Bookbinding for Pleasure

Whether you are an artist, a writer, or simply love beautiful journals, this is an opportunity to create handmade books using methods that haven't changed for centuries. 

This course provides a solid grounding on the basics of traditional bookbinding and is a perfect springboard for diving into handmade books.

Make decorative paste-papers and at least 4 differently bound books (concertina, single & multi section booklet, button-hole & French link binding).

By the end of the week, you will be able to make a gorgeous book out of unexpected materials or a traditional binding with conventional supplies.

Go on to use your creations as beautiful notebooks, visual diaries, sketchbooks, or personalised gifts.  Continue your bookbinding journey in a traditional way or by pushing the boundaries of what a book can be…


Course Info

Day One

Book structure, decorative papers, concertina, and single section books

After introductions and settling into our room we’ll discuss the structure of books and deconstruct a hardback for repurposing. With that fun out of the way, we’ll get stuck into making our decorative paste papers. In the afternoon we will make a concertina book and a single section pamphlet-stitch book.

Day Two

Kettle stitch, button-hole, and sheets of paper

The concertina cover and sections for our kettle stitch book are created from repurposed paper bags and a kettle stitch is used to sew the sections into the cover. From a variety of new and upcycled papers we will create altered pages for our button-hole binding and two French link bindings. Next we will make the cover for our button-hole book, create a template for the sheets that will be folded into sections, trim these to a final size, mark for piercing and then sew the sections into our covers using a button-hole stitch.

Day Three

Button-hole and French link (open spine & casebound)

Picking up from yesterday, we finish our Button-hole books and move on to preparing sections for our French link books. Traditionally this is a casebound book, but it can be made as open spine. So, double up on sheets for making two books roughly A5 sized. From our sheets of paper, we will create sections and trim to size. We will sew our French link (casebound) text block, attach endpapers, and lightly glue up the spine. While it cures we will prepare the hinged front and back covers for the open spine binding. Our afternoon will be peaceful while we focus on sewing our books.

Day Four

French link (open spine & casebound)

We continue with our French Link bindings, alternating between the casebound and open spine book.

Day Five

Wrapping up

Today is an opportunity to put some finishing touches on our books, share ideas for future projects and discuss any questions that haven’t been answered during the week… After that we can have a final tidy up and arrange our work for display. Then it will be time to get out and about and see what our fellow creatives have been up to during the week.


No prior experience required

Please bring the following on your first day of class:

  • One clean standard plastic bucket for cleaning up
  • Two or three old tea towels or cleaning rags
  • Pencil
  • Sharpener
  • Eraser
  • Three tubes of acrylic paint – your fave colours
  • Mark-making tools eg. plastic forks, plastic cards, sponges
  • Three clean wide paint brushes for applying paste
  • A roll of good quality baking paper (silicone coated)
  • An A3 sketch pad, acid free, 110gsm or heavier (optional)

Your class has an extra cost of $30 – this cost includes:

  • Basic tool kit for you to borrow for the week
  • Bookbinding adhesives
  • Hardcover books for deconstructing
  • Decorative and plain papers
  • Paste for paste papers
  • Book board and book cloth
  • Sewing needles and coloured thread
  • ‘Mark-making’ tools for paste papers

Please have your payment ready on the first day.

Happy Camper Reviews

Monique Buchbach
Course Tutor

Monique Buchbach

Monique is a traditional bookbinder who learnt her trade repairing books for a state library back in the 90s.

She is passionate about bookbinding and works to ensure that this age-old traditional trade survives by sharing the knowledge and skills she has acquired throughout the years. She is particularly interested in repurposing materials, such as old books that she deconstructs and reassembles into large sheets of paper for handmade journals, paper bags and attractive packaging.

She loves sharing her enthusiasm for handmade books with others.

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