Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tearing Pages For A Wedding Album

A few weeks ago I was debating the advantages and disadvantages of cutting versus tearing pages.  I was unable to come to my own conclusion at the time, and I posed the questions [perhaps in different words] "which do you prefer?" and "does the book's purpose impact that preference?"

On further examination, I do think my own preference is for torn pages.  Although, when creating custom books for architects, I've noted they tend to prefer the clean look of cut pages.  So, I tend to take those sorts of things into account when deciding which way to go with a book.

Today I'm working on a custom wedding photo album with torn pages.  The book was ordered by a photographer with a photo booth business who has been hired for a wedding later this month.

142 lbs of 23 x 35 inch paper.
One of the challenges of hand-torn pages is that each page is torn individually from a 23 x 35 inch sheet of paper.  That's a lot of tearing, especially with such an awkward size of paper.

I begin by tearing off a lengthwise portion of the sheet that I won't be using.  So, my 23 x 35 inch sheet becomes a 15 x 35 inch sheet... which is now able to fit into my paper cutter.

Next, I tear off half an inch along the top of the 15 x 35 inch paper, making it about 15 x 34.5 inches, and then I'm ready to use my paper cutter's clamp and rulers to help get just the right size.

I line up my torn edges so my small sheet will be the size I want, and pull up against the clamped edge.  Now I've got a 15 x 7 inch sheet, and a 15 x 27.5 inch sheet.  I remove my perfectly torn page and reinsert my big sheet for another go.

Tearing signature edges.
Once each sheet is torn (usually between 25 and 30 little sheets), I group the pages and fold each signature, ending up with a few 7 x 7.5 inch signatures.  Now, it's time to tear the 50 or so half inch edges.  These are quite thin strips to be grasping and tearing, and my fingers require a few breaks (like now) to rest my thumb and index finger.

Soft hand-torn edge
The result?  Lovely torn pages - uniform in size (7 x 7 inches), but with the soft variations of being individually hand-torn.

There is something so sweet about the appearance of hand-torn pages.  Sure they add to the handmade feel of a book, but they also impart a quality of softness that (at the moment) I can only liken to cotton or fluffy clouds.
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