The Projector

Amusements & Useful Devices from K. A. Wisniewski

An Introduction to Book-Binding … Workshop

Two weeks ago, my paper history course had its latest workshop, on printing.  We were fortunate to use the under-utilized printing facility at Stevenson in a workshop led by printer, artist, instructor and proprietor of Pellinore Press, Ursula Minervini.  A few of my colleagues in the Public History Department even visited for the event!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Our final workshop–dedicated to book-binding–will be held in just a few short weeks.

This will be another difficult session to manage in terms of time, as we attempt to balance readings (theory, history) with the hands-on approach (practical, critical-making) I’ve tried to model all semester.

Because of time restraints, I’ve asked a little more from students with this assignment than past work this semester.  Two weeks before the project, I gave students four types of book-stitching patterns and asked them to not only review them, but also make some critical decisions related to the type of book they will produce in this session (stitch-type, size, cutting and folding) and to arrive to class with paper/boards.  Below is the assignment that will tentatively follow this preparation:

The Assignment

Time Allotted: 90 minutes

Bookbinding is a crucial, yet often neglected, process in the History of the Book. We have already seen some of the earliest types of binding with wood boards and palm fronds in the East. In the West, binding developed by the sixth century with the rise of the codex and again during the Middle Ages with the emergence of the illuminated manuscript. The 18th century witnessed a surge in book production and, gradually by the period, the role of binding became separate from both paper-making and book binding. Binding itself became an art form and profession.

Due to time restraints, we can’t practice complicated sewing projects or perfect binding (using glue as the spine adhesive since it takes time for the layers of glue to dry). But again this exercise is intended to only give you a glimpse into the process.

On Blackboard, I have offered a small sampling of “simple” sewn book binding models (book scans & DIY videos). For this project you are encouraged to do some research on your own, but ultimately your project will probably fall into one of the categories below.


(1)  Have a plan:

Do your homework, and decide what kind of binding you will do in class.

(2)  Project, Paper & Initial Cuts:

Bring your paper (and required materials) with you and, if possible, make the initial cuts or folds. The more prepared you are, the better.

Materials I will Bring to Class

  • Clips
  • Awls
  • Bone folders
  • Scissors
  • Rulers
  • Waxed thread and ribbon
  • Cutting mats
  • Needles
  • Glue
  • Selected 8.5×11 white / color copy and card stock paper

Stitch Models

Three-Hole Pamphlet Stitch

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



Five-Hole Pamphlet Stitch

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



Four-Hole Japanese Book-Binding

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



4 comments on “An Introduction to Book-Binding … Workshop

  1. k.a.wisniewski
    November 6, 2017

    Reblogged this on Mulberry, Mummies & Marshes.


  2. Pingback: Types of Book-Binding – Mulberry, Mummies & Marshes

  3. Pingback: Types of Book-Binding: An Introduction | K. A. Wisniewski

  4. Pingback: Bookbinding / Bookmaking Workshop Results | K. A. Wisniewski

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: