Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Making your own bookplates

Bookplates are labels pasted into a book, often on the inside front cover, to indicate its owner. Sometimes the bookplate says Ex libris, which means From the books of [your name here]. That's what Wikipedia tells me anyway.

I love bookplates, but I've never bought them for myself because they're too pricey. If I wanted to put a store-bought label in each of my books, it would be an expensive proposition indeed. That's why I was happy when Raissa gave me homemade bookplates for Christmas.

Even though I was thrilled with the gift, it took me a few months to put one of the bookplates to use. This morning I stuck one in West With the Night, one of my favorite books, in order to counter my late grandma's claim to the book. Who writes her name in a book that someone loaned her? Trying to get this book returned to me was a trial, and it didn't help that my grandma thought it was hers. These bookplates aim to prevent such confusion.

I don't know where Raissa found her assorted images, but maybe I can convince her to enlighten us. In the mean time, I found these two adorable designs (scroll down a bit) at Craft Sanity, which were provided by The Black Apple. You can print them on label paper, for easy application, or regular paper, which will require some help from a glue stick.

During my Internet sleuthing, I also found some great pictures of archived bookplates that I want to share with you. You can browse through the UBC digital collection yourself, or you can check out my favorites, which I've listed by the names of the book owners (pretty interesting themselves): Henry Forbes Angus, Erna Grau, George Herbert Wailes, Wallace and Ethel Wilson and Kevin Michael Grace (this one scares me a little).

If that doesn't satisfy your new interest in bookplates, you can check out Confessions of a Bookplate Junkie. That's right, a whole blog dedicated to bookplates. Who knew?


raissa said...

applogies for the delayed comment. this is my first ever blog comment. im nervous, not for that reason alone, but more so because i feel like i didnt really do anything deserving of blog recognition. but, i see my name and so i guess i'll share what i did: i put in some serious 'google images' surf time (searching 'bookplates','book nameplates', 'ex libris', etc.); i cut and paste the bookplate images i liked into a word document; when i had gathered 10 or so of my faves i sized them uniformly, fitting 8 to a 'landscape' oriented page; i bought a couple packs of the full page adhesive printable paper at office depot and printed a few pages of each style; then i used the mail room paper cutter at the university to slice em up and tied an assortment of 12 or 20 or something into a bunch with a stunning piece of yellow yarn.
that's it - easy and glorious, and, as you can see by erin's reaction, a great gift for bookish, or at least book-loving, types. i felt a little illegal for just stealing the nameplate images, but some came from free sites and im not selling them or passing them off as my designs, so i hope that makes this a legit craft.
Good luck!

Erin said...

Thanks Raissa. A legit craft, indeed.

Erin Riley said...

I just found these great templates for bookplates...

Rebecca said...

Hey Erin and Raissa. Thanks for the tips on making your own bookplates! I'm a children's author in Toronto and this is a great thing to be able to give to kids at readings and school presentations.

Rebecca Upjohn

Lily and the Paper Man
The Last Loon

Vivian Kirkfield said...

I'm doing a post that encourages parents to make bookplates with their young chidren and I discovered your post. I've put a link to it on my blog...your site is lovely...i'll be back to visit.
Hope you have a moment to hop over to my site:

The post will be up later tonight and in it, I am asking for people to nominate their local library to receive a free copy of my book, Show Me How! Build Your Child's Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.

Oh, by the way, I saw you had a recipe for of my absolute favorites!