Bookbinding – a new skill

I have always loved journals/notebooks and writing/drawing in them, there is nothing nicer than a blank page that holds so much hope. The crispness of a blank page and the joy it gives you when it is finished. I love a journal/notebook.

After spending many years and lots on money buying them I thought how nice it would be to make my own for myself and for friends. There is a great place in Hackney called London Centre for Book Arts, they do day workshops in various aspects of bookbinding so I signed up /

Introduction to Bookbinding 1: Pamphlets, Stab Bindings & Concertinas

During the workshop we learnt how to fold and manipulate paper using specialist bookbinding tools – who knew how complicated it was to fold a piece paper, I had no idea.  Our first task was to make a concertina but first you get to choose the colours of paper and book cloth you want – a very important decision which involved changing my mind many times. I ended up with brown paper and a mustard colour book cloth.  We then moved onto pamphlets, where you fold sheets of paper into a pamphlet, add a cover and then sew the spine. This gives you the bases of bookbinding which helps with the next 2 workshops. The final part of the workshop was stab binding, similar to Japanese open spine where the sewing is exposed. This was much trickier and the detail in sewing was quite intense. The workshop is about 6 hours long and in the beginning you wonder what will fill that time but at the end of it you realize that you need every minute to finish the books. It was also nice to have no phone calls/emails – when do you ever get the chance to do something creative/crafty for a long period of time? It was such a joy to learn some new skills.

Bookbinding ‘tools of the trade’

Introduction to Bookbinding 2: Single Section Case Binding

I was really looking forward to this workshop as we end up with an actual journal – very exciting. We first chose our book cover and end papers, these are the papers that you see when you first open a book. So we folded our paper, stabbed the pages and then sewed them together. We stuck on the end papers, made head-bands, these are the 2 small tabs that stick out at the top and bottom of the book spine – we made our own – very cool, we also added in a book-mark to complete the look. Next thing was to put the book cover on and voila I made a book. We also got to foil block an image on the front.

Completed journal with foil blocking

Introduction to Bookbinding 3: Round-back Case Binding

This workshop was a lot more complicated. We had to make sections and then sew them together with very intricate sewing, this was so that it held together as we were using a lot of paper to make a bigger book. We stuck on the end papers, made head-bands and added in a book-mark. We then had to round the spine. You do this by putting the spine over the end of a table and hammering along the glued spine so that it rounds. The end results were amazing once the cover was put on and I was ready to start making my own books/journals to give as gifts.


Following my bookbinding courses I took a short on how to foil block, thought this would make a great way to finish of my books and personalise them.

Since finishing my course I have been to the studio at LBCA for 2 full days and I have made 7 complete journals from scratch and have given them to friends who were so pleased with the end results. For some of them I bought Liberty print and they got to choose which one they wanted their journal made in. Below are some images of the completed books.

I am so happy to have learnt a new skill and something very creative that starts from choosing what paper you want inside your journal to the finish. I highly recommend LBCA, the courses are great, the tutors are brilliant and working in the studio with like-minded people is such a joy.

Smile every day


Author: dellasbeautifulinterestinglife

I love to smile

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