Coptic binding



  • two cartons for the covers
  • nice paper to wrap the covers in
  • acrylic varnish to protect the paper covers
  • glue
  • scissors
  • waxed thread
  • needle
  • awl or something to make little holes in the paper and covers
  • papers (twice the size of your covers, they will be folded in half)


There are many good guides and videos on how to make the binding itself, so i’ll just add some notes:

Mind the paper grain direction

Often paper has its fibers aligned in one direction. It is much easier to make nice folds parallel with the grain direction. When you try to fold perpendicular to the grain direction, the paper will fight you, the fold may be ugly with craks, or might not be able to fold exactly in the place you want to.

You can determine grain direction by bending the paper - it bends more easily parallel to grain direction. Folding the papers is the most time consuming part of this process, so take care to select papers, that will be easy to fold.

Waxed thread

Waxed thread makes it easier to do the stitches and they feel more solid afterward. But mine had too much wax, it did get almost glued to the paper and it was difficult to tighten the stitches (they felt tight, but only because the thread was stuck on the paper).

Size of signatures

When using thicker watercolor paper, I put three to four sheets into one signature. When the paper is thin, I use six to eight.

Number of signatures

The most time consuming is binding the first and last signatures to the covers, sewing any other signatures is easy and quick, so have as many of them as you want or need.

Making covers

I wrapped the covers in durable paper with printed picture on it. I cut the paper to be bigger than the carton cover more than 1 cm on each side. Then I glue the outer side flat to the paper and let it join under some weights.

Glueing cornes

I start working on the inner side by first gluing the corners and then gluing the sides over them.

Gluing sides

Lastly, I cover the inner side with a nice paper, slightly smaller than the cover. After the book is bound together, I varnish the outer side and edges of the covers with acrylic varnish.

Finished sketchbook Finished sketchbook Finished sketchbook Finished sketchbook Finished sketchbook