Favorites: Bookbinding

Posted on Sep 18, 2014 in Behind the Art
Favorites: Bookbinding

Bookbinding is an old art. People still do it today but how often do you run across a handbound book? I love books in general — holding them, turning the pages, putting them in my bookcase. So the idea that I can make books is great.


I started making books in college. We had to make a book as a final project in my screenprinting class. I made mine about Fowl. (If you’re unaware of my love for birds by now, where have you been? Take a look at my printmaking work in the portfolio.) I ended up staying at school well into the night, frantically screenprinting vellum and specialty paper so that I could sew it all together into a hardcover book.

I was kind of hooked after that. I researched different binding techniques. I bought a bunch of bookbinding supplies (with my handy art store employee discount — no will power!). I even checked out bookbinding books from the school library.

One of the things that I love about bookbinding is the process.


  • measuring and cutting paper
  • gathering the paper into sections
  • cutting the boards

  • sewing the sections
  • gluing the covers onto the boards
  • attaching the cover to the book block

I enjoy things that have steps I can follow. The guesswork is taken out during the preparation. All I have to do is assemble and worry about quality. Bookbinding is an art where craftsmanship is important. I won’t say that my handmade books are perfect (they’re not) but with each one the quality improved.

I haven’t made any books in a long while. I don’t really have the space to do a lot of bookbinding. But I have a giant box under my bed filled with paper. It’s just waiting to used. I might get rid of some of the canvases I’ve been hoarding but I’ll keep the paper.

Side note: Do you know how difficult it is to photograph books? I took 100+ photos and they’re all terrible.

What crafts do you enjoy doing? Let me know in the comments.