Book Binding Workshop

In this workshop I learnt how to make a hand stitched, multi signature case-bound book.


Equipment list:

  • Ruler
  • Pencil with a sharp point
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting Mat
  • Bone folder
  • A compass, etching tool or any other sharp point
  • Needle & Wax thread
  • Foam roller
  • Cartridge paper (or whatever you want you pages to be made out of)
  • Book cover fabric
  • Board for cover



  1. Cut paper for pages to size – my pages were 29.7x12cm and I had ten of them.
  2. Fold all paper in half. Then place one piece inside another, so that you have five signatures.
  3. On the spine of one of the signatures make two marks 1cm in from each end. Then make two more marks in from them, 3.3cm away. Transfer all four marks onto the rest of the signatures.img_8339
  4. Open each signature and using a sharp pointed tool, make small holes where the marks are. img_8340
  5. Thread your needle with wax thread, you will need about an arms length.
  6. Pick up your first signature, thread you needle through the first hole, from the outside in. Continue weaving through the first signature. img_8343
  7. Thread across into the next signature. Come out too the next hole in the second signature the across into the first. The out of the fist back into the second, and out again. img_8344
  8. Do the same with the third signature, however when you reach the end make a half knot by threading under the loop connecting the previous signatures. img_8345
  9. Do the same to the remaining signatures, knowing at the end of each signature. Finish with a double knot.
  10. Cut a piece of scrim slightly shorter then the hight of your completed page block, but about two inches wider than the spine.
  11. Apply a generous layer of PVA to the spine, filling in any gaps.
  12. Position scrim onto of the glue, making sure it is completely saturated. Then generously glue the sides of the scrim down onto the front and back pages of the block. img_8347
  13. Leave to dry under weight.
  14. Cut two pieces of board for your cover , they should be two millimetres bigger than the hight of your pages, and one millimetre smaller than the width of your pages.
  15. Also cut some bad for the spine of your book. One millimetre smaller than the width of the spine of your page block with the covers either side of it.
  16. Cover one of your cover board with a thin layer of PVA  using a foam roller. Then stick  to the back of your book cover fabric. Press down firmly.
  17. Next to the Spine edge of you board measure a gap three times bigger than the thickness of your cover board and draw a line.
  18. Next to that line, draw another at the width of your spine board.
  19. Then another, again three times bigger than the thickness of your cover board. img_8352
  20. Glue and stick you second cover board lined up with the third line drawn. Use a ruler pressed against the top edge of the both cover boards to make sure they are perfectly parallel to each other.
  21. Glue you spine board, into its allocated space between the cover boards. Make sure it is perfectly ventured and straight.
  22. Cut away excess fabric, about a rulers width away from the edge of the boards.
  23. Fold in a corner of the fabric, over the cover board, to make a forty-five degree crease.
  24. Draw a line and cut along that crease. Hoverer make sure to leave a gap from the corner of the board, that is at least the same as the thickness of the board. Repeat on all four corners. img_8353
  25. Glue the long sides of the fabric over onto the bard, using the foam roller again to apply the glue. Make sure to pull the fabric as tight as you can to make a nice clean edge.img_8356
  26. For the short sides, apply glue with the foam roller, but before sticking onto the boars, tuck any excess fabric at the corners of the board to make a much cleaner look. Then fold over an pull it tight.
  27. Finally we need to join out cover to our page block. Line up you pages perfectly inside the cover. Then place on the table.
  28. Open the cover, and without moving the book, place a peice of scrap paperer under the first page of the block.
  29. Using a fan roller apply glue to the back page of the block.
  30. Remove scrap paper, and lift cover over the page.
  31. Pick up book an make sure the pages are still perfectly positioned with in the cover. Then push down hard on the cover, securing the page.
  32. Open the book again an press down the edges of the page to the cover.
  33. Repeat on the other side of the book.
  34. Leave to dry for tweet-fore hours on the edge of the table (spine of the the edge) under weight.

Author: Crisiant Williams

I am a Fine Art student, studying at Cardiff School of Art and Design.

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