Bookbinding Workshop


I attended the book binding workshop after working for a small while in Artist books, I wanted to go to the workshop in order to start a more professional style to my books.

When cutting the paper for the pages of the books think about the grain of the paper as this effects the way the paper bends.

To make the pages for the book the pages all need to be folded in half, then one set of pages need to be inserted into the other to create a signature. Then on the first signature mark evenly spaces dots where the book will be bound. Then with a steady hand follow this mark over all the pages on the spine to create the dots on each page.


After this open the signatures flat and punch the dots through to holes using the sharp tool. Once complete it is ready to be sewn together.  Then following a strict pattern sew the pages together, making sure to keep it tight to have a neat book.


Then when all pages are sewn as a complete set cut a piece of scrim just short of the height of the spine and about three times the width, this will be glued on to reinforce the spine. This element of the book is called the book-block.


The next stages are the final stages and are a little less difficult, on a piece of card measure out two covers, this needs to measure 2mm longer on the height than the book-block and 2mm shorter on the width, this will create the idea amount of over hang on the book and will give the professional finish. Then create a spine for the book, use the same measurement for the height of the spine, then take the book-block and measure it with the two covers take this measurement and take 1mm off and thats the size of the spine.

Then with the Book Cloth at the ready put the covers on the book cloth, start with one, then to mark out the gap for the hinge it is the cover card x three, so with the 2mm card today the gap would be 6mm, then put the second cover on and finally put the spine in the middle.

The final stage was to glue the Book-block into the cover for the finished piece. This is to be done in two steps, first of all put the glue on the front page then push the cover down and ensure the paper is fixed, repeat the other side and leave shut for a day. Then after a day this will be the completed dried final piece.


I am hoping to use this method to create a scaled up version of this book and develop art works to create an A4 book for a ‘final idea’ or a polished piece of art. To do this I will create a mock version of the book labelling the art I will make and potentially the materials I will need to create the work, looking through the works created so far and so forth will enable me to be prepared for a professional looking final piece.

This is inspired by the professional looking books that Tom Martin has created over his years as an artist, and how I first discovered Dieter Roth as an artist book maker and creator. I have once visited the artist book collection in the library however I will attempt to view it again in the near future.


Thankfully even though there was a large gap between the workshop and my final piece my documentation of the bookbinging course has allowed me to regain the skill and talk myself through the piece. I decided to make a small minature of my final piece, this was for two reasons, to be able to create a visual for how the book would look and also to enable to me to have a practice round. Thank goodness I did as I have sucessfully made two little professional books. The minature also allowed me to make a mistake, which I was able to rectify before making the final piece, this was that the spine was too large and that I needed to make it smaller in comparison. This may of happened because prescicision is not my biggest skill and this is a very precise skill to need to make a book. All in all I feel the skill of bookbinding has been my biggest success of the year, and possibly of my artistic life, as I feel so proud to have am object that I have 100% made from scratch.




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