two family bibles and the ephemera stuffed into them along with a Star Wars encyclopedia were books in our collections we felt deserved a clamshell box for protection

two family bibles and the ephemera stuffed into them along
with a Star Wars encyclopedia were books in our collections
we felt deserved a clamshell box for protection


Dirty hands no. 3 : 
Bookmaking workshops

MAKE A BOOK BY HAND, and you automatically make a gift of your self—and a long-treasured keepsake. A fun and focused workshop will give you essential insights, skills, structures, and leads for resources. Afterward, you can concoct your experimental formats, tweaking the results to suit your style.

Each of these bookmaking workshops grants you the opportunity to rent our workspace and have access to our collection of helpful tools and equipment for your book- and box-making projects. Click here for Rental details, Workshop Schedule or to request a date for your group. 

One day, one book

FROM NUTS AND BOLTS to bells and whistles, this workshop for a traditional hand-sewn, case-bound book reveals it all to your inner designer-artist-crafter-book collector-explorer. Or you can just polish your technique if it's been a while.

Start with a colorful whirl by hand painting traditional paste paper. Learn the secrets of professional folding, gathering, punching and the classic bookmaker's longstitch. Add a little bling. Wrap, tuck and roll your custom cover. Voila! You've made a book.

Coptic stitch 2 ways

PIQUE THE INTEREST of your beautiful-as-it-is-mysterious-and-practical side with this ancient book structure.

Use a single needle and traditional sections for one book. Double your fun with double the needles and anything-goes single sheets for the second book. You'll really enjoy that your pretty stitches are totally exposed (ooh la la!), and that each book will easily lie open perfectly flat (oohs and ahs!).

Postcard clamshell box

THIS BOX MAY BE SMALL, but it has all the right stuff. If you can case in a hardcover book, you can make a hinged clamshell box.

Once you've conquered the basics of box building, you'll discover lots of reasons to make handsome presentation boxes. This is also one of the best ways to conserve and protect books (like your family bible) and other  keepsake items.

Paste paper painting party

IF YOU'VE NEVER PAINTED PASTE PAPER BEFORE, you will fall in love at first swipe. And if you've tried it and aren't happy with the results, it's time to give it another whirl.

There's colorful-dimensional-geometric-organic-cosmic samples and lots of tools and techniques to inspire you. Once your creative juices are flowing, you'll be surprised at what you can do using simple, traditional bookbinder's wheat paste and modern acrylics.


No sew, no glue books

Forget the glue, needles and thread as you fold, tear, cut and weave up to 3 different books: concertina, corkscrew, and French door or dos-a-dos formats. Bring your own pastepaper to use or try Lead Graffiti potluck. Younger participants may require adult assistance with measuring and using a craft knife.

  • No prerequisite. 
  • Ages 9 to adult.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and work clothes

Pamphlet-stitched books

If other bookmaking options seem too technical or fussy, the pamphlet stitch is hands-down the ideal way to dip your fingers in the bookmaking waters. It is a great workshop for younger bookmakers to do with a parent or friend to learn some handskills and to expand their creative impulses a bit.

And if you've done complicated binding before don't let this humble-sounding name fool you. Its pure simplicity of execution belies an incredibly versatile nature limited only by your imagination and the materials you use. Get inspired to add this technique and its variations to your own repertoire.

Just how versatile is it?

Easy to learn, the classic 3-, 4-, and 5-hole pamphlet stitch is adaptable to many formats and materials. Try inserting one or more text blocks to fill soft- or hard cover books. You can also spin it into elaborate greeting and thank you cards, wedding invitations, keepsakes, ornaments or more.

Some of the variations covered in this workshop include:

  • a single-signature sewing with a cover having foredge turn-ins
  • 2 signatures bound in 1 sewing with a spine-pleat cover
  • triple concertina-fold book
  • single-sheet sewing for a small album
  • reinforced spine with multiple signatures and shifting sewing stations