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[BKARTS] Black Cloth Tests

A few weeks ago we had a discussion about the problems with black book
cloth. Problems ranged from the cloth being easily scuffed to
attracting lots of lint and dust. I was very concerned about this issue
since most of my artist books for some reason turn out to have black
covers. I did a bit of experimenting and here's what I found.

I tested two different black cloths. First, the standard Iris rayon
cloth and the second cloth is a 100% cotton Japanese book cloth that I
prefer over Iris because it is a softer finish with a larger weave.

I made three test dummy covers of .98 binders board for each cloth. #1
test cloth is the cloth as is. #2 test cloth is coated with Krylon
Clear Matte Finish Acrylic spray. #3 test cloth is coated with
Scotchguard fabric protector spray. For all tests I sprayed the cut
cloth and let dry before covering the board using a 50/50 mix of
PVA/methyl cellulose.


The Iris cloth attracts significantly less "junk" (lint, dust, dog hair
etc). I had the covers lying around my studio for several weeks and I
also rubbed them over my white dog hair laden living room carpeting
before vacuuming one day. (P.S. Don't get a white dog is your have
black rugs and like to make black books!) I would guess that the Iris
cloth attracts about 1/4 of the junk compared to the cotton cloth.

The use of either of the two spray coatings had no affect on the junk
attractiveness of the cloth. All cloths whether spray coated or not
attracted about the same amount of junk.

As for scuffing, I scratched each cover with my fingernail and also
scratched each board with the end of a bone folder. Scuffs and
scratches were about equally noticeable on both cloths. The spray
coated cloths showed about the same scratches as the uncoated cloth.

So, there you have my very unscientific black cloth testing. Just in
case you were wondering, I did not test for water or moisture
protection. If my books get wet I've got bigger problems than a bit of
dog hair.

Have a good day,


Laura Russell
Bellingham, WA (soon to be Portland, OR!)


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