Here are some of the bookmaking supplies that will help you create the books you see on this website, and some sources for those supplies.
Protect your Hands!
I have sliced pieces of my fingers off more than once while being in a hurry, or distracted or just plain over-confidant. This simple and cheap glove (you actually get a pair) will protect you from yourself!
Guillotine Paper Cutter
Cutting bookboard by hand is a gruesomely tedious task. You will also want to trim up the edges of your textblocks, another difficult thing to do by hand. This affordable guillotine is awesome for both tasks and you’ll wonder how you lived without it. Buying a professional grade paper cutter will pay off the first time you use it, turning a 20 minute annoyance into a 30-second piece of cake.
Cosmos Blotting Paper
Thick, cheap, acid-free and very absorbent paper, these blotters are perfect for pressing and drying your glued book covers.
Here’s an amazingly useful set of tools from an unlikely source. You’ll find yourself reaching for this kit all the time as you are working on your books. The scalpels alone are infinitely better than X-acto knives, but there are so many other useful tools in this kit! You get a surprising number of precision tools for an equally surprising cheap price.
Replacement Scalpel Blades
You can get a wide variety of replacement scalpel blades – a different shape for every use!
Be sure to buy the correct blade for your handle as the handle must be paired to the blade number used.
Handles #3 and #5 scalpel blades #10-15
Handles #4 and #6 fit scalpel blades #20-25
Rice Paper for making Bookcloth
This is a great, inexpensive paper to use as a liner for creating your own bookcloth. The Unyru is particularly good as it contains fibers that help to strengthen it and keep it from tearing when it’s wet.
Binder’s Board/Davey Board
Always use acid-free (PH neutral) elements in the construction of your books to ensure that they will last a long time without yellowing or deteriorating. This should include the bookboard you use to construct your covers.
For gluing bookcloth to bookboard, reinforcing the spines of textblocks, and many other bookmaking uses, PVA glue should be your first choice. It is PH neutral, an important factor if you don’t want your books to rot and fall apart over time, and it remains flexible, not brittle, after it dries, a critical element in many bookmaking features.
Text weight paper
If you are making a textblock with lots of pages you’ll want a lighter, text weight paper. One perfect paper for this is Rives lightweight (115 gm). It comes in White, which is actually cream in color, and in Cream, which is even creamier in color. 🙂
The image link is to the 115 gsm Cream version of this paper. There is also a White version (linked here) but I honestly can hardly tell the difference between the two. They are both more cream-colored than white.
Make sure you are buying the 115 gsm lightweight version of this beautifully made paper and not the heavier 280 gm printmaking version. Unless, of course, you are making a book that is appropriate for the heavier paper, like this example of Coptic Binding.
You can find this heavier, classic printmaking paper here:
Soft Book Weights
You need to weight things down all the time while you are gluing parts of your book together, so having an assortment of soft weights available is very useful. A good source for those is scuba weights like these:
Crop-A-Dile Eyelet and Snap Punch
The perfect tool for adding decorative eyelets to your book covers.
Big Bite Crop-A-Dile Eyelet and Snap Punch
And for those hard to reach areas of your book covers…
…and the Eyelets 🙂
These come in a wide variety of colors.