gives quite a solid tube. However, it's bit time-consuming and tends to take
things over budget.

Yehuda Miklaf


 MDE - Innovation 2004: An International Bookbinding Design Competition
                       60,000 Euro in total prizes
              Full information at <http://www.mde2004.org/>
            E N T R Y  D E A D L I N E  -- J U N E 1, 2 0 0 4

        See the Book_Arts-L FAQ at: <http://www.philobiblon.com>

 MDE - Innovation 2004: An International Bookbinding Design Competition
                       60,000 Euro in total prizes
              Full information at <http://www.mde2004.org/>
            E N T R Y  D E A D L I N E  -- J U N E 1, 2 0 0 4
        See the Book_Arts-L FAQ at: <http://www.philobiblon.com>

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