Ex Libris, what’s that? If this thought just went through your mind, don’t worry, you’re not the only one. As a book binder an owner of *a few* books, I started using Ex Libris book plates a long time ago. Actually, my mother used them in the books my brother and I grew up with. They had scarecrows on them and I used to think they were pretty neat. But not everyone knows about the joys of using Ex Libris book plates.
To clarify, ‘Ex Libris’ and ‘book plates’ are the same thing.
A simple online search shows that Ex Libris (latin) literally means: from the books (of). Traditionally it would have the owner’s name and/or a coat of arms printed right on it and is pasted into the front of the book.
The book plates would all be the same, as would the bindings of the entire library. (I suppose they never considered organizing their bookshelves by colour!)
I used to purchase book plates and one day wondered why I didn’t try my hand at making my own. I am, after all, an art college graduate. How hard could it be?
Not too difficult, after minimal trial and error. My first attempts were printed on simple washi paper, which would be pasted in using rice paste. I printed them in chocolate brown. Since then I’ve switched to printing on self-adhesive paper for convenience and ease of use. And I print in fun colours!
I’ve had Ex Libris book plates in my Etsy shop for a while now, but recently printed 2 more editions. One is an older lino cut, and another I created just for the end of 2013!
These are the new ones! I love the simplicity and bold lines. The line work represents rays of sunshine and the dawning of a new day, or in this case the new year. Sometimes, it might also represent staying up all night, till dawn’s first light, because you were reading a really good book. It happens.
Using Ex Libris book plates keeps your books organized, in check and it might even impress your friends. If you’re liking the sounds of this you should check out my Etsy shop and keep your eyes peeled this weekend for a fun Cyber Monday sale with free gifts, which just might be packs of Ex Libris book plates!!
What are your favourite books to keep labelled, organized and in check?