24 December 2010

plotter paper book

As an architecture student I print, a lot. We have these large printers, we call plotters. You can bring your own roll of paper, up to 36" and print however long of a piece you want. For final projects, it is easy to use up to 12' or more. I went to print off my test plot of a final, 20' long. The plotter wasn't being very nice, we were lucky to get the test plot as a final three days later. In the process, the plotter decided to start to give me paper, not print, but just shove the paper through, giving me a lot of blank paper. We tried to stop it, but it wouldn't even turn off (I have since learned the trick to make it stop). I used the whole 100' roll for printing that final project, and kept walking around saying "$35 for that printing!" I didn't have the heart to throw about 50' of paper away, or even put it in the recycle bin, so I kept it, thinking I would find a use for it someday.

My parents are of the age that they have records, you know, those things CD's replaced. They have hundreds of them, yet we never listen to them anymore. They are not worth much anymore, the more famous ones as collectibles, but I can find them at my local goodwill store for $1.

One day I found a way to merge these two into one, and make some sketch books. Because I haven't the heart to chop up the records my parents have at home, I bought some from the goodwill store. If you do not have large amounts of plotter paper lying around like I do, another idea is old paper. I once made a book out of paper I had printed on one side, and used the other as note taking, it reminded me of the project every time I looked at it. I don't recommend using paper that will have bad memories attached.

Step 1 - make up the covers

Okay, so this actually has a lot of steps to it. You have to find the record cover which you will use. I was able to find three musicals, which I love. I decided on the size I wanted my book. I happen to like them about 8.5" x 5.5", they are small enough for me to carry in my small hands, but still big enough to hold things. So that is what I decided to do. I needed a template, so grabbed a piece of paper out of the garbage. I cut a rectangle out of the middle the size I wanted the covers. I then moved it around the record covers to see where I wanted to cut it, one from the front, one the back. I tried to make it look like it was a real cover and not just a chopped up cover. After I decided where to cut I traced it on. I was even able to manage to get two books out of The Sound of Music cover. Then I took the records out, separated back and front, and started to cut. May I just tell you about a wonderful invention called an Xacto? It is this knife that will cut just about anything (I'm not kidding.) Everyone needs one. The larger ones are happier; they have more power which makes my wimpy hands like them. I lined up a ruler on the lines I had drawn on, used my Xacto and cut. It is important to make sure the surface you are cutting on is okay to be cut up; I use a cutting mat, but in a pinch old calendars or phone books work well as well.

Step 2 - cut up the paper

I used my trusty Xacto to cut it into strips of 8.5" then cut those into strips of 5.5” When I built my scratch paper book it was easy to take the 8.5" x 11" paper and cut it in half. Make sure all the blank sides are facing the same direction, mine aren't and it gets a bit confusing.

Step 3 - have it bound

There are a lot of trusty places that will bind books for you. I like spiral bounding the best. If you want to do it yourself, more power to you, but alas, I do not. The thick covers scare away some places, they think their machine can't handle it and don't want to ruin your cover, but it is okay, I've done things thicker.

Once bound, you can enjoy. I gave some away as presents, kept some for myself, and make sure to show them off to anyone who will appreciate them. It is a great way to reuse something that would just end up in the garbage anyways.

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