DIY book design covers

One brilliant thing about my makerspace is that i get access to stuff it’ll never dawn on me to explore, and things i never knew existed.

Cloth-bound notebooks from Bookbinders

Vinyl for cutters comes in almost all thinkable colours, all sorts of idiotic patterns and types. For heat-transfer vinyl you get plain, patterned, glitter, metallic, and flock (flossy). Point is: you cut the design with the vinyl cutter, and iron on a t-shirt. Or a book.

Buy a notebook – or any book for that matter! – that are bound in shirting: a cotton cloth. You know what i mean when you see it. They are usually glued with some variety of PVA, and can handle heat reasonably.
Design you Thing. I use Illustrator to use vector files that export to dxf, but the software of these cutters are impressively good at handling simple pngs. So you could use… paint. One thing: you can layer heat transfer vinyl, but only two or three layers so don’t go overboard. I imagine it is because the heat you need for the third layer would ensure your first one disintegrates or something nasty.

The cutters themselves are remarkably precise. In fact, it surprises me every time, the level of precision you can achieve. The one we have is a Silhouette Cameo 1 which is so old you cannot actually buy it anymore, other than at ebay for less than $100. It sputters and coughs and protests and squeaks, but it does the job.

After the cutting there really isn’t much too it: place it on the book, and iron carefully. The internet is full of advice and examples, but i just simply stick the iron on almost-highest setting, and dab at the design. You have to let it cool a tiny bit before removing the backing film, and be careful. When it is removed, i gently iron a bit more to set it into the cloth. That’s it.

This is pretty much the pinnacle at the moment. Minimalism and geometry is always the hardest thing – every tiny little flaw will scream at you, there is nowhere to hide. But it worked fine! Creating the file and testing colour combination was what took the longest.

But boyyy am i PLEASED!

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