Worktable Wednesday

Something that not many people know is that I make guest books. I’ve been making them for a while, but it’s usually for custom orders.

I’ve decided that it’s time to change that.

The idea was put in motion by Artisans Hand Craft Gallery‘s upcoming show, The Wedding Show. The gallery sent out a call for work that is suitable for a bride, groom, and/or wedding party. In particular, they’re looking for handmade items that include shades of cream, white, and soft greens.

I figured that now is a great time to officially add guest books to my production line (and soon my Etsy shop). Green is my favorite color and I have lots of materials to choose from – today I started on my first batch of guest books.

Welcome to my thought process.

First, I pull out every possible option for paper and bookcloth (a.k.a. make a big, fat mess):

Handmade paper and bookcloth in shades of cream and green

Some of the materials don’t make the cut. I choose four papers to pair with cream-colored bookcloth:

Handmade papers

The leafy paper at the top is one I use in my line of photo albums. The other papers are ones that I’ve used before for custom orders. It’s hard to see, but the paper at the bottom has baby’s breath in it.

Next I deal with more interesting options. I love this paper:

Handmade paper with grass inclusions

And I have the most awesome floral brocade bookcloth that I bought at (the sadly-closed) Kozo Arts. I decided to pair the dark green brocade with the grass paper.


Floral bookcloth and handmade paper with grasses

The next paper is a harder choice – it has cream and sorta-beige flower petals in it:

Handmade paper with flower petals

I can’t decide which bookcloth to use. Which do you like better?

Option 1: Dark green floral brocade:

Floral bookcloth and handmade paper with flower petals

Option 2: Kinda-peachy/sage green floral brocade:

Floral bookcloth and handmade paper with flower petals

Let me know what you think – even if you don’t like either of them.

I’m on the fence…and it’s a big fence…

4 Responses to “Worktable Wednesday”

By LizzieMade - 5 May 2011 Reply

I also drag out every possible item and make a huge mess, whenever I’m starting some projects!

Hum, Elissa… The papers are all fab and I like the idea of brocade bookcloth. You gave the gallery spec. at the top of your post – it included “shades of cream” and “soft greens”. I don’t think the dark green brocade really seems very bridal, nor is is “soft green”, so on that point, I would choose the peachy brocade for now – you can always try the dark one later. If you really want the gallery to take some of your work, it’s probably worth sticking to their remit to the letter!

Just as a side-issue… I looked at your photo albums, in your Etsy shop. You could easily market these (or some of these – probably the smaller ones) as Wedding Guest Books also – they have heavy weight paper (I presume), but many of my customers do want heavy paper, so they can write in the book, stick in gift tags from presents or tags that their guests have written greetings on and/or fix photos in too. A current trend seems to be to scatter or pin/hang up tags, which guests will write messages on, then to stick these in an album after the wedding – your books would be ideal for this!

You could try tagging some of the books with “Guest Book”, along with the Wedding tags. I start with “Wedding” and “Album” or “Guest Book” as my primary tags, for many of my guest books/albums. It may be worth an experiment, to see if it brings you more interest from those searching for wedding items? For instance, your gorgeous Calendula Album, that you listed yesterday, is on Page 2 of the “Books and Zines”/”Album” category search. It doesn’t show up at all on the “Weddings”/”Album” search, which is a pity, as it would fit right in!
I use a mixture of primary tags for my books and it seems to work. I have definitely had more interest, since I started listing in the “Wedding” categories. This does seem to be the first place someone goes, whatever sort of item they need for their wedding!

Hopt this is helpful 🙂

By Elissa - 5 May 2011 Reply

Lizzie –

Thank you so much for the thoughtful feedback!

I agree that the peachy one is more appropriate for the gallery show. I was thinking of the darker color for guest books that wouldn’t be in the show. I do have a hard time with thinking more bride-y. I tend to pick combinations that I like…and I’m already married, so that’s not helpful.

I like your idea of promoting the photo albums as guest books too, so I’ll try tweaking my Etsy tags and text. I’m thrilled that you took the time to share your experience with me!


By Sarah - 5 May 2011 Reply

I second the peach combo. It brings out the details in the paper in a very lovely way.

By Elissa - 5 May 2011 Reply

Sarah –

Thanks! I’m digging the feedback…the peach one is growing on me…

🙂 Elissa

So what do you think? I'd love to know!

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