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Sydney Bookbinding

Welcome to my Bookbinding Blog

The making of books, the teaching of bookbinding and the association with other bookbinders and book artists has become the focus and passion of my life. Bookbinding has many aspects and we debate a lot about the precise definitions of various aspects but, working with our hands within this discipline, challenging our skills and creativity is intriguing, frustrating and exciting.
Sydney Bookbinding
Sydney Bookbinding

New papers


Here are new papers that have interesting uses. The woodgrain and Suminagashi paper can tear to interesting frayed edges and used to decorate surfaces (over paper book covers and cardmaking). For endpapers they need to be laminated. We used it for ‘made’ endpapers and the ‘floating board’ binding just on the way with my advanced students (images to come later).

The Japanese Rice papers in my first test are strong enough to use in paper hinge repairs for small books plus lining small boxes. They will find other uses I am sure but have not experimented with them yet. I will be checking the strength of this paper as I would like to use it for hinge repairs on larger books but, so far, it is working well on smaller books. It can be laminated and used as an endpaper plus decorative pieces. It tears also to a nice fibrous edge.

Prices are – Woodgrain and Suminagashi are $11.00. There are 2 other Suminagashi in our range. Sheet size is 70cm x 50cm

Japanese Rice paper is the same price – $11.00. Size per sheet is 64cm x 97cm

As Sydney Bookbinding is now partnered with Amazing Paper I need to add GST to our prices. Please note that there will be price rises with a number of products when next stocked. Bonefolders and thread have gone up already and the next order will see them even a bit higher in price. I will endeavor to have a current price list ready to send out to any of you that request it. Over time the bookbinding supplies will be added to the Amazing Paper website but, as I am only feeling my way with this task, it will take some time. Must allow time for my precious binding work.

Posted in Bookbinding Supplies |
Sydney Bookbinding

Class on 3rd June



This is our last lesson prior to you completing your projects.

There are some points I would like to emphasize -

1/ You need to line the spine area with bookcloth so that the gaps between the sewing points do not look through to the raw board.

2/ The covers are covered  completely prior to punching the holes for the attachment of  your sections. Note this means cloth over the spine area and paper or  cloth over the inside of the front and back covers. Punch the holes from a paper pattern attached to the outside of the spine. Holes are punched from the outside in order to keep them looking smooth and neat.

3/ The spine board must suite the thickness of your text block. If narrow then you will need to sew 2 or more sections into one row of vertical holes. You  measure the thickness of your text at the thickest point, this is the thickness of your spine piece but add about 2 or 3mm just to give a little ‘room’. The vertical holes must start at least 4mm in from the edges and be at least 4mm apart – this will add up to the  thickness if every section is sewn in separately so take care with this measuring. To make it narrow sew more sections into each row thus allowing the spine to be narrower.

4/ Read the notes as there is a lot of information there about measuring where spine holes need to be in relationship to your text sections.

Hope these images assist you.

Tomorrow is a working day so I should not need to demonstrate but make sure you check everything with me as I do not see you again until you submit your work.


Posted in UNSW/Art and Design |
Sydney Bookbinding

Class on 13th and May

On the 13th May I would like to see where you are all at with your concertina book plus work to be done on your text pages for the last project.

Please bring all the materials you require to continue with the Concertina plus begin your text for  the Longstitch.

This should be a solid work day and one  where you can  check everything with  me.  After this lesson you should not have to bring in your concertina work for me to review but may want to have it with you to work on if there is spare time.

On the 20th we will only devote ourselves to the construction and stitching of the Longstitch project – sample only.

On the 20th May we will do the following – Cutting and creating a small sample cover plus doing a sample pattern and stitching through the spine area.


Longstitch showing stitching at spine plus decoration

You will be cutting board to make a sample of the covers for your final book so you will need the following -

1/ Board to cut. Have a 1/4 piece of board, the grain direction will be marked. I have 1/4 board but you can share or use it for both the final Concertina and Longstitch book. Suggest the 2.4 board thickness.

2/ Cloth to cover boards – I will bring sufficient for our sample covers but you will need to get a piece of 1/2 meter Arbelave cloth for your actual book. Of course you may wish to share a colour and then only purchase a 1/4 meter each. Please have any orders through to me by Friday morning. Colours are displayed under Bookbinding Supplies on this blog.

I suggest Arbelave Buckram as it is easy to use and any excess PVA simply wipes off without staining.

3/ Have all that is necessary to cut board accurately – cutting mat, set square or ‘L’ square, Stanley knife and metal ruler.

4/ Have all that is necessary to sand board edges and apply the cloth – PVA, brush, piece of plastic, jar for water, chucks cloth and hand towel.

You can purchase sandpaper from the COFA shop – go for a fairly rough surface, about 180 or a little less.

We will also do a sample of the stitching for this final book so bring needles and awl with you plus a few sheets of A4 photocopy paper in order to work out the sewing pattern (pencil and ruler for this). I will have card and thread to use for this sample.

Any concerns please email me – rosemarie@sydneybookbinding.com


Posted in UNSW/Art and Design |
Sydney Bookbinding

Continuing with concertina design 29th April


Just to reinforce the need to show technical proficiency as well as a unified series of images that express your narrative in this your second project.

We made lots of samples but you need now to select the format you will work in and then design it carefully to form a unique art statement.

See you tomorrow – 29th April.

Posted in UNSW/Art and Design |
Sydney Bookbinding

Requirements for class 22nd April


We will make further samples but especially making the covers – these need to be perhaps shaped and decorated as well as correctly attached to the two ends of your construction. I must emphasize that the proficiency of this technical side of your work is paramount if you are to achieve a good pass. A creative content badly made is not an acceptable standard. I will show examples and demonstrate all steps so I hope I can have your full attention for this step.

We will also show you what is necessary to make a tunnel book and perhaps a carousel book – both interesting structures.

Then you can begin to work on what structure you want to use and  what demands this will make on your designing considerations and possible narrative.

As mentioned in the previous inclusion for this class you will need to bring the following -

Plastic sheet to protect your desk area where the water jar will sit. Container for water, PVA and bristle brush – round and perhaps flat.  Chucks cloths – good to use to clean your desk area before placing papers etc on. Scissors and your other bookbinding tools (cutting mat, knives etc). A glue stick would be helpful and perhaps a hand towel.

I will provide the papers and card, board etc necessary for your sample making – this week and perhaps also next week. You are to pay $5.00 for this material which will be cut to the sizes suitable for our samples. I think there are still some students to cover this cost with me.

A reminder – wear covered in shoes, have an old shirt or apron and that box for your tools – to keep on your desk

I look forward to our lesson this week.


Posted in UNSW/Art and Design |
Sydney Bookbinding