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maandag 24 augustus 2015

Magnetic sketchbook

I finished another sketchbook! Not a Necronomicon-type book this time, I decided to try something new. I wanted to make a book with some sort of clasp to keep it closed. I didn't want to use one of those brass clasps you can buy at art stores, though. Instead, I used magnets!

I bought a pack of neodymium disc magnets on Ebay, and embedded them in the cover and the clasp. Neodymium magnets are the strongest type of permanent magnet available; they are more than strong enough to keep the book closed.

  • Canson Art Book One, A5 size
  • Cardboard
  • MDF, 3 mm thick
  • Kraft paper
  • Drawing paper
  • Book binding glue
  • Hot glue gun
  • 4 neodymium magnets
  • Red felt
  • Acrylic paint
The design
Allright, so no Necronomicon this time. I made a fake leather cover as usual, but with some Celtic knots for decoration. I had never designed any of these, here's a good place to get started:
Celtic knots tutorial

I started doodling away in my sketchbook, and after hours of drawing crappy stuff I came up with two knot designs, one for the clasp and one for the corners. Next, I used Inkscape to turn my sketch into an easily scaled drawing I could print.

The magnetic claps and the corner ornaments both have these knots on them. The clasp and the corner ornaments are made from 3 mm thick MDF. I never throw away scraps, they come in handy for projects like this. The knot patterns are made of cardboard.
Also new for this book, the inside of the covers is lined using felt instead of paper.

The clasp
To make the clasp, I drilled holes through the cover and the cardboard core of the clasp, inserted the magnets in them and secured them using hot glue. The holes were then covered with some drawing paper, keeping the magnets inside.  The clasp is sandwiched between two layers of thick paper, with a final layer of thinner paper wrapped around it and the cardboard knot pattern glued on the front. The back layer of thick paper also makes up the strap that attaches the clasp to the book.

Unfortunately, the biggest wood drill bit I had was still too small, so I had to use my Dremel to make the holes bigger, and put "buy a bigger drill" on my to do list.

The clasp is attached to the back cover with a strap that wraps around the book. The strap is made of thick drawing paper, wrapped in wrinkled kraft paper for the faux leather effect. The back of the clasp and strap are also lined using the same felt as the inside of the covers.


The cover
The cover is made pretty much the same way as with my other books. The corner pieces are made of MDF with thin cardboard glued on, the leather effect is made using wrinkled kraft paper, wich I explained in detail in this post.

For creating the cast iron effect on the corner pieces and the clasp, I first primed them with gesso, followed by a gray base coat, a black wash and finally drybrushed silver. Check out this post for more details about this.
The inside of the cover is lined with red felt, glued on with book binding glue. For the front cover, a rectangular piece was sufficient, the back was a bit more complicated because of the strap, and I couldn't cut it out of a single piece of felt because it was too small.


The result
Here's the finished book. I'm not gonna go into detail about creating the faux leather effect or how I painted the corner ornaments for the cast iron effect, I explained this in some of my previous tutorials.


The clasp works ok, but I should have made the strap a little bit longer. Also, I should have used three magnets in a triangle pattern instead of two, to keep it flat when the book is closed.
The felt lining looks really good. I was a bit afraid the book wouldn't close properly anymore because of the added thickness of the felt, but that didn't turn out to be a problem. I'll definitely use this again on future projects.

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