short and creative

Bookbinding tips and tricks!

For a long time I was meaning to bring together and share my notes and tips from the bookbinding workshop this year. It seems like this is just about time to cover this one! ^_^

Topics list:

1. Simple booklet design.

2. How to check and fold the paper?

3. How to prepare the string?

4. How to make cover corners? ( two styles) 

5. How to cook the glue for Japanese bookbinding?

6. Japanese traditional bookbinding example.

1. Simple booklet design.


You will need just trimmed paper, non-trimmed thicker cover paper, bookbinder’s bone, string, knife, needle and imagination to customize this super basic design.

Add just a tiny drop of glue to the node and keep the booklet open till the glue is dried.

2. How to check and fold the paper?
The first thing you do is check your paper and cardboard. You need to understand which way the fibers are directed. There are three easy ways to do that.
1. to tear 2. to bend 3. to fold

In each situation you will see how the paper resists to your action or the other way around. In the final design your fibers should be parallel to the crease.


3. How to prepare the string?


4. How to make cover corners?

Before you start with the corners you have to make sure all the fibers (in the cardboard and in the fabric) are parallel to the crease. After you have glued your raw cover to the fabric you can start to work with corners. Make sure to leave approx. 2 cm of fabric around the cover.

There are two traditional ways to do the corners. In the first one you make an easier cut that’s why it claims to be a “beginner corner”.

1. Use a piece of cardboard (same as cover) to measure the distance from the corner. Add 1 mm to the original distance and mark the fabric. 2. Draw a half circle line and cut the material out. Cut all the corners before gluing. 3. Brush one side with the glue. The glue can be simple PVA. Sometimes they make it more soft and liquid by mixing in some water. 4. Crease the side with a bone and press it to the inner side of the cover. 5. Cut a small piece of the material. Do not cut the originally measured and marked distance. 6.Add glue and fold the corner in, then crease the fabric and press to cover.

The second corner style.

1. Use a ruler to mark the 90 degrees lines from the cover. 2. Use a piece of cardboard (same as the cover) to mark the piece of fabric which will be covering the corner. 3. Cut the marked area out.Cut all the corners before gluing. 4. Apply the glue to one of the sides. 5. Crease with a bone. Fold the extra little piece of fabric to cover the other side of the corner. Press the fabric to the cover. Push as much extra glue out as you can! 6. Cut extra fabric. 7. Crease and fold in all the corners.

5. How to cook the glue for Japanese bookbinding?

Japanese booklet traditionally starts from cooking your custom glue.

6. Japanese traditional bookbinding example.

The actual bookbinding process then usually starts with a big (around 100x150 cm) piece of rice paper, which you fold and cut as illustrated till you have a stack of folded even papers. Then you create a template and according to it you make holes in the stacked papers. Make sure that your holes are opposite to the folded sides of the papers! 

Then use a small piece of rice paper (with unstructured fibers) and apply some premade and cooled off glue on it. Stretch the glue paper through the holes. This paper is the main construction and holding part of the traditional Japanese booklet.

Let the glue dry and make the corners from the cover paper. Fold and cut the cover paper. Then apply the same template to punch the binding holes. You should start the biding from the back and center.


This is it! Good luck! =)

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