My Bookbinding Tools and Materials

Over time I have learned what my favorite tools and materials are for this lovely art called bookbinding. I thought it would be nice to go through what I normally use when binding books and journal. Nothing really fancy here…I think we might all have these items in one form or another. I’m definitely a very DIY small-time bookbinder…

A self-healing cutting mat and cutting knives - definitely must haves in so many ways. I’ve never found a paper trimmer that I love and much prefer a mat and knife. Also, the measurements on the mat itself are very useful for lining up cuts and projects while crafting in general.

A metal ruler – metal means it will last longer and sits heavier on top of paper to prevent sliding while you cut. Love it!

Bone folder – a must for folding paper and smoothing things over. You can also use the tip to score lines in your paper as well…

Awl – for punching holes! I have a pretty small one that sometimes gives me a handache…one of these days I might  invest in the Japanese screw hole punches… very cool. Just know that you need a way to pre-punch your holes.

Needles – big tapestry needles work great for sewing up books.

Linen thread – I use both waxed and unwaxed linen thread, because it’s super strong!

PVA glue – Vinavil is the brand we use here in Italy and it’s the same glue even bookbinding teachers at workshops use…so I’m cool with it! Really, just any glue will do.

Junky brushes – to brush on the glue – probably more important than the glue, because if you get a nice coat on, it’ll stick! I use hardware store brushes. If it gets junked up, I just toss them out.

Materials from paper to leather – I use all types of materials, even recycled board to create book covers and fill in the pages of my journals. It’s fun to use alternative materials actually.

Those are pretty much all the tools and materials that I use… pretty straight forward. I don’t have any fancy presses or stands. Any other tools you love or suggest? Hope my list can help you get started in bookbinding or you can just hop onto my Etsy shop and pick up a pre-made journal. I think anyone can learn to bind their own books, but it doesn’t mean everyone will want to! I get that!

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  • http://gingerblue.com chel

    This is awesome! One “supply” I took from my husband’s stash (besides his papers) was YES glue. I LOVE that stuff. Great for gluing paper- no warping. I wish it came in a squeeze bottle, but I took a spatula from the kitchen and an old phone book and just smear it all over paper on a random page of the phone book and then flip to a clean page to do more gluing.

    • http://www.tortagialla.com linda

      great tip! yes, it helps to have lots of liner papers for glue smearing :) sometimes i feel like it’s a messy option compared to double stick tape, but it’s so much stronger… i think we must have crazy weather, but the tape usually unsticks itself after a while – i’ve now notice. to glue it is!!!

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  • Mira

    I took a class on book binding but am unsure on where to buy leather. Do you have a place to recommend?

    • http://www.LindaTieu.com LTieu

      I live in Italy, so buy leather from local sources. If you can find a shop that sells leather in pieces, that would be ideal, so you can actually see the color and thickness. Otherwise, there are lots of stores online and you can do a search!