Bookbinding for Pleasure

Learn how to bind books using the traditional techniques that haven't changed for centuries. If you are an artist, writer, or just love well-made books, you will enjoy creating these beautiful keepsake journals as handmade gifts or for yourself.

You’ll learn about the structure of the book, as well as essentials like paper grain, adhesives, and tools. Monique will show you how to prepare book cloth, decorative papers, guards, and altered pages (pockets, guards, windows).

You’ll learn a variety of skills in order to create four differently bound books – a pamphlet stitch, a Lumbecking, a Coptic stitch, and a French link.

The fourth book will be a personal project that incorporates your own decorative papers, ephemera, and altered pages.

You’ll be able to choose from a selection of papers and materials to augment your project.


Course Info

Day One

Book structure and decorative papers

First, we will discuss the structure of books, and deconstruct a book to demonstrate the process. Next, we will prepare book cloth for our bindings and make decorative papers for our endpapers.

After that, we will make a simple single-section pamphlet stitch book, and, time permitting, look at accordion structures.

Day Two

Lumbecking and Coptic Stitch books

We will prepare our signatures – bundles of paper folded for the Coptic stitch and single folded sheets for our Lumbecked book.

While the glue on the spine of our Lumbecked text block greens, we will prepare the cover for our Coptic stitch binding. With our boards covered for the Coptic stitch book, we can prepare our signatures for sewing by piercing the sewing stations and waxing our thread. Working back and forth on the two binding styles will keep us busy for the day!

Day Three

Pasting up and casing in our Lumbecked book

After the Lumbecked text block has been prepared with its scrim, ribbons, endbands, and spine lining, it is ready for the cover to be made and our books cased in.

Once that’s completed, we’ll focus on finishing our paired needle Coptic stitch binding.

Day Four

Personal Journal with French link sewing

Today we will create A4 sheets using decorative papers, ephemera and special personal touches. We will experiment with altering pages and creating pockets and windows for our signatures, as well as inserting guards to prevent foredge swelling. When we have enough A4-sized sheets for 13 signatures, we will prepare them for sewing.

Day Five

Pasting up and casing in our personal journal

Following the sewing of yesterday’s text block, we will attach our endpapers, glue up the spine, and affix a bookmark ribbon, endbands, and scrim. We will then make our cases and then paste up our journals.

At the end of our week, we’ll take time to reflect on the different work completed and have a show and tell of our completed personal journals.

No prior experience required

To be supplied by participant

Glue brush – good quality one-inch wide paintbrush

A clean, standard plastic bucket for preparing book cloth

Pencil, sharpener, eraser,

Containers – minimum of five small containers (250ml) for paste papers

Three tubes of acrylic paint – your fave colours

A variety of ‘mark-making’ tools eg. plastic forks, plastic cards, sponges, balloons, scrunched alfoil

Any decorative papers, ephemera, ribbons, special cards you’ve been holding onto and wanting to ‘do something’ with

Supplied by the tutor

A basic tool kit for you to borrow for the week

Plain paper for the first three bindings and board for covers

Thread, needles, book board, fabric for prepping as book cloth

A variety of ‘mark-making’ tools


A $30 materials fee will be payable to the tutor on the first day.

Monique Buchbach
Course Tutor

Monique Buchbach

Monique first learnt bookbinding skills and techniques as an apprentice at the Queensland State Library’s Preservation Department.
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 upcycling waste materials, such as old books that she deconstructs and reassembles the pages into large sheets of paper for handmade journals.

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