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.


H. Miller said...

I've always preferred torn edges, myself. It's also one of those operations in bookbinding which is so simple that it is often over-complicated. For example, a book I saw once in which the binder had cut the edges with alligator scissors to give it "that old world feel," when all that was needed was to tear the edges. Heh.

Amy L. Burns said...

I know exactly what you're talking about - I stay away from those cute alligator scissors because I know they'll just look cheesy. I initially had reservations about the torn pages but I've found the paper I use for pages is so perfect for tearing - the edges are so soft looking.