Thursday, November 11

"scraps" book- coptic binding

I've been wanting to try out a coptic binding one a book, as I think I want to include it in my Stitch and Surface class next semester as a project. So after cutting up a watercolor painting for another project this evening, I collected the scraps to try out this binding. The best thing about coptic binding is it lays flat when you open it- perfect for sketchbook purposes. In fact my favorite sketchbook ever was a handmade, coptic bound book made by Michelle Wilson.
 Above shows the actual size of the book laid flat. Below shows the pages standing open. There's a lot of "spring" in it right now, which I hope will relax under some weights overnight. They're single page signatures, one side with watercolor, the other side laminated to a piece of black tissue paper. The cover is some recycled card stock laminated also with tissue paper and watercolor end pages.
If you're interested in how to do coptic binding I found this website tutorial very helpful! I'm going to have to do another book project for my watercolor class so I hope to do a  more normal-size book with a LOT of pages to show off the binding.


  1. Some of the spring might come be if the paper is bound against the grain. All commercial paper has a grain - in which the fibers all line up in one direction. (Handmade paper does not have this problem). For "correct" binding, all paper should be folded and sewn parallel to the grain.

    To check for grain direction, curve or bend the paper (not creasing) in both directions - the way of least resistance is the grain, and so the direction in which you should fold.

    It's not a huge deal, unless you are a conservator, but it might help on book #2, or when you are teaching!

  2. Thanks Michelle! It probably is a grain issue- I was using leftover random scraps, and all the pages are probably in different directions!

  3. I think you should call this book a "Scraptic."

  4. It was definitely a grain problem. I made a second one last night paying attention to the grain and it's laying perfectly flat now!