Beauty is in the Eye of the Book Holder

Beauty is in the Eye of the Book Holder

Our theme this month is old books- what makes them valuable, how to start a collection and some of our favorite finds. I want to show you the pretty side of old books- something that adds a lot of value in my opinion!                   

   deckled edge                      deckled edge

Deckled Edge- I’m sure you’ve seen a book with a deckled edge, but maybe didn’t know there is a name for those uneven edges. Remember those books we made as kids- 6 sheets of paper folded together and stapled at the fold? This is how bound or glued books are made as well. Most of the time the edge is cut for a nice clean look but sometimes the unevenness is left, giving loads of character. 

   fore-edge painting         fore-edge painting

Fore-Edge Painting- This technique was primarily used in the 17th and 18th century. A quick wikipedia search told me a king used it in his personal library to mark his books before loaning them out. The painting is achieved by fanning the pages and clamping them. The small border of each page is the canvas. A small layer of paint is applied and is only visible when the book is fanned out. Usually when closed, the edges will be painted another color to hide any bits of the painting. There are only a few people in the world that do this technique today. It’s mesmerizing to watch, so youtube it if you are interested! I want to see a book with fore-edge painting in person so badly!

marbled edge

Marbled Edge- These gorgeous edges are the star of the book! The block of pages (text block) are dipped into swirled paint creating a pattern or marbled edge. This technique is time consuming and rarely employed, but we have a couple of them in our possession! Beautiful gems for sure. 

These are a few of my favorite book beautifying techniques! If you’d like to learn more, I found to be a helpful resource.