On being stood up: book construction dilemma


I'm currently working on (among other things) an accordion-style book that is attached on both ends to its cover, the inside of which forms the background to the piece.

Since that description's about as clear as mud I'll clarify. The pages are attached to each other and, when compacted, pleat like an accordion or concertina. The string of pages is attached on either end to the front edges of the front and back covers. While the covers are standard, rectangular book covers, the pages are not standard shapes. A continuous strip of ground runs along the bottom of all the pages. Emerging from this intermittently are standing stones. There is no sky or edging to each page (apart from the bottom), so the stones are standing freely and not touching each other. The insides of the cover will be decorated with the background for the stones, with a hillside, sky and smaller, more distant stones making up the design. The overall effect is of stones emerging from the book. When opened, the book will be able to stand on a flat surface and the stones will form a ring.

I've got the fabrics selected and the cover partially done. The stones have been drafted and are under construction. I'm using fusibles to layer slivers for texture and shadows on the background rock fabric. The resulting stones will be heavier than your average piece of fabric, but still quite floppy. They'll be backed with night sky fabric,I think. not quite sure on this yet. I was thinking either of night sky fabrics with star formations and constellations, sky fabric to match the background sky fabric or possibly some other fabric on which I could write. Still leaning towards the first two.

Anyway, I'm currently wrestling with how to stiffen the stones and ground so that they don't flop or twist. It's turning out to be trickier than I thought it'd be. Heavy-duty stabiliser isn't enough. Neither plastic canvas nor template plastic are quite sufficient. I was thinking about acid-free matte board, foam core or possibly corrugated plastic. Anyone have any suggestions? I'm hoping to use something that will remain stiff over time, is acid free, will not discolour fabrics or leech into them and also that will not warp in humid weather.

I'll make up an entry on stabilisers and stiffeners from any info received….

Thus far I have the following possibilities:

  • plastic canvas
  • fusible stabiliser
  • corrugated plastic (is somewhat thick)
  • matte board
  • template plastic
  • plastic canvas
  • old board books (note – not acid free)

5 Comments Add yours

  1. mary hood says:


    If you’re looking for firmness without bulk and for strength,the ability to wear well, ease of manipulation and the ability not affect the surrounding materials over time,I’m thinking template plastic.


  2. vickyth says:

    Template plastic might do, but it’s still too floppy. Several layers might do the trick, though. Styrofoam would possibly be too brittle, although for a smaller piece it could be used, if its relative thickness weren’t an issue.

  3. Caitlin says:

    Hmmmm… corflute plastic? (the stuff that over here, at least, they print real estate/election signs on, stiff but very light – not sure about acid free, though). It sounds COOL, what you’re working on – hope you solve the stiffening problem!

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