I recently had the great pleasure of taking my very first class with Bettina Pauly at San Francisco Center for the Book. The class was for making a tunnel book. As readers of my blog know, I have taken classes in the past for tunnel books, here and here, but Bettina had a very unusual take on this book art form. She had us use postcards and images from various other sources. Plus, she taught us how to create a cover for our tunnel book so that it could be folded up for easy storage.
We started out by picking out three landscape style postcards for our book. I chose these three:
We next decided which of our three postcards would serve as the background image for our book and how the other images would layer over that. I chose the first one with the city skyline for my backdrop.
Then we decided which parts of the other two postcard images we would use and started to cut away the excess, making sure to leave at least a one-fourth to one-half inch border all around to serve as a frame for each of our book panels. Here’s what my postcards looked like after I finished cutting them:
I stood the three panels of my tunnel book using clothespins to see how they would look together.
Next, we picked out some images that we could collage onto the panels. Bettina had some children’s books that we could pull images from. I had brought along a box of some of my magazine pages that I always save for crafting purposes after I finish reading my magazines and picked out this image to use for my book:
I was going to cut out the balloons along with the woman, but decided the strings on the balloons would be too flimsy, so decided to just use the woman. To cover up the strings in the lady’s hand, I decided to glue another image on top of it. I found a hot pink butterfly from a catalog in my stash and thought it was the perfect size and color to add some pop to my tunnel book. I cut out the woman and the butterfly and glued them to some cardstock backing to make them sturdier.
After the glue dried, I fussy-cut the images.
It was only after I had cut everything out, that I realized that I should have glued the butterfly right onto the woman’s hand and then done my fussy-cutting. So, I got the brilliant idea to go home during our lunch break to get my glue dots. I added a small glue dot to the woman’s hand and stuck the butterfly to it. Then I added another glue dot to the tip of one of the butterfly wings and glued it to the middle panel of my tunnel book.
I did the same for the other hand of the woman, gluing it to another spot on the same panel.
Finally, I used a larger glue dot to adhere the skirt of the woman’s dress to the bottom of the postcard panel and trimmed off the excess.
Now it was time to see how my tunnel book looked with all three panels standing upright in front of one another.
It was now time to glue everything together!
To attach the panels together, we had to make the accordion folded side panels. In the past, I’ve used cardstock and other types of paper to create the side panels, but Bettina had us use black bugra paper, which is thinner than cardstock, yet sturdy. (Another paper she recommends is lokta, a type of Nepalese paper that has no grain. She does not recommend using cardstock).
Bettina had cut out 5-inch by 12-inch panels of the bugra (along the grain) and gave each student a panel. After lining up our piece of bugra against our postcard panels, she had us trim the excess off the top. Then she showed us how to accordion fold the paper into sixteen sections. After everything was folded, we cut our bugra in half to create our two side panels.
Next, we labeled our panels with pencil and drew the cut-outs for the flaps for attaching the postcards.
Before class started, Bettina had explained to us how the cut-out flaps on the sides of a tunnel book could be decorative and showed us some examples of her work. I decided to vary the number and shapes of my cut-outs. As seen in my photos, I used both triangular and rectangular cuts.
After cutting out the flaps, we also trimmed off two excess sections on each of our accordion sides, as we only needed six per side.
Next, we glued our postcard panels to the flaps, making sure to work with one accordion side at a time before gluing the other sides of the postcards to the second accordion panel. Our tunnels were complete!
Now it was time to make the covers for our tunnel book. Bettina took some tan boards, a type of tan-colored, thin cardboard, and cut them into the approximate size of our postcards, roughly 4-inch by 6-inch. For the fronts of our cover, she cut the boards in half (~ 3 inch by 4 inch).
Each student picked out a colored piece of book cloth and glued down the three tan board panels all in a straight row, marking off the placement of each board with a pen/pencil. We trimmed off the excess book cloth to create a uniform border all around our boards, a little less than an inch in size.
We spaced out the placement of our boards using a stack of four davey boards, roughly one-fourth inch wide, the rule-of-thumb being a little more than the depth of our tunnel folded flat.
Next, we trimmed off each corner of our book cloth at a forty-five degree angle, using a davey board to space the cuts from the corners of the tan boards, ensuring that the corners of our boards would be completely covered once everything was folded and glued down.
We then glued and folded the sides of the book cloth up over the tan boards, gluing the horizontal sides down first before tackling the vertical ones.
We next chose some decorative paper to line the inside of our cover. Bettina helped me choose this handmade, blue striped paste paper:
We trimmed our paper so that it would create an approximately one-fourth inch border when glued to the inside cover, and its length was no more than the length of our tunnel.
Finally, we glued our tunnel to the cover, folded it all up, and weighed everything down until the glue was all dried.
My finished tunnel book with cover:
Here’s how the sides of my tunnel looked with all the different cut-outs:
Here’s the finished tunnel book of one of my fellow classmates, Mary:
I particularly love the ring of leaping dolphins over the girl.
Here’s another classmate’s, Nancy’s tunnel book:
I love the Dr Seuss touches!
Here are some of Bettina’s class samples that she brought to share:
As you can see, Bettina is not bound by any rules when it comes to creating her collaged postcard panels. Anything goes!
This was one of the very best classes I’ve ever taken. What I particularly liked was the usage of postcards to create the panels, especially for someone like me, who can’t really draw and doesn’t really like to stamp. Add collaging to that, and you had me at hello :0) Of all the various ways I’ve learned to create a tunnel book, Bettina’s method was by far my favorite.
Thanks, Bettina, for creating such a fun class!
Have you experimented with the tunnel book form? What have you tried? Please share in the comments.