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. 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.
2. Lineco Bookbinding Tool Kit
This kit includes all the necessary tools to begin your bookmaking journey. 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. This kit is aimed at beginners (who will need to supply their own papers), but included are two different-size awls, a 6-inch bone folder, a .5-inch bristle brush, three bookbinding needles, 10 yards of linen thread, and beeswax for the thread. Made in the USA.
3. 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 fundamental tools you need to put together your boards and finished pages. The set includes a bookbinding guide, a straight-handled and a sharp awl, curved and straight needles, good-quality waxed thread, instructions, Japanese stitching templates, and a storage pocket in which to tuck everything away. Sure, there are other sets out there with more, but this is a great choice if you don’t want to clutter your work space or overwhelm yourself with more than you might need.
4. Arnold Grummer Zig-Zag Book
This bookmaking kit is perfect for teachers, as it includes enough materials to make 12 accordion-style 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 pre-folded papers are heavyweight and acid free, and sturdy chipboard covers are also provided—simply glue them on. Despite the kit’s simple nature, it still comes with an idea sheet and even tips to assemble books to meet young artists’ ideal visions.
5. Spakon Bookbinding Cloth Kit
A fun bookmaking project is to transform a used or vintage book into something fresh. If you’ve got a shelf full of tomes with broken spines or covers, try fixing them up with this kit, which comes with good-quality binding cloth and tools to reinforce any torn structure. The book cloth comes in a 39-by-45-inch sheet—enough to mend multiple books—and is archival and acid-free. You also get sturdy bone folders in two sizes to help press the cloth in place and a wooden stencil brush to apply glue. Just supply the adhesive of your choice and you’ve got a brand-new cover to customize!