Beginners' bookbinding: evening course
Time: 18:00 - 21:00
Location: Keeley Street
This course has now finished
Course Code: VD359
Duration: 10 sessions (over 10 weeks)
Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.
What is the course about?
You will be given an early 20th century printed letterpress book to work on. Through a step-by-step process, you will explore how a book is put together, its structure and its functions.
What will we cover?
- Supported sewing techniques, endpapers, rounding & backing, simple made headbands, paper labels, and making a board case covering.
- Decorative papers for covering the boards.
- Very basic paper repair and some very simple conservation techniques
- Identification of different print types
- the use of adhesives, cloth, paper, board, small tools and equipment.
- The history of letterpress printing from Johannes Gutenberg to the early 20th century.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- sew a multi-section book with tapes on supported sewing
- correctly identify grain direction in paper, board & cloth
- make uniqued decorative papers to cover the boards of the book
- select and use the appropriate adhesives, tools and materials
- Identification of different print types
- use the experience and knowledge gained on the course to continue onto other bookbinding courses.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
The course is aimed at beginners and no previous bookbinding experience is necessary. This course will be taught through step-by step instructions and demonstrations.
You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, to use the hand-outs which support demonstrations and follow health and safety information, and you may also be invited to take part in group discussion.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
You will be taught as a group and we will work through the projects together. Individual attention will be given
throughout the course and during each session, as required. Handouts will be provided and you will be encouraged to make your own working notes during the course.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
All materials are included in the course fee and will be available in the classroom but there will be a small fee of £4.00 to purchase the book upon which you will work.There is a small tool kit available for use during the course. If you have a bookbinding kit, please do bring it. Should you wish to purchase your own things you will be given guidance on what to get during the first session. Please bring a pen, sharp pencil,
eraser and notebook to every session. Small brushes and an apron will also be useful during the course.
Need art supplies? Our partner London Graphic Centre has everything you need from pencils to printing services, at
To get an LGC discount card, students will need to show proof/ confirmation of enrolment of them being a student
at City Lit. You can apply for our card in-store or by simply emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with a scan or
photo of relevant confirmation. The student discount does not apply to products that are already discounted or on
offer. More information can be found here- https://www.londongraphics.co.uk/student-discounts/.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
- VD190 City Lit bookbinding course
- VD338 Paper marbling
- VD327 Bookbinding: box making
- VD357 Bradel binding
- VD292 Bookbinding: Learn to bind artists' books
- VD416 Bookbinding: Japanese books and boxes.
Royston has more than 46 years of experience as a bookbinder, beginning his apprenticeship in 1973. He is accredited with basic and advanced City & Guilds in Craft Bookbinding, gaining a distinction at advanced level. In 1984 he joined Sangorski & Sutcliffe where he acquired a love of fine binding. Royston has been a part time Tutor at the London College of Printing and Camberwell College of Art. He has run workshops and masterclasses on basic and advanced techniques of fine binding, as well as more specialised workshops in areas such as wooden board bindings, Cosway bindings and Paring and Sharpening Techniques. Additionally, prior to his retirement in 2015, he had 25 years of experience at the British Library Conservation Centre, conserving rare books and manuscripts. Royston now works part time as a bookbinding tutor at City Lit and is a visiting tutor at the Royal Library in Windsor, as well as teaching private students.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.