Paper Case Binding (Summer 2021)

stack of hand-made books with paper case binding
Paper Case Binding
Sarah Nicholls
Image courtesy of the artist.

Event Info

This class will take place on:

  • Mon, August 9th, 10:00am-12:00pm ET

In this class, students will construct a soft-cover multiple-signature binding. We’ll start off sewing a text block, then make a stiff paper cover to house it. We will talk about materials, tools, sewing technique, cover variations, and endsheets. This structure is non-adhesive, and can be constructed in a home studio with minimal specialized equipment. This kind of structure is a versatile step up from a pamphlet, and can be used to make notebooks, sketchbooks, and artist books. Beginners welcome.

Required Materials


  • For inner signatures: sheets of light, text weight paper, any size. 24 sheets of text weight will give you 6 signatures of 4 sheets of paper each, folded in half. You can use more if you like. Grain short, so the grain runs parallel to the fold. If you have fewer sheets you will have thinner signatures. You can use thicker paper and fewer sheets per signature if that’s what you prefer.

Cover paper:

  • Cover weight paper: A nice heavyweight, strong flexible paper will work perfectly for this. Size should be double the height of the text block and at least four times the width, so I would get a nice large sheet, you can trim it down if necessary.
  • I like using a heavy handmade paper, one good option is a colored paper by St. Armand.
  • Indian Khadi papers are also a good option, but any heavyweight paper will work, including watercolor paper.

About the Instructor

Sarah Nicholls is an artist, printmaker, and writer whose work combines language, image, visual narrative, and time. She publishes an ongoing series of letterpress pamphlets on climate change, urban ecology, and the history of science and technology, and organizes a range of participatory walks and programs around the series. Her limited edition artist books are in the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, Columbia University, and Stanford, among others. Her work has received support from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Brooklyn Arts Council, and the Puffin Foundation, and she has participated in residencies at BRIC House in Brooklyn, the Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts, and Guttenberg Arts in NJ. She teaches letterpress and book arts at Pratt Institute, Parsons School of Design, and University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

All images courtesy of the instructor.

In order to best serve our community near and far, many of our online classes are pay-what-you-can. While each class has a suggested price, we wish to make our educational programming as economically accessible as possible as well as to make sure our students feel fulfilled in their creative processes outside of the studio. The amount you choose to pay goes directly toward our instructors and toward creating scholarship opportunities for the future.

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