Book Binding

The afternoon after receiving our new brief for the Narrative module, we had a workshop on book binding. To bind a book requires the assembling of multiple sheets of paper which are folded and stacked together, to be able to form a book with which a reader is able to turn the pages easily. This process requires concentration and accuracy in order for the book to be functional.

Our first step in making the book in the workshop was selecting a size and weight of paper. What was suitable for the book binding workshop was using A2 cartridge paper. We folded the piece of A2 paper length ways making a mark in the centre of the intended fold. To make a clear and sharp fold we used a tool called a bone folder. Bone folders were originally made out of ivory from the tusks of elephants, however due to ethical and conservational change to save Elephants from extinction, bone folders are now made of plastic.

After folding the sheet of paper in half, ensuring that the fold was sharp, we used a tool called a shoe knife to cut the sheet at the fold. For each of the halves we then folded them vertically and cut them in half again to make four A4 sheets of paper in total. To make the A5 sheets we folded the A4 pieces of paper in half again with a bone folder.

To bind the sheets stacked on top of each other we needed to use an awl to pierce three holes into the fold of the paper. We pierced a hold in the centre and then two on either side of the fold, 1.5cm from the edge. By piercing holes through what would be the spine of the book, this would allow us to sew thick cotton thread through the holes to tie the pages together. I used a dark green thread for my book.


To make the covers of the book we used a thick grey coloured card. We used the stack of pages to measure up how much card to use, leaving a few millimetres space so pages wouldn’t get easily damaged when construction was finished. To attach the card together we used a small piece of material called book fabric. Then we used PVA glue to attach it to the card, working in a stippling motion with the brush to ensure even coverage and making it easier for the glue to dry quicker.


The next step was attaching the stack of white paper into the book. To do this we needed to make end papers. We cut two pieces of A4 coloured paper and used the same method of attaching the fabric to the card, by using PVA glue and a brush. We attached half of the coloured paper to one sheet of the white paper, and the other half to the inside of the card. We repeated this on the end book cover.



Author: jennifertaylorgraphics

First year student studying Graphic Communication at the Cardiff School of Art and Design

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