Tag Archives: Book Works

Bookbinding Workshop

I feel I’ve been in creative limbo over the summer due to “the builders being in” so my energy has been taken up deciding on colour schemes and furnishings. Now I have time to consider my practice and develop a new body of work.

I’ve made my own journals and workbooks for several years but am self taught through on-line videos and text books.. I’m drawn to books both for their practicalities and their sculptural qualities – lifting 2D images to 3D. It was with excitement that I saw a workshop being run by Ina Baumeister from Book Works at Arnofini Arts Centre, in conjunction with the Richard Long exhibition Time and Space.

The morning started with a look at different bindings with reference to the subsequent use of the book. Ina suggest we made a lepoello book to house mementoes of the exhibition – the catalogue, a few blank pages for notes and a map of Bristol.

Materials and equipment:

Bone folder
Scalpel with sharp blade
set square
Cutting mat
PVA glue (craft not wood)
Sponge roller and glue tray
paper for pages
Linen thread
Long, small eyed needle
Grey board for cover
Card stock for attaching pages to
Book cloth


P1000928 (800x600)

A reminder of the name of the folds – mountain and valley.

P1000932 (800x600)

.The catalogue.

P1000931 (800x600)

Check the grain of the paper – one way will fold easier than the other.  Fold ALL papers at once, knock down, butt up to a firm edge on the fold, check pages are square.

P1000934 (800x600)

Measure from the bottom as paper has been knocked down. Cut one page at a time to the same size as the catalogue.

P1000935 (800x600)

A 2 cm template to score the fold lines. Score well by using a little pressure.

Always start with the middle fold and work outwards.

P1000936 (800x600)

As there were 3 items to bind into the book 3 mountain folds were required.


P1000938 (800x600)

A spacer or reinforcer.

P1000941 (601x800)

Ina showing 3 hole binding – 10mm top and bottom then 3rd hole dead centre.

P1000942 (800x600)

5 hole binding.

P1000940 (800x600)

Make the holes using a temple. Mark the head of the temple  – 10mm from top and bottom then dead centre, cut notches  on these marks. Mark the head of the pages. Line up template in the fold of the pages. Hang the pages a little way over the table edge then use same needle as used for binding,  prick the holes at 45 degree angle.

Label the template for future reference.

Use linen thread (2 lengths + a little extra per set of pages)  and a small eyed needle, start in the middle from outside to inside and always stitch in the same direction i.e. in through the middle hole, out through the bottom hole, in through the top hole, out through the middle hole.Tighten thread by pulling in the same direction as it was sewn. Finish off with thread either side of vertical thread and tie off, trim knot.

P1000943 (800x600)

Check the size of the card – the width of the catalogue (blank pages etc) + the width of the concertina fold (2cm)

P1000944 (800x600)

This needs to be done on both sides.

P1000939 (800x600)

Glue the spacer/reinforcer over the outside folds so covering the knots.

P1000945 (601x800)

Diagram showing how to measure and construct the cover.

Find the grain of the grey board as all pieces of the cover must be the same way. Check with set square edges are square.

Width of cover = width of page minus 1mm

Height of cover = height of page + 6mm

(This allows 3mm at the head and tail)

Width of spine = (covers + contents) – 1mm

Height of spine = height of cover

P1000948 (800x600)

Paste up grey board using sponge roller and PVA glue. Place on book cloth which has been cut to an approximate size. Use rule as guide to ensure all pieces of the cover line up – allow 6mm between front cover and spine and spine and back cover. After placing each part onto cloth turn over and smooth down.

P1000951 (800x600)

Using a straight edge as template (rule) cut excess book cloth from around the cover. Draw 45 degree angle at each corner. This needs to be at least the width of the grey board away from the board. Stick the two long sides  around the board, easing the book cloth up gently then the two shorter sides.

P1000952 (800x600)

Place a piece of waste paper between the end page and the contents – glue, remove and discard the waste paper then place the book content carefully between the covers. When perfectly in place flip the cover onto the glued end page and then check it is in the correct place before gently smoothing it down. Repeat for the other cover.

Place a piece of blotting paper between the end pages and the fly sheet to absorb moisture from the glue.

Place under a weighted object, leaving the spine exposed, until the glue is dry.

P1000954 (800x600)

On the first opening push the cover into the spine to ensure a clean opening of the book on subsequent openings.