October 29, 2020

POSTED BY

Anabelle Accetta-Beman

CATEGORY

Bookbinding Tidbits: Coptic Stitch Binding

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Everything about a book is customizable, including the way that it’s bound. There are case bound books that use glue, saddle stitch binding for things like magazines, and spiral bound books, to name a few. Today, we will be discussing Coptic stitch binding! The Coptic stitch is a bookbinding method …

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Everything about a book is customizable, including the way that it’s bound. There are case bound books that use glue, saddle stitch binding for things like magazines, and spiral bound books, to name a few. Today, we will be discussing Coptic stitch binding!

The Coptic stitch is a bookbinding method that was used as early as the 2nd century AD. Named for the Copts, who were Christians in Egypt, the Coptic stitch was often used to bind bibles together. This form of bookbinding was extremely useful because it was sturdy but didn’t require glue—-only a needle and thread.

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new york branding sports graphic design company

To continue, Coptic stitch binding is still used today to make books. It’s a popular binding method for sketchbooks because it allows the book to lay open completely flat. Additionally, the way that it’s sewn leaves the spine exposed with a beautiful braided pattern that connects all of the groups of paper together. All you really need to create your own Coptic bound book is some paper, some cardboard, a needle and thread, and an awl. It’s a rewarding project if you have the time to do it, and handmade books make excellent gifts for friends and family.

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An aggressively Christmas-themed book I made as a gift
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Same book, inside cover with festively colored paper

If you are interested in creating your own Coptic stitch book, I recommend Jennifer Bates, perhaps better known as Sea Lemon. She has some in-depth bookbinding tutorials on her YouTube channel, including—-you guessed it!—-a DIY Coptic stitch video. I personally learned how to use the Coptic stitch method from her tutorial, and I’ve created dozens of books for myself. I found that the Coptic stitch is a good intro book binding method before you attempt more difficult or complicated methods, like case bound.

So in brief, whether you want to make a sketchbook for yourself, create a notebook as a present, or just learn a new skill, I recommend the Coptic stitch bookbinding method. You’ll impress your friends or maybe even impress yourself with this hundreds-year-old bookbinding method!

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A book I made with different colored thread to make a rainbow! The cover is a recycled textbook sleeve/protector
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A Coptic stitch book I made with red and white thread

Lemon book, chevron books, blue thread, and apple cover © 2020 Jennifer Bates (Youtube, Instagram)
Other books and images shown © 2020 Anabelle Accetta-Beman