First I found free printies as before** and printed them up and 'glazed' them with matt Mod Podge. No need to do this step, or you can choose to glaze them with your 'shine' of choice. Leave until bone dry and cut out carefully. Take it slowly - use scissors or knife whichever gives you the best result. I find a very sharp knife gives me more accurate cuts than scissors.
By far, the easiest filling for books is balsa wood. Ideally you want one inch wide strips in two thicknesses. I used 3/16" thick piece and 1/4" thick piece. I could only find three inch wide strips so I certainly bought overkill. I only needed one 5/8" wide strip of each piece to make 84 books so I still have a lot of wood left over.
I cut a 5/8" strips along the length of the wood - this is very easy as it is cutting with the grain. I then rounded off one of the edges - I think this really matters. I made up a book without the edges knocked off to see if I could miss this step out and it looked distinctly odd with a squared off spine. This knocking of the edges with one of the nail buffers I've mentioned before literally only takes seconds to do.
At this stage you could now glue on your covers, wrapping them round the curved edge then cut each one free. I do a slightly more fiddly version because I like the 'pages' to sit slightly inside the cover (top and bottom) as they do with a real book.
Here's the total 'kit' ready to go. Use any glue you like - I found cheap old school glue is fine. Use a fine bladed knife. Don't use a box cutter/Stanley knife they tend to crush balsa as they cut - the blade is a lot thicker than a craft knife blade. You also need the wood strip - obviously - and something thin and round to help pre-shape the cover - a thin paintbrush handle, kitting needle - whatever.
The width of most of my books was a little over 3/8" so I laid the balsa strip down and marked up where to cut, spacing 3/8" apart. I did find I struggled a bit more cutting the thicker piece of balsa, but I really do lack wrist strength so I am sure a knife will do the job for almost everyone but, that said, it cut like a knife through butter using a saw. I stood the strip upright and sawed downwards through it.
With the wood all cut, I rolled the cover back and forth a little round the 'shaper' to get a nice curved spine to fit the wood - you can probably skip this step without tragedy.
I then applied a little glue, not especially carefully nor up to the edges
I placed the spine where it needed to go ....
....wrapped the sides round and pressed them firmly in place. Often there would be a small bit of the wood showing - all my printies varied quite a bit in the depth of the book.
Et voila... we have a book...
Very soon we have a lot of books. I glued some sets of books together and then just mixed the others and glued them into fives to make them easier to stack on the shelves.
I think these quick and cheap books look great on the shelves and I will take a break for a while from making them as I am hoping to get a lot of interesting objects to fill the remaining spaces. The whole lot was only two 'afternoons' work. My 'afternoon' being a couple of hours or so.
** Tree Feathers is a really nice free printie site but if you google 'free printies miniatures' there are a ton of them out there.