Junkmail Book

This weekend I decided to tackle some shredding and filing that I've been putting off. As I was tearing any bit of distinguishing information off of all the junkmail, I got distracted by the patterns on inside of the security envelopes.

To be honest, it wasn't something I had ever paid attention to, until this entry on Design*Sponge. But, hey, now I see them, and what better way to avoid doing what I really need to do? ("Honey, I think the shredder is broken, could you come take a look? Oh it works? Well, why don't you go ahead and shred this stuff, just to be sure.")

I thought this would be a great time to show off the book clamps from my toolbox, and the padding compound from the adhesives drawer.

Here's what became of all those odds and ends, and a manila folder.

First step was collecting and cutting down the junk mail. If you are using a manila folder like I did, measure one of the scored prefold portions. This is about how thick you will want your stack of paper to be.

I chose to make my pad 4 inches x 7 inches (cause I wanted to.) This was a good to get both a window panel (for one book) and a solid sheet (for the other.)
I cut both ends off the envelope using my rotary cutter, then opened it up to have a flat sheet.

I then trimmed the flat sheet to be one or two 4x7 sheets. This whole process works better if you are a neat envelope opener. If you tear at the envelope like a child under the Christmas tree, you get to deal with all the jagged edges and paper cuts. Use an envelope opener, bone folder or a jewel encrusted dagger (if you are into things like that.)
You might also cut a couple of cover sheets the same size. When you put the padding compound you will drip it all over. It's a relief to be able to tear off the front and back sheet to hide your shaky hand.

Cut a back for your book/pad out of chipboard. This is one of those things I never regret saving. Keep the backs off sketchpads, inserts out of paper, and anything else you find this in. It's very handy!
I used a relatively light weight stock for this, cause I put it inside a cover at the end. The back should be the same size as your paper, 4x7 in this case.

Here are the pad clamps that Patrick made for me. Each clamp is just two pieces of 1x2, cut to the same size, drilled in each end, and held together by a bolt, a washer, and a wing nut. They are very useful.

The tricky part is getting the paper very even. I usually go through several cycles of tapping, clamping, and cursing before I get it right. (Don't forget to put your cover sheets on the front and back. Forgetting causes more cursing.) Once you do get all the sheets lined up give them a death grip, first with your fingers, then with the clamp. Keep the clamp about an eighth to a quarter of an inch from the edge of the paper.

Get a couple of tall things and hang the whole kitten caboodle. A couple of stacks of useless books works well.
Use a brush to paint the padding compound on the edges of the paper. You will use quite a bit of the compound. When it dries, it is white and rubbery, so the more you use, the smoother it will look. You can use a couple of coats.

Of course, here comes the waiting. I used the time to make the covers for the books. I used a manila folder (cause I had one) and cut it down to be the cover. Add about an eighth of an inch to the length and width, and allow for the width of the spine.
If you are anything like me, you'll need a couple of go's to get the spine right. Be patient, and be kind.

Here's the folded spine.

I decided to add an elastic band to hold the book closed. I think this will come in handy, as the paper can get kind of unwieldy. I drew a line across the back where I wanted the elastic to line up, and made a mark in 1.5 inches on both sides.

I cut a couple of tiny rectangles with my handy Xacto knife, then cut a piece of elastic exactly twice the length of the short side. (8 inches total, in this case.)

I fed the elastic through the little holes. (Easier said than done.) I went the low-tech direction, and used staples to hold the elastic together.
Is it really low tech? Staples are amazing!

I used spray mount and a little elbow grease to decorate the front of the cover. It finally dawned on me to keep wax paper around when I am spray mounting, to keep my surfaces from getting sticky.
Now all you have to do is wait for the padding compound to dry.
I would recommend against opening a bottle of wine at this point. It only serves to make the project harder to finish. See, I can make all the mistakes for you!
You will know when the padding compound is mostly dry (a couple of hours) when it is no longer sticky to the touch. Handle the pad gingerly, though, for at least a day while the compound sets completely.

Once the padding is no longer sticky, you can attach your cover. I just used a little Elmer's All Purpose glue at the spine and top of the back. After you get the dots of glue on, slip the pad in so it is up against the fold you made for it in the cover.

Use the clamp for the second time, and hold everything together. This time you will not need to leave the pad sticking out, you can have the whole end covered by the clamp.
Wait some more. I took this opportunity to make a decoration, because today's entry on Camp Smarty Pants reminded me everything is better with a bird.
Feel free to start drinking now. If you are a happy drunk, it will make you that much more pleased with the outcome.

Here's a few more photos of the product of my procrastination. One of the books is all windows, and one is all solid prints. One day I might get around to drawing in them..