Home bookbinding kits & ideas?

j_polo9's picture

I am looking for an easy home bookbinding kit i can buy (cheap is good) or pick up at my local craft store. Any ideas? I don't really have any preference on stitching or glue or anything, just looking for some ideas to try out.


Graham McArthur's picture

I don't know of any home kits apart from various ring binder sets. What sort of binding are you thinking of? You can make a few simple home made tools and jigs to make binding easier. If you want to know what direction contemporary hand binding is going in check out The Bonefolder newsletters [a contemporary book binders sight with lots of info: http://www.philobiblon.com/bonefolder/index.html
Also look here for some ideas on simple and not so simple hand bound books: http://myhandboundbooks.blogspot.com
There are a number of very good, easy to follow books on home made bindings using readily found and made tools. If you can provide some more specific aims then I could recommend some books.

j_polo9's picture

Ahh very interesting, thanks for the links!

I think i will want to work on some journals in the future but for now I just want to put together some very small books with normal printer paper, probably a glued spine with a bit more sturdy cover...

Any ideas?

Graham McArthur's picture

Jesse, I would recommend that if you are serious about case binding then forget about those 'paper craft' style of books you will find in most bookshops and look for the titles such as "The Thames and Hudson Manual of Bookbinding" by Arthur Johnson. This should still be available and it has been invaluable to me (I am a bookbinder). Another smaller & cheaper book by Johnson is "The Practical Guide to Craft Bookbinding". Craft in this context refers to hand made books using traditional hand tools as opposed to the use of machines as in contemporary mass production. When I was in college we were tutored in hand tools and traditional binding first before commercial binding.
Both books offer clear easy to follow instructions with excellent illustrations. All tools are easy to get or make yourself. Another good book if you can get it is "Bookbinding as a Handcraft" by Manly Banister (Stirling publishing NY). This book uses B/W photos which are not always clear, however it does have instructions and diagrams for making your own tools including a home made nipping press.
The bookbinders bible in my day was "Bookbinding its background and technique" by Edith Diehl in two volumes, but also available in a paper back single volume. But for those just starting I would suggest the Johnson books.

oprion's picture

Ahh, this brings back memories. There used to be a great Soviet book-binding kit in the late eighties / early nineties. Compact, versatile and inexpensive. Haven't seen anything comparable since then.

Personal Art and Design Portal of Ivan Gulkov

j_polo9's picture

ahh thanks, I purchased The Practical Guide to Craft Bookbinding. It may be more in depth than what i was searching for but I find it fascinating to learn about a craft for which I have no current knowledge!

AtoZ's picture

“...I just want to put together some very small books..."

If you mean small trim sizes, you might be interested in ZoomAlbum.net.

Also, although it takes away the fun and pride (or sorrow and shame) of doing your own binding, you might take a look at Blurb.net.
         When going from A to Z,
         I often end up At Oz.

dberlow's picture


...shows what can be done on the up-side of this market.


Linda Cunningham's picture

Talas (http://www.talasonline.com) has some interesting kits, and with their impending move to Brooklyn, may well start discounting them -- they have almost everything else.

I also recommend the first three books by Alisa Golden as good primers for beginning bookbinders: Graham beat me to the punch in suggesting The Bonefolder, although it does tend to be geared more towards "serious" bookbinding and book artists.

(That being said, Peter actually published a picture of one of my books -- in Vol. 5, No. 1, which is the current issue -- and I don't think it's all that serious a book.)

fi's picture

You need:

(can substitute twine and beeswax for dental floss)

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