Making a Grimoire

For those of you who don’t know, a grimoire is a textbook of magical plants, creatures and spells. Depending on the type of book, it could contain various things such as lists of demon names or magical plants used in various potions. I decided to make a grimoire documenting various magical creatures and plants.



The pages were made with normal 80gsm copy paper that I soaked in coffee and laid to dry on a clothes rack. I soaked and dried the pages at least two times each and the house smelled strongly of coffee for about a week afterwards. Good thing I love the smell of coffee.

I used Indian Ink and a dip pen for the ink drawings and messy scrawling on coffee paper. Make sure you leave margins for attaching the pages together when they are complete. I found it easier to draw the margins softly with a pencil just to remind myself which side I had to leave a margin.

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The cover of the book was a lot of fun to make and contained a lot of experimentation. I always find my best stuff comes from the mistakes I make.

I found some paper bark falling off some trees near home and, after picking the best pieces, I glued the bark together as well as I could with some PVA glue. Stick something heavy on top so it stays together while the glue dries. I then went to the trusty guillotine and cut the bark to size. A guillotine is much easier to use than scissors but, if you don’t have a guillotine, scissors will work fine. Just make sure your scissors are sharp to save you some agony when cutting the bark.

When the bark was the size I wanted I heated up some bees wax in an old frying pan and coated the front and back covers in wax as best as I could. You only need a thin layer but you should coat it more than once, just to be sure. Try to get the wax into all the openings in the bark because this will help the bark stay in one piece. Remember that the wax dries really quickly so pouring it onto the bark probably wont have the greatest results. Just dipping it into the frying pan should work fine. Also, remember to be safe! Use gloves and a mask when working with hot wax. Save you from burns and wax-coated lungs.



Once all the pieces of the puzzle are complete, you just need to put them together. You just need a needle and thread so you can sew your book together. The only thread I could find was white so I dyed it with coffee, too, since I was going for an old looking book.

There are many different patterns to sew books together. The one I decided to use is called “Japanese Side Stitch”. To sew the book together, I first measured and poked holes through each individual page. If you just go ahead and try to sew the book without first creating openings in the paper, the paper could rip, ruining all the effort you have put into the book. Beware!

Once I’d finished poking holes in the pages and the cover, I lined up the holes as accurately as I could and then I used paper clasps to hold everything in place. If you like, put spare pieces of paper over the book before clipping so the clasps don’t ruin the cover.

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Find more info on “Japanese Side Stitch” at

Once you are finished sewing, just tie off the string and you have yourself a handmade book! Instead of adding pre-drawn illustrations into the book beforehand, as I have, you might just like to add in a heap of blank pages for something to write in on the go. Or, instead of using tree bark, you could use a number of things for the cover, such as leaves or open seed pods.

Actually, the seed pod idea sounds really cool! My next project, perhaps?

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I am quite happy with how the Grimoire turned out and I think I will be making a few more of these books in the future. I hope someone else can gain inspiration from my random idea, too.

I hope you liked my tutorial thingy!



One thought on “Making a Grimoire

  1. Pingback: Make a Book Envelope | Ashleigh Jane

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