In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to turn a pad of drawing paper into a simple sketchbook using coptic stitch binding. This binding allows the sketchbook to lay flat, making it easy to draw in. The tools you’ll need are:
a cutting mat, a utility knife a utility knife a pencil a bone folder, a light duty awl and a heavy duty awl scissors waxed cotton or linen thread and a large needle. For this book, I’m using an 11 x 14 drawing pad with 40 sheets. The board on the back of the pad will provide the book covers. First, you want to start by removing all sheets from the pad. Then carefully remove the front cover from the board and remove any extra pieces of glue. Now fold each piece of paper and half, and run the bone folder across the folded edge. After all the pages are folded, mark and cut the board in half to make the covers. Now group the stack of pages into signatures. A signature consists of 4 pieces of folded sheets. This makes 10 signatures, which makes the book 160 pages. Now mark where to pierce the holes for binding. First make sure the signatures are stacked evenly on all sides. On the top signature, lightly mark 1 inch points 3 inches from both ends. Using one of the cover boards, align it to the inch marks and lightly draw a straight line across the signatures. Now take the top signature to make the holes on the covers. Make sure you know which side you want the binding to be on. Align the signature with the board, leaving about a half inch from the end, and pierce the board next to the marks. Make the holes about the same width as your needle. After all the holes are made on the first cover, make the holes on the second cover. Align the covers with the insides facing each other and pierce the second cover by going through the holes on the first. Set the covers aside and pierce through the marks on each signature, making sure the pages stay centered to the fold as you work. Also, it helps to stack the signatures back in the order they were when you marked them. This will make your book more aligned and straight. After all the signatures are pierced, you can begin binding. Double thread the needle with waxed thread and tie a knot on the end. The amount of thread depends on your book. You want to have a good amount, but manageable enough to work with. It’s ok to run out of thread while binding your book, I’ll show you how to fix that later. Making sure you bind the signatures in the order you marked them, start with the bottom cover and one signature. Sew from the inside of the signature to the outside and around to the outside cover. Then loop around, and back into the signature. Repeat this for the remaining holes on
the cover. Sometimes the thread tangles even if it’s waxed, so be patient with it and sew slowly if you feel it begin to tangle. For the last hole on the signature, after you loop around, return the needle into the next signature. Continue the same stitching on the remaining signatures, always looping around the previous signature’s stitch. When you reach a point where you have about this much thread left, it’s a good time to tie it off and begin a new thread. Tie the thread off in a knot on the inside of the signature, and tuck the ends under the thread behind it. Once you have your new thread, continue onto the next as you normally would from the inside of the signature. You can go back later and tuck the ends under the thread for a cleaner look. When you reach the last signature, it’s time to sew on the cover. Start with the cover and loop the needle around once, then into the signature. For the remaining stitches, loop around the previous signature first. Then to the cover, loop around once, and back into the signature. Continue the same stitching on the remaining signature and cover holes. When you reach the end, tie off the thread with a knot. Tuck it underneath and cut off the thread.