Coptic Binding with Found Object Covers

A found object coptic notebook made with legos.
Elizabeth Castaldo working at a letterpress.
Elizabeth Castaldo working in CBA's iron hand press

Event Info

This workshop takes place across two sessions:

  • Mon, March 22nd, 5–7pm ET
  • Thu, March 25th, 5–7pm ET

In this online class, students will learn how to make a coptic-bound journal using objects you can find in your home as covers. Coptic binding is a versatile book structure that can be made without adhesives easily at home. Coptic bound books can lay completely flat and feature beautiful braided sewing along the spine. This structure is perfect for making your own sketchbooks and journals and is an excellent option for artist books as well.


There are a total of 12 spots open in this small-group workshop.

If you cannot comfortably pay tuition but are interested in taking this class, please consider filling out our financial assistance application here. We will notify you of your scholarship status before the start date of the class.


Required Materials:

  • 2 x flat found objects to use as covers (for example: hardcovers from an old book, sturdy postcards, parts from a game board, lego base plates, interesting food packaging, sturdy fabric, felt, plastic embroidery mesh, thin pieces of wood)
  • 24 x text weight paper cut down to fit your covers (cut to the height of the cover by two times the width, grain short)*
  • Bone folder or a dull non-serrated butter knife
  • Heavy duty awl or drill depending on what you need to make holes in your book covers
  • Bookbinding thread, heavy duty sewing thread, dental floss, light weight twine or other sewing material
  • Sewing needle that works with your chosen thread
  • Scrap strips of paper or graph paper that are a little taller than your cover height
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Optional: a small weight

* Students are required to cut and prepare all of their paper. If you aren’t familiar with paper grain direction, view this PDF to learn more about how to prepare your paper correctly for this workshop. (PDF includes two pages from Bookformsan instructional book published by the Center for Book Arts.)


About the Instructor

Elizabeth Castaldo is an artist, printmaker, and bookbinder living and working in Peekskill, NY and New York City. She received her MFA from SCAD Atlanta where she was a Dean’s Fellow in Printmaking and her BFA from the School of Visual Arts. Elizabeth works with printmaking, drawing, and collage to make works on paper and artists books that explore nature and the body. She has completed residencies at the Center for Book Arts, NYC and Printmaker’s Open Forum. In 2019 Elizabeth’s work was included in the traveling exhibition, “Freed Formats: The Book Reconsidered”. She organized the exchange portfolio “Earth/Mother” for the SGCI 2020 conference “Puertografico”. She teaches printmaking and book arts at Parsons, Nassau Community College and the Center for Book Arts NYC. Elizabeth’s work is held in many private and institutional collections including at Savannah College of Art and Design, Carnegie Melon University, Yale University.

All images courtesy of the instructor.

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