Bookbinding for Beginners at NSW Guild

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Learn the alchemy of bookbinding fundamentals with our handcrafts courses at the NSW Guild in Sydney.

For hundreds of years books were made by hand. Now you rarely handle a book which isn’t made by a machine. The intention of this course is to re-introduce you to the ancient craft of hand bookbinding. This course is the official introductory course of the NSW Guild of Craft Bookbinders. It is held at the Guild’s professionally equipped Ralph Lewis Bindery in Garry Owen House, Writing NSW, Callan Park, Rozelle.

The NSW Guild is a non-profit organisation with the following objectives:

  • To promote and exhibit the art of the hand-bound book
  • To maintain traditional craft bookbinding skills
  • To seek and exert a progressive influence on the design and technique of bookbinding
  • To further the cause of book arts in general


In this workshop you will complete at least 4 projects. A choice of coloured and decorative papers and card will be available for use for the covers of all books. There will also be time to add decorative paper weaving into covers if you choose.

You will make:

  • a single-section stitched booklet, binding the NSW Guild’s publication 'The Alchemy of Bookbinding: Basics Terms and Concepts'
  • a full paper Japanese four-hole pouch (fukuro toji) binding
  • a hard cover concertina photo album with dimensions to fit standard 4" x 6" photos
  • a multi-section French-stitched notebook with a wraparound cover

Ideal for

The course is suitable for those who are starting from scratch and also for those who want to refresh their skills learned from a previous course.

Course content

In this course you will learn key bookbinding terminology and the core skills of accurate measuring and cutting, paper handling, folding, glueing and stitching. You will be introduced to specialist tools as well as simpler homemade devices. You just need bring your creativity, curiosity and passion.

Please note, for this workshop students require good hand-eye co-ordination, fine motor skills and the capability and confidence to use sharp knives for cutting. Basic numeracy is required to facilitate accurate measurements and calculations. You should be able to follow verbal instructions and understand health and safety information.

Venue and getting there

Ralph Lewis Bindery
Room 14, Garry Owen House
Callan Park, Balmain Rd
Lilyfield NSW 2038

Parking directions
Follow the orange signs for Writing NSW (formerly the NSW Writers' Centre) to the carpark behind the building. For more information on how to find us, please visit the NSW Guild website (opens in new tab).

Please bring to class

  • Closed-in shoes to wear as an OHS requirement
  • You may wish to bring an apron, and the Guild has its own aprons for sale

Other information

  • All materials are provided by the NSW Guild
  • A take home beginners kit of tools will be available for optional purchase at a discounted rate
  • For ages 18+
  • You can also check out Bookbinding for Beginners at Owl & Lion.


Bookbinding for Beginners at NSW Guild

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$260 Limited inc GST / $208 / $234

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