Anatomy of a Miniature Book

Miniature book necklaces are made using scaled-down versions of traditional bookbinding techniques, and there’s no reason they won’t last as long as a full-size book if well cared for. Here’s a simple guide to looking after your book:

caring for your miniature book

They may be tiny, but a lot of care still goes into making these miniature books! Here’s a quick visual guide to the anatomy of your book:

anatomy of a miniature book necklace

Decorative endpapers
I love collecting beautiful papers.  Most of the endpapers in my miniature books are decorative papers purchased in Florence, Italy.  I’ve also started using locally produced marbled papers, particularly the rather lovely work of Payhembury, based in Cambridgeshire.

Hand-Sewn Headbands
Headbands are traditionally added to books to strengthen their ‘head’, or the top of the spine. It’s a point that endures a lot of wear, especially when people pull books off the shelf using one finger at this point on the book, and so needs a bit of extra support. You’ll find them on most old bindings, but more modern bindings tend to have a pre-made headband glued in, if at all.  I decided to hand-sew all of mine the traditional way.

Page Edges
Deckled (or rough) edges used to be a feature of the bookbinding process until modern machinery made attaining a straight edge easy and the norm for books. Deckled edges have recently come back into fashion, primarily on books imported from the USA it seems.

Handpainted Leather Covers
I upcycle old leather scraps to make my miniature book covers. The leather must be cleaned and de-glazed, sometimes re-dyed or painted using specialist leather paints, and sealed with a matte or gloss finish.

Tiny Printed Text
Most recently I’ve started trying to add printed text to my books after a commission for a miniature book containing the Lord’s Prayer.  Short texts and poems seem to work best so far, and I’m open to suggestions.