Album Pages & Structures – Course

Recently, I took a course that explored traditional album structures and the various ways of mounting photos, documents, and small works of art on album pages. We made four albums including a Victorian style album using the checkerboard structure, an adhesive binding, and a stub binding. The stub binding is often used for the storage of documents of unequal length or manuscripts in which writing fills the entire page. And we spent some time focused on the variety of methods for mounting various types of photos, such tintype or cabinet cards, as well looking at the use of compensating guards to accommodate the thickness of folded maps or plates.

The first day we worked on making various pages with different methods of mounting photos. There was tipping them on with paste, cutting slits in the paper that would let the photos slide in, creating windows with Mylar,  and other methods. Here is a shot of few of the pages we made:


With these photos we put them in a stub binding structure. Using bolts that go through all the pages and cover. Instead of bolts you can also use cord. Here is the cover of the book before it was decorated with paper.

The next construction we worked on was a stab binding. Here we have folded the sheets and added compensating stubs. They are sewn to the spine section using a 5-hole pamphlet stitch.  Then the spine stubs are sewn together.

Once that was done we ploughed the spine and then we rounded the spine, because the spine is not where the pages turn it’s more of a dummy spine and the round is purely for decorative purposes. Endbands were added and we lined the spine with cloth. Then we tipped on end pages. For this construction the fly-leaf was tipped down to just before the joint so that it would turn at the same place as the pages.

Next we worked on our third album — this one was a simple adhesive binding. Pages were taken and folded slightly to created a compensating stub between each page, then the pages were pasted together and lined with cloth.

The stab binding and the adhesive binding get simple German bonnet cases (exactly like we learned in level 1).

The last structure we learned was the most complicated. It was a checkerboard spine, patented in 1865 this is a historical structure. Betsy Palmer Eldridge did a lot of research into determining the construction of the spine and creating a guide to re-create it. You can find information about it here and here.

Here are few shots of the process:

And the end result! Isn’t it so nice looking? I love it, normally the spines would still be covered but I like the look of it exposed.


Finally we finished by casing everything in and adding cover paper/fabric/leather and here are the end results:

I really enjoyed this course and look forward to the next course I take! Lino cuts — to make book plates. Before that though I’m off to Wayzgoose and have a number of other things coming up this summer, it will be a busy but fun summer!

Until next time,


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