Bookbinding – make a decorative quarter leather binding with Marysa De Veer

Bookbinding and paper marbling

Ref: S3D11493

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About this course

Broaden your bookbinding skills by making a quarter leather binding with decorative sides and endpapers. This book has a unique opening mechanism which allows it to 'pop' open.

Course Description

This unique method of bookbinding allows the book to spring open, and lie flat so it can be written in with ease. An ideal method for art books, visitors’ books, sketch books, journals, photo albums and any book that is required to open flat. It also has the added bonus of being very robust and designed for heavy use.

The learning objectives are to create a finished book from scratch using traditional techniques whilst incorporating art in the form of painted papers inside the book, outside the book and on the top edge.

You will start by painting using a mixture of paste and acrylic to create abstract artwork that will be used to make endpapers and outside board papers.

You will then make up the cloth jointed endpapers and sew up your text block on four linen tapes using linen thread.

The text block will then be glued and ploughed before you paint the top edge of your book using acrylic and paste to create a pattern that will match the papers that you have already painted.

Once painted, the spine will be lined with leather and the cardboard spine prepared to make the spring back.

You then line the inside of your cardboard spine, once it is dry, with linen, and attach it to the book before preparing the split boards which will be attached to the book block.

You will then lightly pare the skiver leather and attach to the book block. Decorative sides then go on and the endpapers go down giving you a beautiful hand painted, hand made book made to last.

By the end of the course you will have used your own art to create a hand bound book that can be used in many ways. The style and techniques are taught in a methodical way, which will allow you to apply your newly learnt skills to future projects.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • Some general materials, including boards, paste, leather and paper for your book.

What students need to bring

  • Notebook, pencil and rubber
  • Covered shoes and an apron/overall

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Bone folders, both Teflon and bone
  • Steel ruler
  • Sharp craft knife and scissors
  • Paring knife, scalpel
  • Set square and spring dividers
  • Sewing tape and linen thread
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. You may need safety boots, if specified above.


Marysa De Veer

Marysa de Veer trained in bookbinding and conservation at Guildford College of Technology where she gained a Diploma with merit in 1992. Marysa holds a diploma in Chemistry for conservators from Hammersmith College and has won prizes in restoration as well as highly commended prize for designed bindings with both The Society of Bookbinders as well as Designer Bookbinders. She has attended inspirational innovative monthly bookbinding master classes at L'ecole du Vesinet, Paris. She has also been a judge for the British Print Industry Federation for their British Book Design Awards. She runs Otter Bookbinding Ltd which specialises in printing, binding, restoration and conservation of antiquarian books and bespoke one-off bookbinding.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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