UPDATED (ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED JULY 6, 2020 8:57 PM)
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The art of bookbinding is a slow and meditative process. It’s a wonderful skill to learn, giving you total control over the physical aspects of your books from covers to spines. And if you’re a sentimental person who likes to save paper ephemera, bookbinding is a great way to stitch together beautiful journals of all your treasures. The process requires several specialized tools that you can buy individually—like a bone folder for creasing papers—but it’s easier and more cost effective to buy them in a set. Our picks will help you decide on the best kit for your needs and budget.
1. We R Memory Keepers Bookbinding Guide
While this bookmaking kit doesn’t come with paper or cover boards, you will have many—if not all—of the tools you need to put together your boards and finished pages. The set includes a bookbinding guide, awl, curved and straight needles, waxed thread, instructions, Japanese stitching templates, and a storage pocket in which to tuck everything away.
2. Shizen Design Bookmaking Kit
With this kit, the only extra materials needed are decorative paper or fabric to cover your creation with. Other than that, it’s all in the box. Included are 72 sheets of paper, a spine, and cover boards to protect the interior pages. The cotton-based materials are 100 percent recycled and handmade in India. For an old-world feel, each of the included interior pages boast a deckle edge.
3. Lineco Bookbinding Tool Kit
This tool kit is for those who would rather choose their own paper, board, and cloth. Lineco is a tried-and-true brand, so it’s a sure bet that the tools will work well and stand the test of time. Included are two different-size awls, a 6-inch bone folder, a bristle brush, three bookbinding needles, 10 yards of linen thread, and beeswax for the thread.
4. Arnold Grummer Zig-Zag Book
This bookmaking kit is perfect for teachers, as it includes enough materials to make 12 books at a very reasonable price. Because it doesn’t require specialized tools, binding, or stitching, it’s an easy and crafty way for children to create their own books. The papers are heavyweight and acid free, and sturdy chipboard covers are also provided.
5. Books by Hand Linen Tape Journal Kit
For a simple hand-bound journal, this kit will teach you the basics and provide you everything from the needle to the pre-cut binders board and bookcloth. Although “Books By Hand” sounds like a generic name, it is actually a division of Lineco, a tried-and-true art and artisan brand. With this kit, you have the option of various different fabric patterns depending on your preference.