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  • Bookbinding Techniques 5. - Single Sheet Binding

    Single Sheet Binding

    This technique suites best when you have lots of individual sheets (or drawings, paintings, etc.) that you would like to combine into one book. It's a relatively easy technique and quite similar to coptic stitch.


    • Paper
    • Board
    • Booktape (optional)
    • Thread
    • Binding needles
    • Awl
    • Scissors
    • Cutting mat

    The Method Step by Step

    photos from Sea Lemon's video

    Optionally, you can use booktape on the edge of the paper where you’ll be binding in order to secure the paper from tearing.

    Measure about 13mm from the edge of the paper then mark three holes 2cm apart. Do the same on the other side.

    Then pierce the holes.

    The same on the cover.

    For this technique it is recommended to use bend needle – 6 needles to be exact, as each of the six holes will be bound with an individual thread.

    When beginning the binding start with the first hole on the first sheet,

    Come back around

    And tie a knot in the end.

    Go around to the first hole of the cover.

    Loop around the thread

    Repeat the same with the other holes.

    Beginning the second sheet with the first hole. Loop it around the paper,

    And then loop around the thread.

    Do the same with the remaining holes, then continue it until you reach the cover.

    Binding the cover is pretty much the same as binding the sheets.

    Loop around the first hole,

    Loop around the previous stitch,

    And back around the stitch once more through to the inside,

    And try a knot on the inside thread.

    Cut the excess thread, and repeat the same method with the remaining holes.

    And it’s finished!

  • Bookbinding Techniques 4. - Japanese binding

    What is Japanese Stab Binding?

    Japanese stab binding patterns are great for a simple, minimalist book design. As it won't be able to lay flat when it's open, it's ideal for display purposes. One of it's advantages, however, is that it's possible to add, take out or change the order of the sheets even after binding, therefore it's the ideal bookbinding pattern for photo albums and recipe books or collections.

    There are four major binding patterns.

    The Noble Binding ( Koki Toji)

    The Tortoise-shell binding (Kikko Toji)

    The Hemp-leaf binding (Asa-No-Ha-Toji)

    And the Four-hole binding (Yotsume Toji)

    In this guide, you'll learn how to do the 'beginner' pattern, the Four-hole binding.

    You’ll need:


    Cutting mat


    Binder clips




    Waxed thread

    Method: Step by Step


    Four images might not be enough to get it for the first time, but it is an easy technique!
    (Images from Sea Lemon's tutorial video)

    Make a template for the binding holes using a sheet of paper that’s the same size as your book.  First make a 1inch line from the spine’s edge, then fold the paper in half  three times. Unfold the paper and mark the place of four holes spaced like on the photo.

    Put the template on your book if it’s thin enough or you can do it in separate sections.

    Use an awl to make holes into the paper where you marked it on the template.

    It’s useful to clip the sheets together so they all stay together.

    For binding, you need to use a single thread without a knot at the end. Measure enough thread (around 5 times the height of your book, it’s better to have longer than to run out.)

    Take a portion of the book…

    and start from the bottom on the second hole.

    And leave about 4-5 inches ( 13 cm) at the end and leave it inside the book.

    Wrap it around to the bottom of the book and back through the same hole.

    Then comes the next hole…

    Wrap it around and go back through.

    When you reach the last hole wrap around and back through again

    Then wrap around the end and back through again.

    Make sure to keep the thread tight throughout!

    Next step is to weave through the following hole and always wrap around.

    Now you should be at the 2nd hole where you started from.

    And pull it through the last hole.

    Wrap around the back.

    Wrap around the end as you did the other side.


    And finish it with going back to the 2nd hole.

    Return the needle between the pages where the end of the thread is.

    Pull it through and tie the thread, cut the excess.

    And it’s finished!


    References & Photos:


  • Bookbinding Techniques 3. - Coptic Stitch

    Coptic Stitch

    Coptic stitch works best when you're binding lots of sheets together, so the binding pattern is more visible on the spine. At first it seems to be a more difficult technique, but once you get the hang of it, it's not more difficult than any other.

    You'll need

    • paper
    • board
    • bone folder
    • awl
    • waxed thread
    • binding needle
    • scissors
    • craft knife

    Method step by step:

    (Photos from Sea Lemon's video tutorial) 

    Start with folding your papers in half, and use the bone folder to smooth down the edges.

    Put the folded sheets together to create a signature (about four folded sheets makes up one signature)

    Stack the signatures evenly and mark the first hole about 5-6 cms  from the end of the paper, then mark two more 2,5 cm apart. Do the same thing on the other side.

    Pierce the holes on the cover board

    And on the signatures.

    Depending on the size of your book and the thread you use, you can double thread or use a single thread. Make sure to tie the end.

    You start from the bottom cover and one signature. Sew from the inside of the signature to the outside.

    And around and outside of the cover.

    Loop around the thread

    Then back to the signature through the same hole.

    Back to the next hole

    Around the cover

    Then loop around and back to the signature. Do the same with every hole.

    When you reach the last hole on the signature, loop around then grab the next signature and return the needle to the first hole.

    Go through the next hole

    Loop around

    The previous signature’s thread.

    Then back into the same hole

    And into the next hole. Repeat on the remaining holes.

    When you have the third signature, you make sure when you loop around the previous signature’s thread

    When you only have the last signature and the top cover left, you’ll be working with both.

    Start with the first hole on the cover

    Loop the around the same thread once

    And in the signature

    For the remaining stitches, loop around the previous signature first,

    Then into the cover

    Loop around the thread, then back into the signature.
    Repeat for the remaining holes.

    Once you’re finished, just tie the thread.



    • Coptic Stitch Sketchbook by Sea Lemon
    • //






  • Bookbinding Techniques 2. - Concertina

    Concertina, or Accordion Fold Book

    Folding-out booklets are not only good for interesting ways to sketch, but perfect for display purposes as well. And it's not too difficult to make on your own!

    What You'll Need:


    • Bonefolder
    • Ruler
    • Brush
    • Scissors or craft knife


    • 2 Bookboards
    • Bookcloth
    • 2 sheets of paper
    • PVA glue



    cut two long rectangles that are the same size.

    Fold them in half,

    ... then fold them like an accordion.

    until you have a "W" shape.

    If you want more sheets, you can make as many accordion fold as you want to, and you can just attach them together with glue.

    To make the covers, get two sheets of heavier paper/cardboard/bookboards that are slightly bigger than your folded booklet. If you want to cover it with bookcloth of paper, cut rectangles that are a few cms/inches bigger than the cover.

    Cut the edges of the paper/cloth...

    ... then glue them and fold them inside.

    This is how it should look outside and inside:

    Glue the inside of the cover and attach the first sheet of your accordion booklet.

    And it's finished!

    You can try making the book with watercolour or any other paper for sketching, or you can make a photo album, or something crazy that fits into an artist book.

    References and Photos:

  • Bookbinding Techniques - The Basics

    Make your own sketchbooks with this guide!

    General Terms and Tools

    Signature - is a set of papers folded in half once.
    Book block - is a set of signatures glued or sewn together; they make up the inside of the book.
    Endpapers - are the signatures attached to the front and the back covers.
    Headband / tailband - is a band looped around a strip of leather or rope.
    Hinge - is the part of the book near the spine where the book folds open
    Rib - Ribs are the thickening part of the spine - they are either created naturally by the ropes holding together the book block, or by using plastic 'fake' ribs.

    sewing needles
    waxed thread


    Bookbinding types

    In the following articles we'll introduce you the these popular bookbinding techniques:

    Pamphlet binding

    Coptic binding

    Japanese binding



    The first books were clay tablets from around 3800 BC Babylon era. Other different materials included Palm books made out of palm leaves or strips of bark.

    The next major type was the papyrus roll or scroll. These were made out of plant stems that were cut into fibre strips, soaked in the Nile and dried. After that they were hammered into sheets and whitened with ivory. They were really brittle, and could only be stored rolled up.

    Clay Tablet

    Wax tablets were another commonly used writing surface in Antiquity. They were made out of wood. Covered with a layer of wax, making it reusable and portable.

    Wax tablet and a Roman stylus

    The paper we think about nowadays was invented in China around 200 BC. The manufacture process was adopted by the Arabs and thus gradually spread to the west. The first paper mill in England was established in 1496 near Stevenage.

    A palm leaf Hindu text manuscript
    St Cuthbert's Gospel, the oldest surviving Western binding

    Bookbinding and paper was revolutionised by the invention of printing presses and printing, the invention of German Johannes Gutenberg (1456).

    The first printer in England, William Caxton, followed in less then twenty years.

    As printing increased the number of books, binding became a separate occupation. The 16th century saw the golden age of book covers as new fine tools made it possible to create exquisite designs.


    Contemporary use:

    Fine art/ artist books
    Handmade sketchbooks, journals
    Repair of antique books


  • Bookbinding Techniques 1. - Make a Pamphlet

    Pamphlet Binding

    In the series of Bookbinding Techniques, the first one introduces the Pamphlet binding. This is a good beginner technique that is also a classic  - with a few easy stitches you have a small booklet, which is also the base for more advanced techniques.

    You will need:


    Before stating the booklet, it's a good idea to make a template that you can use to determine the position of the holes on each folio(paper folded in half). Grab a piece of paper that's exactly the same length as the 'spine' of your folio. Measure 3, 4 or 5 holes (2 towards the top and 2 towards the bottom of the spine) depending on the length of your paper. Then pierce the paper where you marked it with the awl or an embroidery needle. Next, you can place the template and pierce each folio with the help of the template.


    The stitch with 3 holes 

    Pierce three holes using the template.

    Measure the thread that should be three times the length of your signature ( multiple folios that you want to stitch together). Pull the thread through the 2nd hole, but don't tie a knot on the end yet.

    Continue towards the 1st hole, as show on the photo below.


    Next you want to pull the tread out at the 3rd hole...

    ... then pull the thread through the 2nd hole again. Tighten the thread and

    And lastly, tie the thread around the one running along the spine and then cut off the excess thread.

    Pamphlet stitch is a great beginner technique, and it's good for poetry or artist books or zines. You can also use many different types of paper for this technique, from transfer paper to watercolour.


    References and Photos:


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