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Last Updated: Aug 29, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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Why bookbinding?

When students make their own books they:

  • take ownership of their work
  • create an artifact they are proud of
  • are able to share their work

Student-made books can be used for:

  • Journaling
  • Creative writing (fiction & non-fiction)
  • Activism
  • Documentation
  • Research
  • Reporting
  • Art-making
  • Note-taking


RGL Resources

These titles are available in the Middle School library.

Cover Art
Cover to Cover 20th Anniversary Edition - Shereen LaPlantz
Call Number: 686.3 L314
Shelved in Makerspace.

Cover Art
Creative Bookbinding - Pauline Johnson
Call Number: 686.3 J68
Shelved in Makerspace.

Cover Art
The Journal Junkies Workshop - Eric M. Scott; David R. Modler
Call Number: 745.5 S425
Shelved in Makerspace.

Cover Art
The Pop-Up Book - Paul Jackson; Paul Forrester
Call Number: 688.7 J13
Shelved in Makerspace.

Cover Art
Stolen Sharpie Revolution - Alex Wrekk
Call Number: 741.5 W944
ISBN: 9780981794112
Shelved in Makerspace.

Cover Art
What It Is - Lynda Barry
Call Number: 808.3 B281
Shelved in Makerspace.

Cover Art
Whatcha Mean, What's a Zine? - Esther Pearl Watson; Mark Todd (Illustrator)
Call Number: 741.5 T635
Shelved in Makerspace.


Projects to try

Here are a few easy projects to try:

  • Small 8-page booklet from a single sheet of paper
  • Notebook with a sewn pamphlet binding
  • Accordion book
  • Portfolio from a file folder 


Bookbinding techniques

Scoring and creasing: Use your bone folder to score paper for folding or for marking materials for cutting

  • To score paper, press and run the pointed tip of your bone folder along a straight-edge
  • To crease a fold, use the side of your bone folder and press along the fold; trying going in both directions to make a very sharp crease
  • To mark for cutting, press the tip of your bone folder at the point where you need to cut or fold and make a small impression

Fold-and-tear: You can break down pages for a text block using this technique or use it instead of measuring with a ruler

  • Fold your paper by lining up edges (and following any marks you have made to measure) and then press with your fingers
  • Use your bone folder to crease your fold; go over it several times
  • Open the fold and slowly and carefully tear along your crease

Other areas to explore

There are many avenues to explore in the world of book arts.  Here are a few.

  • Resources for the History of Books and Printing
    This is an extremely comprehensive directory of Internet sites relating to the history of books and printing, part of the personal web site of Daniel Traister, Head of the University of Pennsylvania's Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
  • Book Arts Web
    Features links to a large selection of book arts related sites on the web, including educational opportunities, professional organizations, tutorials, reference materials, and galleries with images. This is also the home of the Book_Arts-L FAQ which features full subscription information for this listserv of almost 1500 individuals but also the full archives organized by year, then month. They are also fully searchable and contain a treasure trove of all kinds of technical tips, announcements, and helpful banter. The website and listserv are both maintained by Peter D. Verheyen.
  • What Is an Artist's Book?
    An article from the Smithsonian Libraries blog by Anne Evenhaugen that discusses the history of artist's books and includes links to more resources.
  • About Zines
    A comprehensive zine resource compiled by Jenna Freedman, Zine Librarian at Barnard College Zine Library.
  • Paper Circuits
    Add some electricity to your books with paper circuits. This how-to guide from the High-Low Tech lab at MIT will walk you through the basics.

Bookmaking across subjects

Local Resources for Book Arts

There are many places in Richmond where you can further explore the book arts!

  • VCU Book Art Collection
    The VCU Book Art Collection was established in 1979 through a collaborative effort between School of the Arts faculty Phil Meggs, Joan Muller and Davi Det Hompson, and librarian Janet Dalberto. It consists of nearly 4,000 items and is strongest in publications from the 1960s to the present. The collection encompasses all aspects of contemporary artists' publications, from inexpensive editions in the tradition of the "democratic multiple" to finely crafted artists' books. The collection also includes serials, exhibition catalogs and reference materials as well as concrete, sound and visual poetry.
  • Richmond Zine Fest
    The Richmond Zine Fest is an annual event at which local and national (and perhaps even international if we’re so lucky) zine-makers can gather to sell and trade their zines and network with other people in the zine community.
  • Studio23
    Studio23 is a community print studio that offers classes in bookbinding and printmaking.
  • VisArts
    The Visual Arts Center offers courses in bookbinding, printmaking, and letterpress printing.
  • Plaza Artist Materials
    Plaza carries all the tools and supplies you need for bookbinding--bone folders, awls, PVA paste, decorative papers, etc.

Subject Guide

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Catherine Clements
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Other resources

Cover Art
The Book Book : A Journey Into Bookmaking - Sophie Benini Pietromarchi
ISBN: 9788186211243

Cover Art
How to Make Books - Esther K. Smith; Lindsay Stadig (Illustrator); David Michael Zimmerman (Photographer)
Call Number: 686.3 S646
Shelved in Saunders.

Cover Art
Magic Books and Paper Toys - Esther K. Smith
Call Number: 745.59 S646
Shelved in Saunders.

Cover Art
Making Books with Kids - Esther K. Smith; Dikko Faust (Artist); Jane Sanders (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781631590818

Cover Art
Non-Adhesive Binding : Books Without Paste or Glue - Keith A. Smith
ISBN: 0963768263

Cover Art
Syllabus - Lynda Barry
ISBN: 9781770461611
Publication Date: 153.3 B281
Shelved in Saunders.


Bookbinding tools

  • Awl: a pointed spike used for punching holes in a variety of materials
  • Beeswax: used to wax sewing thread to reduce friction which allows thread to glide easily as you sew and prevents fibers from fraying
  • Bone folder: a dull edged handtool used to fold and crease material in crafts such as bookbinding, cardmaking, origami and other papercrafts where a sharp crease or fold is needed; often made from the leg bone of a cow, deer, or similar animal, there are also synthetic alternatives made from plastics


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