To glue thick blocks of pages, glue the outer edges only. Hold the block together using your hand and/or a clamp. Spread glue along the outer edges of the pages. Squish it around with your fingers so some goes inside as well. Ensure all page edges are covered with glue. Similarly, apply glue to the inner edges of the niche itself, if desired.
People approach this in different ways. This is my preferred method.
- Decide how you intend to fill the niche. This will determine the size and shape.
- If you are using a 3-D element, a key, for example, you will need to determine how many pages you must cut through. Place the key on the outside edge of the book's pages to determine the desired thickness. If you want your book to close flat afterwards, you must make your niche a little thicker than your key. (Some AB artists don't care if the book doesn't close; it's up to you.)
- Decide the placement on your page. Cutting a thick opening close to the spine will result in an unsightly ridge of cut pages that will stick up and prevent your book from closing properly. Alternatively, cutting a thick niche too close to the outer edges will create undue stress on the spine and possibly lead to damage.
- Decide on the shape you want to use. Squares and rectangles are the easiest, but you can cut any shape you want.
- Using a pencil and ruler (if you want a straight line), draw the niche on your top page.
- Place a cutting board underneath the last page that you intend to cut. By cutting board, I refer to a hard surface that will prevent you from cutting through to pages that you want to protect. I use cheap plastic things that you get at the Dollar Stores.
- Fasten your pages with an office clamp to hold them in place while cutting. Staples and other office supply stores carry clamps.
- Cut your niche using an Xacto knife or a box cutter. Cheapies from the Dollar Stores work, but will need replacing often if you cut many niches. Michaels arts and craft store carries better quality Xacto knives; most hardware stores carry box cutters.
- If your niche is thick, you will not be able to cut through all pages at once. Cut through as many pages as you can, then using the last cut page as your template, cut some more. Continue until all desired pages are cut.
- In most cases,the inner edges of your niche will be messy. Many of us don't care, believing this to be part of the charm of an altered book. If you do care, tidy up the inner edges by cutting, sanding, painting, etc. Another approach is to line the entire niche, including the edges, with paper or vellum.
- Fasten together the pages used for the niche. You'll find more about that above.
- Fill or decorate your niche as planned.