My main hobby project is the perfection of DIY bound books.
The objective is to publish bound books relying entirely on free open source materials and common household resources and materials.
I am currently working on covers and this is the draft chapter on my best effort to date The Full publisation draft
there are two tracks:
print on plain paper using art style like watercolor or bokeh which can print and laminate of varnish on plain paper and not look cheap. This has largely not worked for me yet, perhaks when ai resolutions are better.
the second and current method is to use photo paper against my 'free/cheap' principals and requiring a folded over flap to get enough 'heft'
D R A F T C H A P T E R
There are many blind alleys with printing DIY covers on various papers and card stock, and inkjet and laser.
I have finally achieved something I can live with for professional appearance and resilience.
I will describe the materials and process.
Materials: * A4 photo paper, either laser or inkjet * Clear adhesive type laminating film, matt or gloss finish * I am using wide rolls of packaging tape and baking paper, never seen it as matt
Paper will be within normal printer tolerances up to about 120gsm. When say 100gsm paper is laminated and folded double it will be at least 240gms. The heft and feel is OK.
Photo paper when laminated can give brilliant color and be resistant to water and handling.
For books based on A6 or A5, less trimming
Print A4 photo paper with your art.
Paper will never be long enough, even if you go to the largest standard printer page which is "Legal" and that size is probably not made for photo paper.
So you use standard cheap A4 and add wings to the short edge(s) using but, not overlap join and double sided tape. See "j" in diagram
You need to be clever with your design so that the join ends up "inside" the fold and also serves the role of holding the folded flap closed.
Note the ══════ in the diagram below that indicates the double sided tape.
┌───────────────────────────────────────────────┐s f└──═j═───────────────────── e │ ┌──═══───────────────────── │ └───────────────────────────────────────────────┘s long cut edge spine
Print and thoroughly dry the A4 image, add wing(s) on the short side of the A4 using double sided tape, they should be too long, for now, dont overlap the join or you get a ridge in the cover.
create the two folds for the spine at "s".
Bind the cover to the book block, I am assuming hot-glue hand perfect binding here, so laminating must be done after heating or it will distort.
Fold back the cover and cut the LONG edge of the book block only to it's final size.
Fold the cover under on the long axis per diagram "f" (you double sided tape should fold under otherwise you get an obvious join... melt the cover off and start again if yoou fail. (The best thing about hot-melt glue :))
Open the fold at "f" again and laminate the cover with self adhesive laminate.
If you are cheap like me and use box tape as laminate you need to use oven baking film to cover the adhesive side and peel it back slowly after correctly positioning.
refold the cover at "f" on the long axis and peel the second side of the double sided tape to fix the fold closed.
trim the excess length at "e" from the folded under cover section.
Now cut the two short sides of the book to size.
Found this quite robust the expected delaminating on the cut short edge did not happen. Use cheap inkjet ink so I expect my ink to fade in a few years. Expect my box sealing tape to yellow in a few years. I expect none of my books to useful for so long.