DIY Mini Book Press

001 Samples

Left to Right Top: Soft cover monastery stitch, Hardcover monastery stitch, French stitch. Left to Right Bottom: Hardcover Coptic stitch, soft cover long stitch, soft cover Japanese stitch

Some time ago (about a year I think) I took an art class that taught me how to bind books. It was one of the most amazingly fun classes I’ve ever taken! I learned 6 different binding styles and made 9 sample books – 3 7/16in. x 5in. For an avid reader like myself, learning how books can be constructed increased my appreciation for the books themselves (even though it’s rare for books to be bound by hand these days).

One of the things that makes a book look nice is flat pages. If you’ve ever tried folding multiple pages at once, you might notice that they tend to pop up at the spine. In class we used a paper-wrapped brick to combat this. While browsing YouTube, I found a diy alternative! Sea Lemon’s video How to Make a Book Press tutorial HERE . The materials were cheap and pretty easy to find (with a couple modifications).


Left to Right: Dollar Tree furniture sliders, 2 hex bolts (6in.), 2 washers, wing nuts, 7in. x 9in. wooden plaques

The trickiest part of the whole project was making holes in the wood without a drill… Gave myself at least 4 hand bruises trying to press down while turning a + screwdriver. It took me over an hour to get most of the way through the first of 2 holes. Then my husband took over and finished both of them in a matter of minutes … Not sure if I should be annoyed or pleased … ^_^

004I taped both pieces of wood together – so the hex bolts would pass through both pieces correctly – but the hole I made was angled – ugh. Also it was a bit of a tight fit which was fine for one underneath. To get the top one to slide up and down – somewhat – smoothly, I used a – screwdriver that was slightly wider to enlarge the holes on top. Even so, because of my inability to drill straight down I have to pull the two hex bolts slightly apart as I slide the top up and down.

Once the hex bolts were through, I threaded each with a washer and a wing nut. The final touch was the felt sliders on the bottom … and All Done!

finishedBoth wooden pieces are unfinished so I plan to paint/decorate them eventually. Also, the boards I used aren’t long enough for making larger books (like folding regular letter sized paper in half hamburger-wise), but I am excited to make mini books (cutting regular paper in half and then folding in half again, both hamburger-wise). Look forward to updates of that nature ^_~ !

Coptic Stitch Sample Books

Extended Monday is here! This is where you’ll find projects that require some time to complete. Also, projects that could be considered a bit complicated will be here – for those who enjoy a challenge >:) .

When I took a bookbinding class in the summer of 2012, our original goal was to create 12 sample books: 2 soft-cover monastery books, 2 hard-cover monastery books, 2 French Stitch books, 2 Coptic Stitch books, 2 Long Stitch books, and 2 Japanese Stab books. One of my favorite bindings was the Coptic Stitch!  This binding is perfect for art journals or recipe books because there is no space lost on the pages to accommodate the spine. This style of book binding was used by early Christians in Egypt. For more info, check HERE. I’ve found this binding to be fairly easy once I got the hang of it… Incorporating the covers is still a little tricky though. This stitch belongs on Extended Mondays because making books just take time… it doesn’t matter too much what binding it is – it will take time: tearing the paper down or cutting it to size, preparing the covers, stabbing the covers and leaves and then actually stitching them together. Both of my sample books below use waxed linen thread, have hard covers, and use Zerkall Nideggen paper (made in Zerkall, Germany). The paper is a cotton/sulphite blend and is acid-free ^_^.

* BTW, I am considering doing a book binding tutorial (or 6 ^_^ … one for each of the bindings I learned). As I think it over, feel free to leave comments if you’re interested ^_~.

1st CopticThe Coptic binding is one of my favorites due to its ability to allow books to remain flat no matter where it is opened. As you can see, this one has been chosen to keep my Homemade Health & Beauty Products recipes and experiments. The paper I used for the covers has leaves and petals loosely interwoven into the paper itself so it gives off a kinda ‘handmade paper’ feel. (Actually I want to try my hand at making paper from plants … stay tuned!)


2nd CopticThe front cover of this Coptic bound book is actually 2 pieces of paper glued to Davy board. The decorative paper wasn’t tall enough so I first glued down a piece of plain printer paper. I like the end effect more actually.