Bookbinding Basics: Creating a Leather Watercolor Journal | Brittany Seaborg | Skillshare

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Bookbinding Basics: Creating a Leather Watercolor Journal

teacher avatar Brittany Seaborg,

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Supplies 01


    • 3.

      Signatures 02


    • 4.

      Cutting holes 03


    • 5.

      Sewing the Binding 04


    • 6.

      Pressing the Spine 05


    • 7.

      Preparing the Leather 06


    • 8.

      Sewing the Cover 07


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About This Class

Hello, and welcome to my Skillshare class! During this class, you will learn how to create a leather handbound watercolor journal using basic bookbinding methods and techniques. 

This class covers:

  • Creating signatures
  • Stitching the binding
  • Pressing the book 
  • Sewing the cover to the binding

By the end of this class, you will have made a beautiful watercolor journal built to last a lifetime, and have learned the basics of bookbinding. Let's get started!

Supplies List (with links)

Meet Your Teacher

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Brittany Seaborg

Level: Beginner

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1. Intro: Hey, my sister. Then when the teacher had a lot of water using basic finding methods and techniques, I will go over how to create signatures sewing the binding and pressing spine as well as attaching the leather. Have you joining in this class in L C. U. 2. Supplies 01: The first thing we're gonna be using in this course is watercolor paper. The paper I like to use is from a company called Be Paper Company that sells a watercolor paper that is six by nine inch pre cut, and it's 100% cotton. The paper comes in two different weights, a 90 in a 1 40 and the difference between the two. You really is matter of preference than of quality. The 90 is best suited toward dry brush technique, so lighter pains with less water in them. But it is a lightweight paper, as faras watercolor goes, and so you can Philip your journal with more sheets. That way, the 1 40 is more of your traditional paper, where is pretty thick and absorbs water, um fast and dries quickly. The next thing will be using is our 100% cotton thread and upholstery needle you do not have to use on upholstery needle. However, I have found that is a lot easier to use on upholstery Needle. In this project, it's makes going in and out of the stitching holes a lot easier for on your hands. However, it's not necessary. And if you have any other something needle lying around. You can use that as well. Next, we'll be using our tacky glue. The tacky glue is just Teoh. Reinforce the binding after you've stitched the pages together. It gives it a nice, flexible, um, spine while keeping its sturdy ends all the stitching locked in place. Next, you'll need a pair of sharp scissors. Any pair of craft scissors will do. This is just to cut the holes into your paper, and Teoh cut holes into your weather as well and onto leather. I have already pre cut mine to five inch is by 12 inch. However, you can do any piece of leather that as long as it's five inch weight with it could be as long as you want. And you can find this at your local craft store as well. The last two things are optional. One is the leather cord. This is a matter of preference as well. It's whether or not you want to you behind your book. When you finished putting an entry, you can use ribbon or twine as well, and the other thing is, a ruler is a ruler makes it a little easier when cutting your stitching holes just to be more precise. However, it's not necessary, and you can I as well. And that's it for supplies I have included a list on my was as well for the supplies with all the links. Um, and that is in the class description below. However, you can buy everything on this list from your local craft store as well, and I will see you in the next listen. 3. Signatures 02: the first thing we're gonna be doing is creating our signatures for this. You'll need to pull out. You wanted colored paper. I already have mine out in a stack of tin sheets and they're already pre cut to you six by nine inches. So what we're basically gonna be doing is folding the page Jews in half in creating a nice , crisp head on the end. This folded size is going to be the size of your at your journal. In the end, another way, you can create that crisp edges by using the back of a Sharpie or by using scissors. I'm gonna use Mrs there, since I haven't already out. - And you're just gonna keep continuing on like this can understand your stack of papers is getting quite full. You can check it every now and then to make sure the edges are pretty crisp. It should look about like this, and the ends should match up fairly well. I'm gonna go ahead and speed things up. All right. So now that you have all your pages folded, you can go ahead and split your pile in half. I like to you, um, split him in half just to make it a little easier for me. And so I'm gonna since I have 10 cheats I'm gonna do to piles of five and make sure that based in the same direction. Then I'm going to grab a sheet from each pile and then slide my the right paper into the left like that. And these are called our signatures and you'll see them in any book that if you look at the spine that the pages within the book are gathered because watercolor paper is so thick, we're only gonna do two sheets for each signature. But depending on the weight of your paper, you can use as many's delight. All right, Now that you have your signatures, you are ready to start cutting the holes for your sitting. 4. Cutting holes 03: So now that we have created our signatures, we can go ahead and start cutting our holes for the stitching. So what you're going to do first is grab one signature and you can just place the others aside. Now, I have more ruler out for this. This can be I'd as I mentioned before. It's just a matter of preferences to whether or not you want it precise. So what I'm going to use this ruler for is to kind of show me where to put my stitch. You markings evenly. And so one thing you want to keep in mind is that we're gonna need to start an inch in on either end that keeps it the binding from being too stiff when you're using it. And so our first hole is going to be at the one inch mark and five inch mark, and from there you want to always have a an even number of holes to stitch from on your binding. So I'm going to do two more in the middle. So the 1st 1 I'm going to do is at five inches. I'm just gonna make a little nick so I can see it and then one at one edge. And then I'm gonna go ahead and do want it. Two and 1/4 and then three and 3/4 Metal leaves them middle gap a little whiter, but that's all right. So when you go ahead and just cut these all the way through and you want to just put pressure on and you'll feel it, give a little bit. Andi, you should see the mark on both sides, and that will be your whole. And so again, on your next ones. All right, Now that you've done that, you can go ahead and grab your next signature. After you checked that, the holes go all the way through. And this is this first signatures gonna basically be serve as your guide. And so you match up the two signatures, make sure they're even with each other and then gently pushed back your guide guiding signature. Now we're gonna cut holes in this next signature, the new one along the lines of the last one. So you should be able to see your markings where you cut and use that as your guide. And you just keep doing this with all of your signatures and again making sure those pages are lined up evenly and just double check every now and then to make sure you're cutting all the way through in the last one. All right. And now that you have all your signatures, you can line them up and they should match, and you'll see there. You should look roughly like this. Now you have cut your holes, you are ready to start sewing. 5. Sewing the Binding 04: Now that we have the holes cut into our signatures, we can go ahead and start sewing the binding. To do this, you're gonna wanna grab your cotton thread and upholstery needle already set up my needle. But I will show you how to measure the length for it real quick. What I like to do is double of the first amount so that I know that I won't run out of string. And I go from the first signature hole Teoh the last. And I measured out and make sure it's that length. And then I go ahead and pull it and keep doing this over and over. And so what you're gonna want to do is make sure it is the length of however many signatures you have plus one. So I did this six times for mine. Since I have five signatures now, you're gonna grab you first signature, and you can put the others aside and you're gonna so through the first hole at the end of your thread, you should have. You will need to have nodded your thread so that it'll catch. And you need to leave a tale at the end of this so that later you can not it, um, to the other signatures like so and you're just gonna weave in and out of this for a signature? After you've done that, you can grab your second signature and you'll see that the threats have come through on both sides. And so I put my fingers through both signatures that I'm currently working with. And so you're going to take your thread and go through last hole on the new signature, the one that is even with the one you just came out of in your current signature. And then you're gonna weep through to the next hole and go back into your first signature into the hole that is equal with your current with your working thread. And you just keep doing that. I'm pulling up and then going through the next Minga. And then once you've done this, you can tie off the working thread toothy end. I'm to the tail that you left, and so what I'll do is I'll just hold the working thread. I'm still or its hold the tail still, and then I will loop the working thread around the tail and then go inside of the blue. Basically, you're just shoe lace tying for knotting it. So again, leaving a loop thing going on the inside and then pulling tight and that will keep the end together. Now you're ready for your next signature. So again, just going into the hole that is even with your working thread where you had just been I'm in going under and into the next, and it kind of show you what I just did with the lock. Um, I'll go back through really quick, but what it did is I went and took the threat and put it in between the last two signatures , not the one I had been currently working on, but looped it underneath in between the two. Um, it would be Thies too, and then pushed my needle up in between. And nature, there's a leap is going through the loop and then pulling up, um, and pulling over to attain on that just lock cyst. Ege is in place and so you can just keep continuing to so the last signature. It's pretty much the beginning of it is the same as you did before, where you'll be stitching through and matching it up with the last signature. And so you just be going in and out as before, can, hopefully, years won't slip. Not Mike, Brenda and all That's just the same. And you go ahead and lock it stitches Justus before making sure that loops on the outside, the needles going through it. All right on then. What I like to do is, as you can see, like on this last signature, there is no threat in the middle. But in all of the other pages there are there is a thread. And so what I like to do is go back and leap through, just so it's all uniform. And so it's gonna lie. The third is gonna lie on top, um, on the spine, which is a little different, but the spine you won't actually be seen, but you will see the inside of the pages. So that's the area where I like it to look a little more in sync and just got and not it. And like, um, walk it again and I'd go ahead and do a double lock on. Then you can cut your the red from there. Um, the spine will be this where a tacky glue is going to go, so the threads will be kind of glued down. I'm saying, don't worry too much about the how strong it is. There you go is your book and you're now ready for the next listen. 6. Pressing the Spine 05: Now that you have sown your signatures together, we can go ahead and start pressing the spine and putting on the adhesive. So you're gonna want to take you are book and you're going to you basically just gonna put the adhesive on the back side of this on the spine, and so you'll take your tacky glue and I'll need to open up mine, and you're going to spread the glue across the spine. And you could spread this out with your fingers, or you can take a piece of cardboard and go across it. I'm going to take the cardboard from my thread and just go ahead and use that, and you just kind of spread it around evenly. One thing you want to make sure that you do is you want to go just past your last stitches . But you want to leave the ends pretty bare. I'm so you want to make sure the glue is not going to the very end of the line, - All right. And I'm gonna go ahead and stick a little extra on my ends. Um, make sure I'm really locking in this ditches. - All right, There you go. So next thing you need to do is press the spine, and for this you can just simply take a book and late on top as long as it's got enough weight. Um, this is what I want to do. You can also have, like a book press, but those tend to be a little more expensive, and I always have a book lying around. So this is just how I like do and just make sure it's held nice and tight like so, And the more weight you add to this, the better. So if you have some extra books lying around just good and pile them on top, but that's it. So now you just need to let the binding dry and you're ready for the next listen. 7. Preparing the Leather 06: So once you're binding has dried. You can now move on, Teoh preparing your leather. So the first thing you're going to do is pull out your leather and wrap it around your journal. Make sure you have it even on each end and position exactly how you're gonna want it. Next, you can open up the journal, the leather cover, and you'll start making your markings for this ditching. You can do this by using your scissors and pinching the leather and just keep making your cuts right against the stitching marks. And it should like, look like this. And it's important to keep in mind when you do this that you want to line it up with the first and last signature as well, so that those were the only two signatures Will will be selling through. Next. You can pull back out your scissors and we'll start making our cuts through this this little tricky. Sometimes you can just poke the leather on. Sometimes you have to actually pinch and cut. Basically, you're just wanting to thin the leather to make an indent in it, so that the needle can go through more easily when doing this is important to remember to cut on the wrong side of the leather so that all the scarring is on the inside and just keep continuing to work up As you go on. There you go. Now you have your holes, and on the other side, you should see just it slightly raised about your needle will now be able to poke through easily. And you can check each one of them with your upholstery needle. - All right. It all looks good. Once you finish this, you are now ready to move on to sewing your leather cover. 8. Sewing the Cover 07: So once you have cut the holes into your leather, we can move on to our final step. So for this part, you're gonna want to pull out your upholstery needle and thread again. And I've already set mine up. But again, the skin we're measuring it out the same way as we did before. Only this time we're going to measure it three times the length of the signature, and you'll need to my not the end again, leaving a tail just the same as before. So to start with, we're going to go through our top signature and we'll go through our first hole and pull up and then go into the next, like so next you will grab your leather and line it up with the holes, and you're gonna stitch through the top line. But the second hole and you may need to re punch the hole just so you can find it. Next will be going into our back signature. And so you drop down and go into the first hole, um, the lower line and then you pull through and then go into the first hole in your bottom signature and then pull through on that first hole as well, and it should look like that and you'll notice that the leather moves around a lot right now. But as more stitches are placed, this will become more secure. And then you'll do the Samos faras going into the second hole on your back signature and then pulling through with the matching hold on the weather and pull. It's hot. Next, you'll be crossing over again. I knew. Go into the third whole into your top signature and pull through, and then you'll be going into the bottom for the last hole. And for this one you'll actually be going back up into the third hole in your back signature, so you'll be crossing back up. Once you have pulled that three, you're gonna be putting it back into the bottom, the last ho and through your leather. - And then we'll be crossing over. And from here it'll be a pretty self explanatory, cause we'll be starting to cross those lines and make excess so we'll be going back into the's second or the third hole in the top cover and then back into the second, - the only crossing back up going into the third hole on the back of the cover and then pulling back through into the second. The last one will be punching through the leather, but not all the way to through to the signature. Because this is where we had started from the beginning. And so you pulled just through the leather. I didn't find that tail and that you left before, and we're going to just tie off our string. There you have it. You go ahead and cut your tails on. There's your eternal and this is where that leather court comes in. If you would like it and you could just wrap it around the journal, you can lace it in between the threads if you like, or you can just tie it around loosely. There you go. You have made your own leather watercolor journal.