Adventures In Bookbinding

It’s National Stationery Week here in the UK so I thought I’d share a little more of my bookbinding journey. A couple of weeks ago I took a class to learn how to make a hardback journal and I feel so proud of the results.

I started my bookbinding adventures last year when I took a class to make a Japanese stab bound journal. I use this journal for calligraphy and hand lettering practice.


Then I took a class to make a long stitch book which I blogged about here.


I knew the process of making a hardback book would be a lot more involved, but Edel took us through it step by step so we could finish a book within a day. It was hard work but such fun and made me appreciate the old bookbinding techniques that are still used today.


Here are some phone pictures I took on the day of each step of the process. We worked over 7 hours to create our books.


We used some Victorian equipment and techniques in making our books and I expressed my curiosity as to what glue was used before PVA and paste were invented. Apparently animal glue was common in bookbinding and is still used in some studios today.


We hand stitched each section of the book which you can see below. Did you know that paper has a warp and weft just like fabric?


We had the privilege of talking to experienced bookbinders who were also using the studio for restoration projects. We were able to ask about thesis binding for the University and to take a look at old manuscripts and journals from the 1800s.


I’m so proud of the finished result. Of course it has its imperfections but that’s all part of learning a new skill. We left the class feeling that traditional bookbinding is in fact a real art and I am grateful to have historic studios in Cambridge to learn at.

Claireabellemakes-Hardback-JournalThank you for letting me share my bookbinding efforts with you today. I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing my experiences and I’d love to know if you have any experiences with bookbinding!



14 thoughts on “Adventures In Bookbinding

    1. Ah cool!! Edel has a lot of courses available and some soon at Rhode Island where I’ll be holding the craft party. Perhaps you could get in touch with her? What is your masters? x

  1. What a beautifully written blog. It conveys so well what it feels like to be in a book making class. And I love your photo arrangements!
    Look forward to having you back on different ‘structures’ in future meantime Leanne is right – great book and great colour choice!

  2. I did bookbinding at uni and I have to say that your efforts are close to perfect! They’re beautiful. It’s very satisfying making a complete book isn’t it? I have been wanting to start a DIY bog that will feature some bookbinding techniques for ages and this inspires me to do it even more! Yay books! x

    1. That’s so nice to hear from someone who has done bookbinding, thank you! If you start a bookbinding blog please let me know, I would love to read it. Have you seen YouTube channel Sea Lemon? x

      1. Oooh I haven’t I’ll have to check it out, thanks! I will certainly let you know if (when!) I take the plunge with the blog! x

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