Friday, March 21, 2014

Astrolabe Notebook

I like historical scientific instruments. I've got a small collection of reproduction items and a few authentic historical items from the mid-20th century. I particularly like astrolabes, with their swirling retes and the complicated arcs of the plates. And I thought it'd be a good theme for the cover of a notebook.

I started with a 5x7 hardcover, spiral-bound notebook. I took the image of an astrolabe rete, extracted a 5x7 section of it, and converted it to black and white for the silhouette.

I pasted it to a double-thick piece of old file folders, the two layers also glued together, and cut out the shapes with an X-Acto knife. Painfully slow, that was.

Once done with that, I sprayed it gold, then gave it a faint haze of brown to give it some age.

For the plate section, I cut out a 5x7 piece of foil-faced paper and drew a bunch of arcs on it more or less at random with a silver marker. The marker was far too large to fit in the compass, so I had to wire them together.

With both pieces done, I stacked the two pieces together. The foil piece was a little bigger than the cardboard rete, so I had to trim it down a bit.

To prepare the piece for a little more dimensionality, I drilled a quarter-inch hole in the bottom corner.

That was just a preparatory step, though. To make sure everything would line up, I glued the foil paper to the notebook, then the file folder layer to the foil.

For the center, I nailed a hole through all three layers and used a fancy paper brad in the center, then glued a plastic jewel to a piece of paper and glued that over the hole in the lower corner.

Finally, it was just a matter of putting a grommet through the hole in the lower left and covering it with a watch gear, through which the red jewel can be seen from the right angle, and cutting a notch in the upper right so another fancy paper brad could be installed.