Bookbinding 101: Decorative Paper

There are thousands of options for using decorative paper in your handmade books. Links at the bottom of this post are places where the papers discussed below can be found. Following are  seven short HD videos showing several popular types of bookbinding papers. Although video isn't quite the same as holding a paper in hand, it's actually does a decent job of giving a sense of what a paper is like, much better than a still photo can do.  Hopefully these can help you, whether a new or experienced bookbinder, gain a sense of papers you may not have handled before.


We'll be going over papers from around the world (Thailand, India, Nepal, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Italy, France and the U.S.)

The papers we will be showing you are made with projects like bookbinding in mind. Most of them are acid free, bend and fold and wear well, and may have other qualities that make them great for bookbinding.

A few words about scrapbook paper:

Scrapbook paper is meant to be cut, stamped, written on and glued onto. This type of paper is usually not made to be folded over hardcover books. And that's a key point. No fold well, no put on book. Most scrapbook papers have a core in it that is white, which is printed on with a decorative print, and the kind of inks used for the print will usually quickly wear off the surface of the scrapbook paper when glued onto a book, especially along the edges of the book. It was made to sit under plastic sheets with delicate photos on top of it and to be handled carefully. There are some scrapbook papers that might do well, but in our experience they are few. If it's a paper you are absolutely in love with, you may wish to test it and see how well it folds and wears before putting it on a book. Otherwise, we'd suggest keeping these types of papers for endsheets if used in a way that doesn't need to be folded.

Viewing tip: for the highest detail, view full screen and choose 1080p (these options are available in the lower right of each video once it starts playing).

Part 1: Unryu and papers from Thailand:


Part 2: Lokta paper from Nepal


Part 3: Papers from India


Part 4: Japanese Papers


Part 5: Italian Papers


Part 6: Marbled Paper


Part 7: Bring on the rest!


Where to get these papers:

hollanders.com
paperstudio.com
orangeart.com