Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bookbinding 101

Anna Low, of Purplebean Bindery, is a very talented book binder. After attending one of her demos last year, I couldn't wait to take her full-day course on Coptic Book Binding at Fiber College.

It was a lot of fun but not quite as easy as it seemed.
Now I know why hand bound books can be expensive . . .
a lot of love goes into each one.

In order to be able to follow Anna's instructions, we had to learn some new terminology.
FOLIO:  folded paper...will eventually make 2 pages
SIGNATURE:  a group of folios bound together

A hand-bound book is usually made up of five or more signatures stitched together.

The paper for each folio must be cut exactly.

Then a minimum of three folios are put together to make each signature.

We bound each signature with colored rice paper, using acid free glue.

Once all off the signatures were assembled and the glue was dry, we punched them, using an awl.
Old phone books were used to both help align the paper and to protect the table beneath from all of our enthusiastic newbie punching.

We each brought old books to rebind. The front and back covers were removed with an exacto knife and the signatures sewn in. There are many types of bindings but the one Anna taught us, Coptic binding, is one of the oldest.

And, after eight hours, here is my finished book. Fussy me finished last but I was pleased with the result of my first attempt. Anna was a very patient teacher.

Anna is a creative book binder who often repurposes individual cereal and soap boxes to make playful mini-bookcovers using the commercial text and graphics. She also uses the covers of vintage children's books to rebind into blank books and journals. Perfect gifts for Boomers!
Artist Book titled The Year I Missed Campbell's
You can see more of Anna's work at her Etsy store, Purplebean Bindery.
A Bitty Polka Dot Journal with 365 Pages, One for Every Day of the Year
Her books are truly works of art.
I just went to JoAnn's with a 40% off coupon and bought myself an awl.
I think I'll be binding a few more books this fall . . .
thanks to Anna!
This post is coptically stitched to :
Tutorial Tuesday at Hope Studios
Show & Share at Coastal Charm
Tweak It Tuesday at Cozy Little House


  1. Thanks so much for sharing these cute ideas at my Show and Share Party.


  2. Thank you for showing some of the steps and choices made in making your books. I love the rice paper bindings. I'm a new reader of your blog and am also stumbling into geezerhood! Thanks for sharing.


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