How to make books

Curious about Bookbinding?

The last couple of months have been a time for us to all slow down. We’re keeping our hands busy with slow paced, soothing crafts like embroidery and macrame, which we love. 

But we'd also like to introduce you to one of our favorite slow-paced, very rewarding, often off-the-radar crafts: bookbinding.

If you love stationery, pretty papers, and making things, chances are you’ll love it. If you need any more convincing, just take a look at these drool-worthy handmade books for inspiration. 

bookbinding rainbow

How to make books

bookbinding inspiration

There’s so many different binding stitches out there that we're sure you'll want to try more than one! Here are a few:   


Pamphlet Stitch: 

This style of bookbinding is the quickest and easiest. It uses just one signature (which is a group of sheets folded in half to be worked into the binding as a unit) sewn in with a running stitch. Much like a pamphlet with staples, but a stitch is put in place instead. 

Pamphlet stitch book

Japanese Stitch: 

This style is useful if you want to bind single sheets of paper (no paper folding or signatures needed). It's often combined with decorative stitching along the spine. 


Coptic Stitch: 

This is the technique we teach in our Intro to Bookbinding Class. Signatures are sewn through their folds then sewn through two loose covers with a chain-like stitch across the spine. 

Ready to dive in yet??

Take our Intro to Bookbinding Class and you'll walk away with your own custom handstitched book-- ready to fill with writing, sketching, or even paintings!

bookbinding class

We've also got a book making tool kit available to make your own books at home. Just raid your paper supply (decorative or plain - you decide!) and you’re good to go!  

bookbinding toolkit

Our Book Making Tool Kit contains the fundamental tools needed to create handmade books from start to finish, including: 

  • An Awl - This is the pointed tool with a wooden handle. It’s used to poke stitching holes in your covers and signatures.
  • Bone Folder - This tool is so helpful when it comes to folding pages, especially thicker ones. Simply run the bone folder over a folded sheet of paper to create the perfect crease every time!
  • Curved Stitching Needle - No...that needle isn’t bent. It’s curved on purpose which makes it 100 times easier to use when stitching the binding of your book. Trust us! 
  • Waxed Thread - Perfect for binding books because it's less prone to breaking, and the wax makes it slide through the pages of your books much easier than normal thread. 
  • Binders Board - This type of cover board is sought after by hand bookbinders due to high density and single ply construction which makes it stiff and the perfect book cover material. 

Have you made a book before or are you inspired to make one now?? If so we’d love to see it! Drop us a comment or tag us at @assemblypdx! 

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You know what? I absolutely agree with you when you pointed out that it’s better to opt for Japanese stitch if we just want to include one piece of paper. My cousin has been planning for a small hi-tea party with her friends next week and she wants to create a beautiful menu card. I’ll ask her to consider this option so she’ll make the right installation later.

Amy Saunders

I can’t wait to take this class next time I visit Portland!

Claire Prynne

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