coptic binding

in the past few days i've taught myself how to use the coptic stitch (also called chain stitch and kettle stitch) to bind a book. this is Really exciting for me because one of my favorite books (a journal from PaperBlanks with illuminated artwork from the Book of Kells on the cover) is coptic bound, and i really appreciate the look and feel that it imparts.

coptic bound books. you can see that the stitch creates a 'braided' look

coptic binding allows every page to lay flat without being bent next to the spine like the stab bound books. it also leaves the spine exposed, showing the elegant braided effect of the stitch and the folded edges of each signature (a signature is just a group of pages). books that are bound this way feel pretty magical to me by nature, and so i'm thrilled that i can make them myself now.

my first coptic bound book - a dream journal with a shakespearean card-cover

the first book is a new dream book for me. this will be the third one that i've made since the winter of 2007. its cover is a card that i bought at the globe theatre in london, and has a shakespeare quote on the front "Exit, pursued by a bear" with an awesome illustration of a bear chasing a haggard-looking man. one of my favorite shakespeare lines ever! you can see in the picture that i punched extra holes in the wrong places by accident. oops!

books made from soda boxes!

the other two were cut from a 12-pack case of 'heritage' dr. pepper (made with cane sugar!). i liked the retro style and thought i'd make some cute books out of it. i started with the smallest.

what do you think? do you have any coptic bound books? or any books/journals/notepads that you especially like for a particular or funny reason? i wanna see!


Jen S. said…
I watched a demo on coptic stitching once, and I got lost about 2 minutes into it. Not my thing for now, I guess!

By the way, You've been TAGGED by a fellow Kansas Etsy Team member . . . :)
lovinglandbase said…
love all the pics. where did you teach yourself from? a particular book or website? i'd like to learn this myself.
hennalion said…
hey ladies =)

i learned from two places... one was an image on flickr (a drawn out tutorial) by 'aesop' - that one is for signatures only, or for a folded card cover like my bear dream book.

and also from a youtube video by 'jaescala' found here:

that's for a normal cover.

if either of you have skype and would like a video demonstration, i can show you myself! it's fun. although the folks above may put it more clearly, who knows. also feel free to ask me questions about the process.

let me know how your binding goes, lovinglandbase!