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Making Dummies

Let's assume you will be doing a 32 page book... I make dummies with a either a center seam or a side seam. I use copy paper in letter, legal or tabloid size and cut it down to the size I want. If you don't want to cut the paper you can block off the extra paper to take notes, especially early in the process. 


For the center seam technique: 

A 5" x 5" book would be 5" x 10" paper size. 

I use:

8 pages for the interior

1 different color page to indicate endpapers

1 different color page to indicate the cover ( I like to use cover stock for the cover) 

I draw a line down the center, clip or just hold the papers together, and run them through my sewing machine. I used to visit my kids' classrooms and sit with each child in the class as they sew the their own book dummy... (I recommend as a nice author program for when your book comes out) 


When I didn't have my sewing machine, I made holes with a nail and hand stitched by books. I use a longish brad nail is useful so the hole is relatively small. Hammer through the paper along the seam at one inch intervals. (note: hover over the right of the image to scroll through examples)

Center Seam Dummy

Side Seam Dummy

For the side seam technique: 

A 5" x 5" book would be 6" wide x 5" tall. 

I use:

16 pages for the interior. 

1 different color page front and back to indicate endpapers.

1 different color page front and back  to indicate the cover. ( I like to use cover stock for the cover.)(note: hover mouse on right to scroll images.)

I draw a vertical line down the left side an inch in from edge and bind with:


1) Butterfly Clip or Staple:

      •Start with stack of paper.

      •Draw a line 1" from left. You may want to score the left side for a cleaner fold.       •Clip or Staple.

2) Thread—Sew on Sewing Machine:

      •Start with stack of paper.

      •Draw a line 1" from left side. Feed through the sewing machine.

3) Thread—Nail and Hand Sew:

      •Start with stack of paper.

      •Measure and nail holes along the seam 1" from left side.

      •Sew seam anyway you like. Shown is blanket stitch. 


(Note: The dummy is just for working images, ideas and sketches. You can also use color prints to create a more finished dummy to pitch your book to a publisher. The dummy is not for your finished art. You will need to keep your original art flat and unmarked for photographing or scanning to go to press.) | Brooklyn, NY 

© 2018 by Kristen Balouch

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