Making the Pages

The Lindisfarne Gospels are painted on vellum sheets made from calf skin. Reproduce the effect of these ancient pages for your Research Book by staining paper with tea bags. Use A4 cartridge paper. You could also collect other different types of paper too.

 

Prepare your paper with tea bags

  • Crumple up a sheet of white paper into a tight ball
  • Open up and smooth out. Make it damp by running it under the tap (Image 1)
  • Make a pot of tea with lots of tea bags in it
  • Place tea bags on paper, squish and splat! (Image 2) Place a second sheet of paper on top and leave for a couple of hours (Image 3)
  • Remove tea bags, dry paper and iron flat (Image 4)
  • Experiment with square, round, triangular tea bags. Arrange them in patterns
  • Make watermarks by cutting cardboard shapes and laying them into the wet tea. Allow to dry before removing.

 

 

Image of smoothed out paper
Image 1 - Smooth out paper
 

Image 1 - Smooth out paper

 

Image of tea bags on paper
Image 2 - Squish and splat

Image 2 - Squish and splat

 

Image of paper
Image 3 - Leave for a couple of hours

Image 3 - Leave for a couple of hours

 

Image of ironed paper
Image 4 - Iron flat

Image 4 - Iron flat

 

Make a cover for your Research Book

 

The original cover of the Lindisfarne Gospels is missing but it would almost certainly have had an ornate binding. Aldred, the monk who added the Old English translation of the gospels in the tenth century writes that "Billfrith the Anchorite (hermit) forged the ornaments which are on it on the outside and adorned it with gold and with gems and also with gilded-over silver - pure metal". The Gospels were rebound in 1853 in a style thought to reflect Billfrith's original design.

 

  • Cut two sheets of stiff card which are slightly bigger than the pages of the book
  • Lay the sheets out on a table leaving a 1cm wide space between them
  • Cut a strip of thinner card and glue this across this 1cm space. This forms the folding spine of the cover (see Image 1)
  • Draw out a design on the front cover of the book. The design should be reasonably simple. It could be based on one of the other Explore Projects that you will find on the rest of this site
  • Cut lengths of string. Dip the string in white PVA glue and stick into position on top of your drawn design. Allow to dry (see Image 2)
  • Cover the string and the rest of the cover (front and back) with a layer of fancy paper or toilet tissue paper dipped in white PVA glue or in wallpaper paste.(see Images 3 and 4)
  • If you have used toilet tissue or white paper you can then use some of your hand made paints to paint the cover. Apply a coat of acrylic matt varnish so that the paint doesn't rub off (see Image 5)

Making the cover

 

Image of horizontal pattern
Image 4 - Horizontal pattern cover

Image 4 - Horizontal pattern cover

 

Image of finished book cover
Image 5 - Finished cover

Image 5 - Finished cover