Miriam Brüggen is a graphic designer and visual artist based in Berlin. She graduated from London College of Communication in 2017 with a Postgraduate Diploma in Design for Visual Communication – during this time she focused on book and letterpress projects. After graduation she pursued a career in the field of spatial and communication design, and, in collaboration with architects, interior / product & motion designers creates analog and digital touch points for brand spaces. In her free-time, she follows her passion for book and print projects, since she values the work with physical materials.
She just returned from a 6 month trip to Japan, where she explored traditional bookbinding and printing techniques and worked for the letterpress studio Letterpress Letters in Tokyo. During that time she learnt to value the benefits of a sewing punching cradle, which allows to bind books very precisely.
Miriam created a step by step guide for you on how to create your own punching cradle below.
Step-by-step Punching Cradle
You will need:
• Sharp Blade
• Ruler, Pencil
• PVA Glue
• Glue Brush
• Bone Folder
• Waste Paper
• 2 x large pieces of grey board (2.0mm–2.5mm), W 120 x L 330 mm
• 4 x small pieces of grey board (same weight), W 120 x L 105 mm
• 2 x strips of book cloth: W 80 x L 330 mm
Start with the four small rectangles that support the cradle body.
Draw a triangle on two of them. Take the long edge (120 mm) for the bottom side of the triangle. It should start about 15 mm from each corner and the tip should be 45 mm away from the top edge.
Cut the triangles out
Glue each of the remaining pieces on one of the untrimmed rectangles. The support legs are done and you can place both under a weight for a short while (some heavy books will be ﬁne!).
In the meantime, make the cradle body. Take one strip of book cloth and mark the centre of the short edge. Repeat same step with the other piece of book cloth.
Add two marks, the ﬁrst, one board thickness to the left from the middle, the second, one board thickness to the right (use the two cut out triangles as a gauge).
Brush the book cloth with glue and attach the long grey boards to the lines.
Take your bone folder, ﬂatten the cloth and score down the middle, this will neaten the joint.
Repeat with the other side: Brush the cloth with glue and put it on the grey boards, try to align it with the cloth underneath.
Neaten the joint from this side, too.
Eventually, it should look like this. When you are ready, put it under a weight for a couple of minutes.
Measure and mark up 10mm from the edge of both short sides. Create a slit by cutting the thickness of one grey board. The slit’s width should be 128 mm in total to ﬁt the support legs. Take 64 mm from the centre of the cradle body to the left and right.
The depth of the slit should should equal the thickness of one grey board (use one of the rectangles as gauge. It should be the exact thickness, if its too wide the cradle body will sit lose).
The slit’s width should be 128 mm in total to ﬁt the support legs. Measure 64 mm from the centre of the cradle body to the left and right.
Almost done, now you can slide each side over the support legs. If necessary, enlarge the slit to ﬁt the cradle body.
Et voilà. Below a printable version of the whole process. Miriam also prepared a short hand out with her notes and some step-by-step illustrations.