So planning is over so now starts the work. The design is going to consist of a large un-dyed 1-2 weight vegetable tan leather center which will be stained and embossed surrounded by a red snake (dragon) skin boarder. Because of the size of the area I needed to cover with the snake skin I had to go with a synthetic leather but I found a great product and it really simulates the texture and look of real snake skin. link to fake snake skin provider
But first thing first. The backing is 1/8 Davey board. Davey board is the most common form of cardboard backing for book binding and can be found at most decent art stores. For this book the page dimensions are 8.5 x 8.5 so I cut the board 1/8 bigger so there is a overlap of the page affording them some protection. the final dimensions are 8.5x8 3/4. The width is a little shorter because of the 1/4 gap that will allow the book to hinge open. to make that hinge I cut a 1/2 inch strip off the short side. See image below
Next I glue the board to the veg tanned leather and trim it to same dimensions of the board. I just use strait Elmers glue. To be official you can get a product called PVA for this but it is considerable more expensive and unless you are looking to archive you books for 100 years I don't recommend the added expense.
next we need to attach the snake skin on top of the veg tanned leather. We are going to attach a piece bigger book, about 3 inches over on each side. Since we need to emboss the center we only want to apply glue in 1/4 strip around the edge of the veg tanned leather. This just a temporary glue that will allow us hold everything in place so we can measure and cut it.
Now place some heavy books on it and leave it alone for a few hours. Once set I folded each edge under the stack and drew a line about a 1/2 inch in on each side. I use a grease pencil because it is easily removed from the snake skin.
Next I cut along the lines with a very very sharp Exacto. Any dullness will pull the leather and you will not get a straight cut. When you cut it it needs to go through the snake skin and the veg tanned leather below it. Be careful not to cut through under lying Davey Board.
Next entry putting it all together so we can start embossing....