Looking to find the perfect gift for the bookbinding artist in your life? Perhaps YOU are the artist, and you could use some help crafting that holiday wish list! Every bookmaker knows quality tools are essential to their creative process, but for those on a budget, the investment can be quite daunting. Enter: the Bookbinding Gift Giving Guide!
Here, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite bookmaking tools. If you’re the one doing the gift-giving, trust the recipient will be pleased! If you’re the lucky one on the receiving end, do a little happy dance and start creating!
(Please note that no affiliate links are used. I have purchased all these tools myself and use them on a daily basis.)
Basics You Can’t Live Without
I probably use this tool more than anything else in my collection. A bone folder is an indispensable tool for any bookbinder. It’s used not only to fold and press paper, but to turn corners on cloth and leather, to score, and to smooth surfaces. Coming in at around $20, it’s an item that will surely get a ton of use!
My tool kit wouldn’t be complete without these traditional 2.5″ long bookbinding needles from British manufacturer John James. At under $10 for a pack of 25, you will never run out or will have enough to share with a friend.
Ready to invest in some great waxed linen thread? I highly recommend the 3 and 4 ply options from Royalwood. If you’re overwhelmed by all the choices, choose black, white and a shade of blue, red and yellow that you like.
Tools Worth The Investment
A Japanese screw punch is used to create holes in fabric, leather, book board, and multiple layers of paper. They create cleaner holes than an awl and can be used for creating eyelets. My favorite punch from Springfield Leather comes in at around $45. They make a great gift for any bookbinding artist!
While you’re on the Springfield Leather site, pop some button studs into your cart!
A punching cradle is pretty crucial when it comes to bookmaking. While there are dozens of creative DIY constructions, investing in a quality cradle will make punching those holes a breeze. It’s important enough that I’ve actually constructed a design, which you’ll find in my shop!
Here’s a smaller version of the cradle that is ideal for travel or making mini books.
Cut through book board like butter and create neat sewing holes with this great scrapbooking tool. Up your game even more by adding eyelets to your cover too.
Tools That Make Measuring a Breeze
The 2 in 1 Trim and Miter tool makes a perfect corner and ¾” spacer—all in one! It’s a simple-to-use guide for cutting perfectly mitered corners. I love this one from Colorway Arts. It’s well worth the $17 investment!
An aluminum triangle is ideal for performing all sorts of tasks. It’s one of those “must-have” pieces, and better yet, it won’t break your wallet! Snag this triangle from Colophon Book Arts for only $9.
So, what do you gift to the book artist who has everything? Below I share a few more of my favorite tools and materials! (Because a bookmaker can never have too much thread and fabric, right?)
These humble brass measuring guides are some of the most hard-working tools in my kit. I use them to cut strips of paper and board, ensure even borders and as a tearing tool. I really can’t live without them.
A spring divider (not to be confused with a compass) has two sharp points and is used for measuring the distance between two points. It’s useful when making the same repeated measurement (for example, spacing sewing holes). It’s also used for scoring parallel lines or creating equal measurements on a spine.
Nice to Have
Cork fabric is a fantastic alternative to leather when creating soft covered books. It’s strong, flexible and easy to punch holes in. It comes in so many colors and patterns, you will be spoilt for choice. And it’s more cost-effective than leather. Visit Sew Many Creations and check out their wonderful selection.
If learning to make some of the gorgeous boxes you see on Instagram and Pinterest is on your 2023 creative resolutions list, then go straight to the experts. With detailed photographs and measurements, Tom and Cindy’s book is a valuable resource.
Let me know in the comments what’s on your holiday wish list.