A beeswax coating makes the cover of this simply-bound book into a weather resistant wrap, letting you truly take your travel journal anywhere. Look for paper that is both beautiful and practical for the cover – a map, star chart, or field guide to trees, cloud formations, or seashells. You can also use original artwork! The beeswax will give the imagery a richly toned, lightly antiqued appearance. Our books are covered with Edith Holden’s illustration of toadstools from the November, 1906 issue of Phenology of the English Midlands by Month, and an old National Geographic map. –Natalie
Materials for a 7×5” book:
-drawing paper, about ten 7×10” sheets
-cover paper, final size will be 7×13”
-pure beeswax, about 2 ounces from a craft supplier or candle ends tin can
-paint brush (this will become beeswax-dedicated)
-newspaper or newsprint
-iron (a garage sale iron is best here)
-waxed linen tread, 1 yard
-binding or tapestry needle
Search out or create your cover imagery. To use an inkjet print, cut a sheet of drawing paper down to legal size and run it through the printer. It is easiest to wax a slightly oversized sheet, and crop it later.
Place the beeswax in the tin can, and place the can in a saucepan of water. Heat over a medium flame until the wax is melted. It is important to use this double boiler method, as beeswax can burn and release fumes easily.
Working outdoors or in a well ventilated area, cover your work surface with a substantial pile of newspapers or newsprint. Warm the iron.
Remove the double boiler from heat as soon as the wax is melted. Place your cover paper on top of the newspaper and use the paintbrush to coat its surface with wax. It will look drippy and messy at this point, and does not need to be perfect.
Place 2-3 sheets of newspaper over your waxy cover paper and run the iron over the surface. When you see molten wax start seeping through, replace the newspaper with fresh sheets. Repeat until the newspaper has absorbed the excess wax and none seeps through. Your cover paper should now be uniformly smooth, glossy, and translucent.
Trim the cover paper to 7×13”. Fold the stack of interior drawing paper in half, to 7×5”. Line up the edge of the cover paper with the front edge of the folded drawing paper. Wrap the cover around the spine, crease, and wrap the flap around the edge of the book so it extends onto the front cover. Crease again.
Use a tapestry needle or awl to pierce 3 holes through the fold at the center of the book. One in the center, and one about 1/2” from each end. Fold the linen thread in half and thread the needle with the loose ends, so the tail is a loop.
Sew through the center hole in the spine beginning outside the book, leaving the loop on the outside. Pass the thread out through the upper hole, in through the middle hole, and out through the lower hole. Pass the thread through the loop, and tighten the stitches until the loop is flush with the spine. Tie the tail to the spine thread to secure the sewing, and remove the needle. This tail will wrap to close the book, and can be twisted or knotted as you like.