BookBinding: Making A Travel Notebook

Increasingly, we work and play in a digital world.

Book binding

I made this!

I read, write, publish, market and often interact with friends online, which I absolutely love and value highly. But recently, I’ve been craving some physical creation, so last week I went along to the London Centre for Book Arts and joined one of their awesome workshops.

Because I write in so many Moleskine journals, I decided to make a Travel Notebook, complete with concertina folded envelope in the back. I’d like to eventually make my own paper, print my own work on it and bind limited editions myself – but that’s a while away! (I got the idea from Cory Doctorow’s awesome limited edition work)

In the (under 1 min) video below, you can see time-lapse footage of the process plus some pics. You can also watch it here on YouTube.

Extra Information:

  • Find out more from London Centre of Book Arts – and apparently there are similar centres in major cities all over the world. Or try searching for ‘book-binding’ locally.
  • I’m wearing a Nike FuelBand on my wrist, which is proving to be a fantastic way to get me motivated to move more in this very sedentary writer’s life we lead!
  • The video was shot with my iPhone using TimeLapse app which takes a photo every 10 seconds and creates a video from it. I just set it up with a GorillaPod adaptable tripod.

Have you tried book-binding, paper-making or any other physical book art? Or would you like to? I’d love to hear about it. Please do leave a comment below.

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  1. says

    What a way to spend a day!

    I’m currently putting together a list of things I want to do in London when I visit in August/September. That’s definitely on the list! Thank you.

    Also, your choice of music was perfect. 😉

    I used to make my own paper when I was in my early teens. My attempts were never smooth enough to print on, but I have used the sheets to cover cards or create paper features within my projects. I sometimes added flower petals or seeds for extra texture.

    It’s a very messy process but lots of fun!

  2. says

    Hi Joanna,

    This reminds me of projects I did as a kid and later with my kids. I haven’t done the type of book-binding you did in the video, but you’re got me intrigued now. I’m going to a search for book-binding as you suggested. I may even find a class in my area.

    This looks like fun. Thanks.

  3. says

    I love making books and journals and have done so for about three years. My tools still haven’t been unpacked from our move, but it’s so much fun and has endless possibilities. And I’ve made paper with my daughter. You look like you’re having so much fun. For a really good time, check out this book.

  4. says

    Bookbinding is such fun. I first did it at school. Did you have to sew and trip all the pages together too, or was that done beforehand?

  5. says

    That’s awesome, Joanna! I recently got into making notebooks, too, and I enjoy listening to podcasts (especially yours!) while I work on them. It’s a perfect combination. :) I definitely understand the desire to make something physical as a change from interacting with words on the screen all day.

    One of the neat things about making your own notebooks is that you can cater to very specific preferences, which I’m sure we all have as writers. I learned how to do Coptic stitched binding, which looks pretty and allows the book to lie flat, something that I particularly like in a notebook.

  6. says

    Well done, Joanna! You should be very proud. I loved the whole thing and I can’t believe it was possible to film it with your iPhone and a time lapse app. I’ve never tried to make anything like this. The music was perfect for it. Brava!

  7. says

    Fun!! I have a friend who used to make her own paper, and it looked like an absolute blast. I’m not sure if the process is supposed to take up so many surfaces or if my friend just enjoyed expanding her work to fit all of the possible space (or perhaps both), but I’m pretty sure my husband would kill me if I started filling our tiny loft apartment with pulp…for the sake of his sanity, I’ll shelve this one for now until I have the dedicated crafting room I’ve been dreaming of and live vicariously through you at the moment. :)

  8. says

    Aw…the lost art of personal book binding. I never have tried book binding myself, but I have limited editions of several books and they are so beautiful I don’t even like reading out of them.

  9. says

    I have tried book binding before and actually took the start of the book and turned it into a children’s book for my art class. Very, very hard to do but I’m proud of it. :)


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