Make Your Own Woven Mini Book

Combine the art of weaving and bookbinding with easy-to-follow DIY steps from Adventures in Bookbinding. These beautiful woven books are perfect for storing memories and keepsakes for years to come.

Woven book, Adventures in Bookbinding

These woven mini book covers were created on a Schacht mini loom, a small, affordable, plastic loom that’s great for beginners or small projects. Because of its size (about 7″ x 81⁄2″ [17.8 x 21.6 cm]), projects can be made up quickly but with countless variations. For the weft (threads woven horizontally), I experimented with pieces from my yarn and fiber stash. For the warp (lengthwise threads), I used hemp, strong cotton yarn, and jewelry cording. Warp threads should be sturdy and strong and fairly thin; they should not stretch very much when pulled.

You can make a simple loom by cutting small, evenly spaced grooves into two sides of a sturdy piece of cardboard or book board and then wrapping the warp threads around the board and weaving weft threads with a weaving needle or small shuttle.

Weaving with heavier yarns or fabric strips, plus compressing the threads tightly with the beater, makes for sturdy covers that hold up to use.

For the featured project (shown at center) weft threads included hand-spun wool, acrylic chenille, a thick mesh ribbon yarn, and chunky wool. Hemp cording was used for the warp.

Of the two other books shown, the one at left was made with hand-spun fabric rag yarn for the weft and jewelry cording for the warp, which created a solid, robust cover. The one at right was made with more lightweight yarns for the warp and weft.

Both covers made with yarn were woven using a plain weave, which is done by taking the weft thread over one warp thread, under the next, over the next, and repeated row after row. This is the most fundamental weave, but experimenting with weave patterns is a great creative challenge.

This book’s binding is a simple one-signature stick binding in which the signature is sewn through the cover and around a stick. Adding more sticks and signatures for larger books is easy, since each signature is sewn independently.

Woven book materials, Adventures in Bookbinding

COVER MATERIALS

  • 20 yards (18.2 m) of 20-lb. natural hemp cording
  • various thick or chunky yarns in different colors— several yards (meters) of each (Thinner or more lightweight yarns or fibers may be used as well but should not make up much of the fabric.)

TOOLS

  • Basic Tool Kit, page 12
  • Schacht mini loom or comparable small loom
  • small shuttles for weaving the fibers through the warp threads (these come with the Schact mini loom or can be purchased separately)
  • beater (a comblike tool that compresses the weft threads)
  • weaving needle
  • large yarn needle
  • two small safety pins

TEXT BLOCK MATERIALS

  • seventeen 6 1⁄2″ x 5 1⁄4″ (16.5 x 13.3 cm) pieces of Ingres paper, folded in half lengthwise and nested into one signature (Reserve one folded page for the signature-punching template.)

  • one 51⁄2″ to 61⁄2″ (14 to 16.5 cm) piece of driftwood or dried twig

  • 21″ (53.3 cm) of four-cord waxed linen thread

  • 26 large-hole beads, about 8 to 10 mm

  • one small seashell with a hole drilled into the top (optional)

  • invisible thread (optional)

    PREPARE THE COVER

    Cover A, Adventures in BookbindingWind the warp threads all the way around the loom.

{ 1 } To set up the warp threads, tie one end of the hemp cording to the hole on the left side of the loom, making sure it’s secure (if using a handmade loom, secure the cording somewhere on the side, out of the way of the weaving). Wind the cording around the entire loom so there are two strands between each peg and 40 strands total going across the loom. Keep the cording as taut as possible (See A). Tie the end of the cording tightly around the hole on the right side of the loom. Although this is different from how warp threads are usually set up on this loom (they are typically wound around the pegs), this allows for a piece to be woven the entire length of the loom and still have a substantial fringe.

Cover B, Adventures in BookbindingWeave in an under-one, over-one pattern.

{ 2 } Wind about 3 yards (2.7m)ofyarn around one of the shuttles, leaving about 24″ (61 cm) of yarn free. Starting on the bottom on either side of the loom, begin to weave with the shuttle in an underone, over-one pattern. Leave about a 6″ (15.2 cm) yarn tail (See B). At the next row, go under the first warp thread and then continue the over-under pattern. When weaving into a new row, pull the weft thread at a slight diagonal (See C). When the weft thread is woven all the way through, pack the threads tightly with the beater (See D). Make sure the yarn is not wound around the first warp thread too tightly, or it will pull the fabric in, making the edges uneven.

Cover C, Adventures in BookbindingWeave with the shuttle at a diagonal so the threads are not too tight.

{ 3 } Continue this pattern until a few rows have been woven. To change weft threads, weave partway through a row and then cut the working weft thread, leaving an 8″ (20.3 cm) tail. Overlap the new weft thread over the old in the same over-under pattern, leaving an 8″ (20.3 cm) tail. Continue to weave the rest of the row (See E). Change weft threads as often as you like, but keep in mind that only about 3 1⁄2″ to 4″ (8.9 to 10.2 cm) of the fabric will show on each side when the book cover is folded.

Cover D, Adventures in Bookbinding

Pack each row down with the beater.

{ 4 } As you get near the top of the loom the warp threads will get tighter, the space will narrow, and it will be more dif- ficult to get the shuttle through the warp threads. At that point, continue to weave with the weaving needle.

 Cover E, Adventures in BookbindingLeave long thread tails when ending and adding weft threads.

{ 5 } When the entire piece is woven, weave in the loose ends with the yarn needle and trim on the underside of the piece.

Cover F, Adventures in BookbindingCut the threads to remove the weaving.

{ 6 } Cut the threads in the middle of the back of the loom with scissors (See F). Carefully remove the piece from the loom. Lace three strands of the warp threads through a large-hole bead and make an overhand knot as close to the bead as possible, and continue across (since there are 40 warp threads, one of the beads will have four strands through it) (See G). Trim the fringe to about 1⁄2″ (1.3 cm). Repeat the beading and knotting on the other side.

Cover G, Adventures in BookbindingUse large beads to finish the warp threads and create fringe.

BIND THE BOOK

{ 1 } Onthesignature-punchingtem- plate, make a mark3⁄4″, 258″, and 41⁄2″ (1.9, 6.7, and 11.4 cm) from the top next to the fold. Unfold the template, carry the marks across the fold, and refold it the other way, so the marks are on the inside. Place the template inside the signature and punch holes at the marks on the fold. Remove the template.

Adventures in Bookbinding

{ 2 } Measurethewidthofthecoverand mark the spine location at the center on the top and bottom outside edge with safety pins. Place the signature inside the cover and center it, using the pins as a guide. Thread the binding needle with 21″ (53.3 cm) of waxed linen thread.

Cover I, Adventures in Bookbinding

{ 3 } Enter the bottom hole of the signature from the inside and exit through the cover, leaving a 6″ (15.2 cm) tail. Make sure the thread comes out at the midpoint of the spine. Pick up the driftwood or stick and place it along the midpoint. Wrap the thread three times around the driftwood tightly, keeping the threads close together (the illustration shows them H apart) (See H). Enter the cover as close as possible to where the thread exited and go back through the signature at the bottom hole. Tighten the thread by pulling the tail and main thread gently in opposite directions but parallel to the spine.

Cover J, Adventures in Bookbinding

{ 4 } Enter the middle hole from the inside, wrap around the driftwood three times, keeping threads tight, and enter the cover and signature from the outside (See I). Enter the top hole from the inside, exit, wrap around the driftwood three times, and enter the cover and sig- nature from the outside. Slip the thread under the last stitch until a loop forms, bring the needle through the loop, and pull toward the head of the book (See J). Repeat once more and trim the thread to 1⁄4″ (6 mm). Rethread the tail thread onto the binding needle and knot the thread in the same way at the first stitch, pulling the thread toward the tail of the book when knotting.

{ 5 } Attach a small seashell to the front of the book with invisible thread.

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Adventures in bookbinding

Explore intriguing methods of combining bookbinding with specific crafts such as quilting, jewelry making, or polymer clay with Adventures in Bookbinding! With different levels of expertise including basic, novice, and expert, this book is filled with illustrated step-by-step instructions and photographs that demonstrate how to construct the cover pages, create unique bindings, and much more with a diverse range of media.

From a needle-felted journal to a quilted workbook (and many more), each project also features two other versions with the same binding geared to those with more or less experience.  The novice version is for those who have no knowledge of the craft and want shortcuts, but love the look. The expert version is for those who have a great deal of knowledge and proficiency of a certain craft—the master art quilter, for example.  For this version, an expert guest artist has created the cover and the author has created the binding.  This offers yet another creative opportunity: the collaborative project.  If you love getting involved with round-robins and other shared endeavors, this will show you yet another way to combine your skills with other crafters!

Discover endless possibilities and challenges that will forever inspire you with Adventures in Bookbinding!