A Centuries Old Art: Book Binding and Marbled Paper
The craft of book binding dates back much further than you may have imagined – centuries, in fact. One of the oldest methods involved folding sheets of parchment in half and sewing them together along the fold. The book covers were made of wooden boards and a goatskin bag kept the book protected.
Marbled paper is also a craft with a long history. Discovered over 1,000 years ago, marbled paper is created by floating paints on water to create delicate, one-of-a-kind designs. The pattern is printed and trimmed to decorate the outside and inside covers of the book. Our marbled paper, handmade in house by the artist, mirrors a classic pairing of book and paper arts.
At Azalea Bindery, we provide full book binding services. We create books, photo albums, photo frames, boxes, and more. We also repair your treasured books. We can create one piece or a limited edition as well as make any size or proportion you require. With your inspiration, we craft book binding pieces that perfectly reflect your needs.
Newly bound books and albums become family heirlooms or professional presentation pieces that preserve important occasions, business events, and more. The use of well accepted book binding practices guarantees the longevity of each piece we create. Our craftsmanship and materials are of the highest quality.
Techniques and Materials
There are several techniques that can be used for professional book binding, depending on how the pages are presented. The process a book binder uses involves cutting, sewing, and gluing paper, fabrics, and supple leathers, to create a final product that is a custom piece of art. Our book binding services include case binding, sewn signature binding, perfect binding, and historic bindings.
Our handmade book binding pieces begin by sewing and gluing the pages together then covering the book boards with a cover material. They are then married together. Our book bindery is fully equipped with tools and equipment operated almost entirely by hand.
Our leathers are high-quality goat and calf skin from experienced suppliers who tan leather specifically for book binding. We recommend Natural, Smooth Historical and River Grain goatskin, Natural Calf, Asahi Japanese silk book cloth, and Iris linen book cloth for book binding materials. There are many colors and textures found in these lines. All materials we use are of the highest quality and are guaranteed to be archival. We love to pair sumptuous fabrics, harmonious hues, and distinctive imagery.
How is book binding done?
Azalea Bindery can bind your manuscript, genealogy, memoir, thesis & dissertation, report, periodical, business records, drawings & photographs, menus, and more. With a specific print layout, pages can be folded, nested and sewn together to form the text. We call this a ‘sewn signature’ binding.
Single pages can be printed at your home or office and are bound using a flexible adhesive with thin cords dropped and glued into tiny notches made in the text block. The flexible adhesive and dropped cords ensure the pages will not come apart and the book will open and close nicely. We call this a ‘perfect’ binding.
The book cover is made to exactly fit the text, then titled, and attached to the text at the cover hinges. Because of the techniques we use, both book binding methods maintain their integrity for centuries.
How should pages be presented for book binding?
Azalea Bindery can receive your documents by mail, email or, by all means, visit the bindery. If you choose to have us print your document, it must be formatted exactly as you would like it to appear in print. Unless otherwise specified, we will have your document printed on 32# 100% cotton paper. If you are investing in a beautiful handmade book, it’s wise to use a paper with more strength and better appearance than 20# copy paper. You can also purchase 32# cotton paper from an office supply store to use in your own printer.
COVID-19 UPDATE: We are open and you are welcome. We can help you choose materials for your project via phone and online resources and encourage you to mail your documents and books. If you plan to visit the bindery, please wear a mask. I will provide hand sanitizer and clean between clients. Until further notice, please call 828-545-6219 to make pre-arrangements to come to the bindery. Thank you for your help during the pandemic.
How do I choose cover materials?
Together we will create the book cover design, titling options, and decorative elements you desire. We keep a large inventory of leather and book cloth in the bindery. We can link you to book cloth and leather samples on the web where you can pick your cover material or you can visit the bindery in Asheville, NC. For a limited edition of books, we can mail you material samples so you can see the true color and feel the texture of the cloth or leather, if desired. We recommend Asahi silk book cloth and Iris linen book cloth for your cloth cover materials. We recommend Natural, Smooth Historical, and River Grain genuine goat for most books, or genuine English calf for heavy book bindings. These materials are archival, durable and highly attractive.
Are titling and cover art available?
Your book cover will need a title and perhaps you would like an original art image or your logo printed. A hot foil stamping press is used to transfer the title, author, and selected image. While we arrange individual metal type, letter by letter, to title your book, a metal die or plate can be custom ordered to print your original cover art or company logo. We can blind deboss your book cover or apply 22k gold among other colors to complete the titling. A photograph or printed text can also be inlaid on the cover.
Are Azalea Bindery Book Bindings Archival?
Yes, all materials from paper to cloth, board, and adhesives are of the highest quality and are guaranteed to be archival.
How much does book binding cost?
The cost of book binding depends on several factors and the design elements that you want included in your book. As a starting point, a custom silk or linen book that is 8.5” x 11” in size, starts at $155.00. There are additional charges that will apply for cover inlay, cover photo, titling, die making, and printing. To learn more about the potential cost of your cloth book, please request a consult.
Because every custom bound book is unique, and made to meet your design ideas and end use, it’s necessary to request a consult by providing some details about your book. The approximate size, color, and your design preferences will help us provide you with an accurate estimate. We will respond with an itemized estimate within 24 hours of receiving your request.
Available Products in Our Book Binding Line
Custom Manuscript Book Binding
Custom Genealogy Book Binding
Custom Memoir Book Binding
Custom Thesis & Dissertation Book Binding
Custom Business Report & Document Binding
Custom Report & Periodical Binding
Custom Menu Binding
Custom Portfolio Binding
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