Japanese four hole binding variations

These buttery papers I bought at Paper Arts last week were my latest bookbinding inspiration. They are the perfect weight for soft cover books (and look at that sparkle y’all!). I have wanted to make some Japanese bound books lately so when I got them home I knew just what I wanted to do with them.

I was so pleased with the results! The pattern of the marble lends itself so well to the simplicity of the variations on four-hole binding patterns.

Kangxi Biinding
Hemp leaf binding



Like Coptic stitch, this binding can be quick–and the results are oh so satisfying. I am whipping up more of these beautiful books ASAP..

Buy these and other books in my Etsy store.

Visit my Etsy shop



H is for… half leather

Marching through our bookbinding alphabet,we are now to the letter H. Leather is one of the most enduring cover materials. Since the dawn of books animal hide has been used to bind and decorate books for all occasions. Half leather means that the corners and the spine are covered with leather and the rest is covered with marbled paper or book cloth. The leather protects the most vulnerable parts of the book from excessive wear.

 Lovely sample of half binding from TJBookarts

Beth Antoine’s exquisite half binding with marbled papers

E is for… exposed binding

Exposed binding is an easy way to add a WOW factor to your tome. Instead of concealing the stitching, it becomes a decorative focal point. And it’s great for making books on the go because no adhesive is involved.

Exposed binding from Cailun

Exposed sewing on tapes from Feeling Bookish

Lovely exposed binding on cords from SlateBlu

Titanic Letterpress has several works with exposed binding to see if you click on the photo

Keith Smith has terrific books on making books without adhesive.

Tutorials here here and (long one) here.

D is for… dos a dos

This is a super fun binding! It’s two, two, two books in one. The term comes from French, meaning “back to back.” It’s not difficult to make and a ton to fun to use. You can keep two journals or a journal and a commonplace book or any other combo that suits your needs. It’s also makes a great interactive journal between two people.

top view of this binding from Brittle Paper

Dos-a-dos style with four books from Batcat Press

Beautiful dos-a-dos with ephemera at Altered by the Sea

Fantastic embroidered dos-a-dos book from the 17th century

Book of Common Prayer ca. 1895

Book of Common Prayer and 1633 New Testament

Tutorial here

C is for… coptic

Coptic stitching is one of my go-to bindings. It’s terribly easy and is useful for so many projects. I enjoy the straight lines and chain stitching that accentuates the open spine.

Lovely coptic binding nice and straight, from The Laurel Tree

Fantastic coptic with an added caterpillar stitched on the covers, from Katie Calak

coptic binding in a zigzag variation, from Garlic Harvest Studio

Up close and personal with another coptic variation, from Cailun

Video Tutorial here

B is for… Belgian

A lovely binding choice is the secret Belgian binding. I really love the simple lines and clean look. It’s not too difficult for those who have some experience with bookbinding and the results are beautiful. They make nice journals and albums. because it opens flat it can be a good option for left-handed people like me.

Click the pics below to visit the sites of these lovely books.

lovely sample from Art-is-try. You can really see why it is called secret. The choice of thread is perfect to hide the binding.

Closeup of this binding. Excellent work!

Inside view of Belgian binding from BookGirl

Another view of inside from Studio B.

Excellent instructions here.

French binding examples

None of these are mine but they are amazing. Enjoy!

French binding variation

French binding tutorial

The white book on the bottom is French link binding

French link stitch for an art book

French link and kettle stitch

Pretty repurposed covers with French link

Another up cycled book with lovely French stitch binding

More accordion fold books

Here is some eye candy!

Julie Chen is one of my all-time favorite book artists. See her at Flying Fish Press. This book is called “view.” See the whole book here. It is worth the time to see her work.

Here is a pretty book using family photos.

Here is a great tutorial for making accordion fold books using envelopes form WhiMSy Love. They are too cute…and so handy too! (And I really like her musical chioces too!)

Here are some from our Bookbinding team at Etsy. Click on the picture to buy them.

Book of the month: accordion fold


An accordion book is my first “book of the month” offering. It is a simple, simple, simple book that almost anyone can make. If you can fold a paper and glue it, you can make this book. Here is a little tutorial on the basic accordion fold book.

From these instructions you can make any variety of accordion books. For the rest of the month I’ll explain more about this construction, offer lots of examples and show ones I’ve made as well.