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Re: [BKARTS] Instructions for "homemade" book cloth sought



On Nov 28, 2006, at 12:45 PM, Phillips, Carrie wrote:

how one can make book cloth from various kinds of fabric,
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I have been making my own book cloth for a number of years. In fact, I have used this homemade book cloth to cover older books because it will easily mold over raised-bands. This cloth can be an attractive alternative to leather where cost is a factor. Some of this information appears in my article "Water Damaged Books: Washing Intact and Air Drying -- A Novel Approach" that was published in the AIC - Book and Paper Group Annual, Vol. 21, 2002.


I use unbleached cotton muslin from TestFabrics in West Pittson, Pennsylvania 717-603-0432. The unbleached cotton fabric, which is available in different weights, has not been treated with any commercial substances that could be a problem for some applications.
Basically, the cloth will be sized and colored with wheat starch paste, methyl cellulose and acrylic paints. A 50/50 mixture of wheat starch and methyl cellulose (A4M: the longer molecule type) is prepared --- note: the methyl cellulose is added to counteract the minor concern about insects being attracted to wheat paste. Golden Liquid Acrylic paints are added to this mixture in proportion that will achieve the desired color. Test samples are prepared and dried with a hair dryer.


Once the desired color is achieved, the fabric is cut to a convenient size (oversize as it will shrink). A sheet of polyester film (Mylar) is also ready. The fabric is positioned on the Mylar and is lightly misted with water. The colored size is applied as uniformly as possible, and the fabric is turned over for a second application to what will eventually be the front. In other words, the colored size is applied to both surfaces to fill the weave of the fabric. Note: the application of the colored size can be tricky in order to achieve a overall uniform color.
The sized fabric is allowed to air-dry, flat on the Mylar.
An alternative is to face the cloth with Japanese paper, and then size/color that paper in the same manner as described above. The result is a fabric that can be textured to simulate the early publisher's book cloth that resembled leather.


Bill Minter


William Minter Bookbinding & Conservation, Inc. 4364 Woodbury Pike Woodbury, PA 16695 814-793-4020 Fax: 814-793-4045 Email: wminter@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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