This weekend I took the Bookbinding I intensive class at The Crucible in Oakland. This is right up my alley — I like working with paper and fabric, and I found that those skills carried over nicely.

We started with paper folding and learned about some subtle aspects of paper. Plain copy paper is surprisingly high quality for book purposes. It has notably different sides, too, and will accept folding better if you pick the right side: if you bend it lengthwise on each side, you can find one is slightly more accepting of the bend than the other. It’s called the “wet test” as I guess getting it wet can also reveal that too. Probably destroys your paper along the way though.

There’s a lot of cutting of paper and fabric, so an eye for measurement and mat cutting or other Xacto knife experience comes in handy. A little bit of needlework experience from cross-stitching, crochet, or knitting also helps for the bindings.

This was a fun way to use fabric and paper remnants. I’ve started a Creative Bookbinding board on Pinterest to gather neat applications of these, and I’m already planning a few more books to make.

In order, we made:

  • Folded “maze books”
  • Folded paper bound as an accordion book
  • A stack of paper bound into a book with Japanese stab binding
  • Folios (small 3-5 page books with simple folds) and signatures (a collection of 6-10 of these) bound into a book with Coptic binding
  • A stack of paper bound as a softcover book with “perfect” binding
  • A stack of paper bound as a hardcover book
  • A laminate made from comic pages