Book Binding Part 2: How to Create a Coptic Stitch Watercolor Sketchbook or Journal | Shelley Hitz | Skillshare

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Book Binding Part 2: How to Create a Coptic Stitch Watercolor Sketchbook or Journal

teacher avatar Shelley Hitz, Watercolor and Lettering Artist

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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

11 Lessons (38m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Supplies

    • 3. Cut Your Paper

    • 4. Fold Your Paper

    • 5. Punch the Holes

    • 6. Optional Step

    • 7. Cut the Thread

    • 8. Coptic Stitch Binding Part One

    • 9. Coptic Stitch Binding Part Two

    • 10. Coptic Stitch Binding Part Three

    • 11. Next Steps

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About This Class


Did you know you could easily make your own watercolor sketchbook?

Recently I started a sketchbook habit creating something new every day using watercolor because that's one of my favorite mediums. I bought a sketchbook and started, but I felt the inspiration draining from me. I realized the reason was the paper was not what I was used to and so I began searching for another answer.

That's when I was introduced to book binding.

In my first class, I taught you a super-simple way to create a journal or sketchbook with a Pamphlet stitch. In this class, Book Binding Part 2, I will teach you how to create a watercolor sketchbook with a Coptic stitch.

  • It's a beautiful stitch. 
  • It's fun to do. I didn't realize how much I'd love bookbinding until I did it. 
  • And it's affordable.

The hardest thing for me was learning the supplies. I'm going to walk you through the supplies that you will need and where you can get them. Then I'm going to take you step by step through the process of using the Coptic stitch binding to create your watercolor sketchbook.

I invite you to join me for this class, where I will take you through the Coptic stitch bookbinding process to create your very own watercolor or sketchbook, or you can use it for any journal or sketchbook you want to create.

Click enroll and let's get started.

If you want to know when I release new classes, make sure to click the "follow" button on my profile here:

Meet Your Teacher

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Shelley Hitz

Watercolor and Lettering Artist


Ready to learn the art of lettering and watercolor, the easy way? I know what it's like to be a beginner. And I know what it's like to battle the inner critic. The fear, self-doubt, and comparison.

But, I have learned to embrace the artist in me and have re-discovered the joy of creating art.

Art can help you:

Relax and have fun. It's been an amazing form of self-care for me. Discover the power of color. Creating art can bring you so much joy. Create beautiful pieces you can display in your home or give as gifts. And so much more!

I'm passionate about teaching others and love seeing each of you have the courage to embrace your creativity and choose to create art.

In my classes, I will take you step-by-step through the learning process and cheer you on in this... See full profile

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1. Introduction: did you know you could easily make your own watercolor sketch book? Hi, my name is Shelly Hits. I'm an other coach, an illustrator, an artist. And recently I was wanting to start a sketchbook. Have it where I would create something new every day. I was wanting to use water color because that's one of my favorite mediums. And so I bought a sketchbook. I started, and I just felt the inspiration seeping from me. The reason waas the paper was not the paper I was used to, and I just was searching for another answer. And so that's when I was introduced to bookbinding in my first class. I taught you a super simple way to create a journal or sketchbook with the pamphlet stitch in this class bookbinding part two. I'm gonna teach you how to create a watercolor sketch book with the Coptic Stitch. Now, you can use this stitch with other types of materials as well, but I'm going to show you how to do it with watercolor paper. As you can see here, this is the stitching that it creates. And it's a beautiful stitch. It's fun to dio. I didn't realize how much I'd love bookbinding until I did it, and it's affordable. The hardest thing for me was learning the supplies. So I'm gonna walk you through the supplies that you'll need and where you can get them. And then I'm going to take you step by step through the process of using the Coptic Stitch binding to create your watercolor sketch book. This is the sketch book. I create it. I am Boston, the outside with the word inspiration because that is what I want this to be about, for me is finding my inspiration. And then I have started to use this watercolor sketch book, and I love it. It has 24 pages, which gives you 48 pages front and back, and it is something that is easy to make and is something that you can then be prolific. You can create every day and not worry about how much you're spending or the type of paper you're using. You can just create with joy, so invite you to join me for this class where I will take you through the Coptic Stitch Book binding process to create your very own watercolor sketch book. Or you can use it for any journal or sketchbook. You want to create click and roll and let's get started 2. Supplies: in this video. I'm going to go over the supplies you'll need for this class. Now, obviously, for this class, I'm recommending that you make a water color sketchbook, but you can use any paper you want. But for the sake of this class, I'm going to be referring Toa watercolor paper. This is the Kansan watercolor paper that I have on hand. It's 12 inches by 18 inches. You just wanted to be long enough that it will be able to fit the size of sketchbook you're going to create. And for watercolor, you want 100 £40 and then once you have your paper picked out, you'll need some sort of material for the cover. I found this. I think it's just chipboard. It's pretty durable. And I found this at a local art supply store that actually recycles art supplies. So I got it for 1/4. But I also used for my previous book. I used a package, but this came in a package. I had both of them in it, and it was specifically packaged four. Creating books like this and sketchbooks, so you can sometimes find them already cut out and ready to go as well. So what you basically need as you just need some sort of really sturdy board, typically with bookbinding. It's called binders Board confined that online. But like I said, this chipboard will work fine. You can also get really creative, and the watercolor path that you got has cardboard on the back so you could recycle this board here and just get the most out of you're watercolor pad and just use this board for your watercolor sketch book. That way you don't have to invest anything else into your sketchbook. You could also use cereal boxes. Or, if you have a three ring binder, some old three ring binders laying around, you can open them up and use the cardboard that's inside of them. You could use the back of photo frames, old shoe boxes. Really. You can get creative whatever you have on hand, you could use for the cover, and then you're going to need some basic bookbinding supplies. So I recommend getting the curved upholstery needles just because it's gonna be a lot easier with the stitches were doing with the Coptic stitch. But you can use a straight needle as well if that's all you have on hand. You'll need waxed thread you'll need in all a W L. And this is just a punch. Holes into the paper and your cover, and then you'll need a bone bone folder now instead of the bone folder. If you don't have one of these, you could use the edge of scissors. You could use a butter knife, a spoon, anything like that, and so that's the basic supplies you'll need. You'll also need a utility knife and a cutting board to be able to cut out your paper and cut out your cover. So now that we've covered the supplies, let's get the paper and the cover ready for stitching. 3. Cut Your Paper: First of all, you'll want to decide the size of watercolor sketch book you want to create. Now, I've purchased these two sketchbooks. This is the Pan Talic Aqua Journal, and this is eight inches by five inches. I think that's what I'm going to use for this journal that I'm creating in this class. This is eight by five. It also has a little pen holder, which you can add these to your sketchbooks to if you want with elastic and just gluing it on. This one here is the Strathmore watercolor journal, and it is 8.5 by 5.5. So depending on what size you want, you just decide and you can make whatever size works best for you. So I made my decision. I'm gonna make mine eight inches by five inches. So now I just need to cut it out. So the way this will work let me show you with this sketchbook I created already is each of your pieces of paper are going to be need to be longer, lengthwise and shorter with wise in order to create this type of watercolor sketch book. And so you're gonna have really long and thin pieces of paper. So if I want an eight by five inch sketchbook, then I need to have 16 inches by five inches. And for the the sake of my journal and this class, you can put as many pages and as many signatures as you want. I'm just going to do 10 pages, which I put two pages in each signature. So that will end up being 20 pages and 40 you know, front and back for me. So you can put a couple more in there to make it 48 you know, I mean, you could do whatever you want for the sake of this class, and it just takes less time because I'll just have five signatures to stitch. The more signatures you have, the longer it's gonna take. So just figure out how many pages you want your sketchbook, and then you're going to have to measure out and cut your paper. So on this watercolor paper, like I said, I'll need it to be 16 inches long. This metal ruler that I found at Walmart. So I'll just mark off the 16 inch mark here, and my regular paper cutter Onley fits up to 12 inches. So if I want to be able to cut this in my regular paper cutter, I would just need to make a smaller version of this. But I have my little marks here. And then I could just take my ruler and make a line toe where I'm going to cut it. Or you could just use this line to cut it like that. I'm just gonna put the line on there to show you. And then I will cut that. And then I will need it to be five inches in with. And so there's five. There's five, So I'm just gonna have to make a few cuts to get exactly the size that I want now. Ultimately, the best thing would be able to just have the paper be the exact size you want, so you don't have to cut it. That would be ideal, but I haven't found watercolor paper. That's the exact size that I need. So I just am improvising and cutting it myself. It's some tryingto make it so you can see what I'm doing here with this metal ruler. You just put it along the lines that you need tohave cut to make sure you have a cutting mat underneath so that you don't ruin your table. Bring it around to this edge, so basically have three cuts that will have to make on each of these pieces of paper. I just want to hold down really tight on the ruler so you get a nice street line because I'm not selling this or trying to do anything fancy with this. This is for my own purposes. I'm not too too worried if it's not exactly straight. But you can also go to places like Staples and use their their paper cutters. And then you could just get a nice straight line, and you don't have to worry about using a utility knife or cutting it yourself. Always make sure tuck that away. So with just three cuts, I now have my two pieces of paper and it is 16 inches by five inches. What I need to do is just cut a few more of these up so that I have 10 of these size sheets , won't take me too long. And then the other thing that I'll need to do is do the same thing with this chipboard, so I will also need to to cut the chip work. So I want the cover to be a little bit bigger than the actual paper size. So since the paper is eight by five, all want to have the cover be just a little bit longer, so that it goes over. The edge is you can kind of see in this one. You know, there's a little bit of an edge to it, and that's the way most of these journals work. Since I've chosen eight by five, I'll need my cover to be a and 1/2 by 5.5, so I have 1/4 of an inch each way. But you can also do it any way you want if you want to have a little bit more space. I saw people doing a lot of different things with this Coptic stitch finding, and so you can really just do it the way you want to do it. 5.5. That's one of the things I like about it is there's a lot of flexibility because you could do it, however, works best for you. So when a hold tight again. When I come down with the utility knife, it's gonna take a little bit more of a cut through. Right. So I have the first part of the cover finished. You can see I have my two pieces thes air 8.5 by 5.5. And then I have my watercolor paper, which is 16 by five. And so once you have your paper cut out and your covers cut out, we're ready for the next step. 4. Fold Your Paper: Once you have all your paper cut, you'll have some scraps these air, great to repurpose and make into bookmarks. I know if you're an author, that's a great thing to give as a bonus for people who buy your books. Or you can use these as swatches, you know, to test your water colors, so don't throw away the scraps. Definitely use those, so the next step is folding your paper. If you took my first bookbinding class, you already know how this works. Basically, just bring the edges of your paper together. Make sure tow, line them up nice and straight. Then you'll put the bone folder in the center and then you'll bring it out on each side. Now watercolor paper is a little bit harder toe fold. Like I said, if you don't have a bone folder, you can use the side of a scissors and use a spoon, a knife, anything like that. Okay, so now you should have all of your pages folded. Now we're going to create our signatures now. Normally, a signature is created with more paper, so 8 to 10 pages of paper, but for watercolor paper, because it's so much thicker. It needs to be just two pages. Let me show you how I did this. So each signature is each. It's each stack of pages. It just has to watercolor papers in it. So that's really the way that worked best for me. I mean, you can test it and try doing it with three pages or more. I just found to was what worked for me. So you're just going to fold and tuck one page into another. And because I did 10 pages, I will have five signatures Now. You could have more. You could choose, you know, to do 12 pages and have six signatures or 14 pages and have seven signatures. It's really up to you. This is just what I found worked for me. So now we have our five signatures. Now it's time to punch the holes 5. Punch the Holes: So now it's time to punch the holes. And so and just do one in the center, which would be around for this 1 2.5 And then you can pretty much do the other holes wherever you want. There's no specific place that you have to do it. I'm just gonna put it one inch from the end and then what you can dio and what you can do is you put your ruler kind of up and down right where that hole is. So you make sure you put a mark on all the signatures right in the same place. Now you're gonna need your all and just gonna do one signature at a time. And if you want, you can use binder clips. But since there's just two pieces of paper, it's just pretty easy to go ahead and hold them. And you can kind of make your although the whole way through that way. It just gives a bigger hole for your thread later. So now that you have the signatures punched, you need to punch the holes for the cover. So I just want to make sure there's a little bit of space at each end, and I thought it centered on the board. And then you're just going to mark the holes, line up one of your signatures and mark the holes on there. Then what you could do is put this on top of the other side to make your marks for the other cover. If you want a little more space on the end here, you would just need to cut your book covers a little bit longer. But that's the beauty of bookbinding there, so many options, and you have so much flexibility of what you want to do that's gonna work best for you. 6. Optional Step: I like to keep it simple, so I'm not gonna cover this chipboard. But if you wanted to cover this, you could use a cover flap, which would just be a piece of paper that you would cut out the corners and you would You're glue it to your page, and then it would pretty much leave an open spot right here on the inside of the cover. And then you can add an end sheet on top of that, any regular book. If you look at it, that's the way it's covered. But for the sake of simplicity, and just because I don't want to deal with an extra stop, I personally don't do that. But if you want to do that, you're more than welcome to cover your chipboard or whatever you used for your book covers . That is an optional step 7. Cut the Thread: Now it's time to cut the thread. So the basic formula for cutting your thread is twice the length, um, this side of your book twice the length of your book per signature. So I have five signatures, so this will vary depending on how many signatures you decided toe have, so it would be 10 links now. I usually just do a little bit of extra, and that way I make sure I have plenty of thread. There's too right, so there's 10 and you can see I went a little bit over. I'm doing a little bit of extra. I'm not worrying about that because I can always use the extra on other pamphlets, stitched journals or other things that I'm working on, and the thread will definitely not go to waste. So once you have the thread cut, then you need to thread your needle now. Like I said, I am using the curved upholstery needle. I'm using the smallest size, but you can use whatever needle you have on hand. This watch threat is, ah, little bit thicker, so it can be sometimes tricky to thread into this smaller needle. So I just like to flatten out the edge of the thread and that usually will help it get through. I just flatten it with my fingernails with thumbnails. Right? So we have our thread, its threaded, And now we're ready for the next up to start sewing are Coptic Stitch Journal in place. 8. Coptic Stitch Binding Part One: so I'm gonna take you through this process in three steps. The first up is sowing the first signature to the cover. The second step is to so the rest of the signatures to the signature that you already have attached. And the third step is adding the final cover. So you just want to make sure if you have an insider outside part of your cover, you want to make sure you keep all of your signatures in that same in that same order because all of the lines lineup as well as the book cover for the bottom. It's all gonna line up when you keep it in the same order, so just make sure to keep the signatures right there. Right, So we have the first signature with the cover here, and what we're gonna dio is we're going to start inside the bottom hole of the first signature. So you're just going to bring the thread through there bringing the thread through each hole because the threat is so long is part of the most time consuming part of this Coptics touch Binding. Okay, so now that you've brought the thread through that first hole of the signature. You're going to come from the outside of the cover in and it's going to make a loop. Then you're gonna take the needle underneath that loop from the right to the left. Now, the most important thing is that you stay consistent with your stuff so you can go left to right if you want, But you just want if you start right toe left, you want to stay right to left, and then you just want to hold this tale, make sure it stays and just pull that tight. Then you're gonna go back into that bottom, hold that first signature and bring it in. I know there's a lot of little stubs, and this was really confusing to me. I watched ah lot of different tutorials. I took a lot of classes and everyone did it just a little bit different. So find you know what style works best for you. You can pause this video as you're doing it to make sure you're getting it the way you need to. So now that I have it pulled in, I'm just gonna pull it tight, but not too tight. You don't want it to be you know, breaking into whatever, um, covering used, it's not You're gonna go through the next hole up and you're just gonna go through that signature. What we want to dio is we want to go ahead and tie a knot so that this stays in place. We'll go ahead and tie a knot there. I'm going to pull that type. We're gonna do the same thing. We're gonna go from the outside in with the cover so that we loop it around gonna cause this loop, and then we're gonna go from right toe left underneath that loop, and we're gonna go back in to the same hole, the signature. You want to make sure you're pulling it tight throughout the process. One of the nice things with the watercolor journal is it's not gonna have as many holes, and I only have three. So it's going to go a lot faster than some journals when you have that. And then this one only has five signatures which will go faster to a lot of the typical journals will have seven signatures. So you're gonna do the same thing. You're gonna come around from the outside in on the cover, it's gonna loop it around, and after a while they're there becomes a rhythm to the the bookmaking. Then you're going to loop it through that stitch again. Rightto loved. So now, instead of going back in through the whole of this one, we're gonna add the next signature. We're going to now go into the whole of the second signature. Okay, so we've officially finished the first section of the book binding connecting the first signature to the book cover. In the next video, we're going to complete adding all of the signatures to the book. 9. Coptic Stitch Binding Part Two: it's now we're gonna follow the same pattern that we did a similar pattern. Now that we're into the second signature, we're gonna come up to the next hole in that signature. Okay, so now, instead of looping it around the cover, we're just going toe loop it around the stitch right below it. So I just went into to this stitch right below it, and you're gonna go right toe left, and this is gonna hope to really hold it into place and help lock into place. So now you're just gonna go back in from out to end that middle hold? Then you're gonna come out the next hole, gonna loop it under that stitch right below it from right toe, loved. Or if you did, left to right that it's fine to just want to make it consistent. Now you're gonna bring the next signature on top. You're gonna go in out to end, and you're gonna go to the the metal hole. Gonna go in out. This is much different than a lot of the tutorials. You'll see just because there's just three holes with a watercolor sketch book, it's just gonna be different with some it's now you're going to come in and you can see I just kind of went in between the first signature and the second signature and I'm going right to left. Going through that stitch, it's gonna lock it in place back in through the middle full. It's go out. This you should be feeling starting to feel a pattern. This is where you start to kind of get into a groove and can actually be really calming to just do this repetitive stitching. No, there was something I really enjoyed about it, as I got into it just really started to enjoy the different patterns, he said. Then you'll take the next signature. Then you'll go into the whole above it, just like we have for all of the other ones. You'll continue this same pattern and then you'll loop around the one underneath it. Come back in that little hole. You'll go in the top hole loop underneath the stitch underneath it from right to left. And the more signatures you have, the prettier it is. So that is one thing about having more signatures. The longer it takes to so as well okay, we're gonna come in from the outside. This is our final signature. Go in the middle hole from out again. Toe lock in place. You're coming underneath the stitch below him coming back in. We're gonna go down through the last hole of this signature, and we're gonna come out. Go ahead and move it here. 10. Coptic Stitch Binding Part Three: and then we're gonna bring our cover over and with the cover, we're gonna go from the outside in so that it creates a loop. See how it creates that loop. You do have to be careful that you don't pull too tight. If you're bored, isn't very thick. I actually had a problem where this one tour through the end, and it's gonna end up working. Fine. But that was something I learned in the process of using this board. This board was not as sturdy as the other board I used. So if you're using board, that's not a sturdy. Just make sure when you're you're pulling tight on these covers, you're not pulling too tight toe where it pulls the thread all the way through and creates , um, on opening there. Right, So we're gonna go ahead and loop it again. We're gonna go back in through that last signature. You can actually do this signature and the book cover together, or you can double your do it double like I am doing it here. Gonna have the thread coming through. Then we're gonna loop it from the outside in. Basically, in this the way that I'm doing it. You have basically a double stitch at the end. And so you can combine that last signature with the cover instead. And then just that way you just have the one stitch. This just makes it a little more sturdy. I'm going to come out the last hole here, huh? Bring it on the other side, Rubio from the outside, in on the cover. And we're almost done. Gonna loop this one around. We're gonna come back in to that last signature and tie it off. All right, so now we're just going to loop this around and tie it off. Scooted. I just like to do it twice, if possible, and then you can just cut off the end here. You can tuck it under if you want, and then you'll come back to the very first signature and you'll tuck that one under as well if you want, or you can cut it off a little bit. But now you have a water color sketchbook. You've created it with this Coptic stitch binding, and when you go to use it, it lays flat. This is one of the things I love about this type of sketchbook. it lays flat. Other sketchbooks don't lay flat. So if you're working with it, it doesn't lay flat. And so you have to use binder clips or something else. Whereas this sketchbook will lay flat, you can take it anywhere you want. You can create these any time you need an extra one and you can involve us. The outside you can decorate however you want. And congratulations. You have finished your journal. 11. Next Steps: Congratulations. You should now have a beautiful bound journal or sketchbook using this Coptic stitch method , and you have something that you can now create inside that will allow you to explore your inspiration and just have a safe place to explore these air. Also great to take when you travel and when you want to create on the go. Your project for this class is to create your journal and then take a picture of the journal you created and share with us in the project area. You need to do this on a browser or from your computer. You'll see the your project tab, and I would love to see the journal or sketchbook you create. If you enjoy this class, I would really appreciate you simply taking a moment to post your review here on skill share. There should be a pop up at the top of your screen that says, Would you recommend this class to other students? Simply click yes and post a sentence or two about what you learned what you appreciated or what you've gained from this class, and it would mean the world to me. It also helps to reach more people with this training. And so I appreciate you taking a moment to do that. Bookbinding is so much fun because there are literally limitless possibilities with the materials that you use. The paper you use that the things you use for your cover, how you decorate your cover. You can really get creative with it. I encourage you to keep exploring book finding, have fun with it and enjoy. Thank you again for joining me in this class. My name is Shelly Hits and I hope to see you in my other skill share classes. And please join me on Instagram where I post my art inspiration and other short tutorials. You can find me at color my world. Beautiful. If you want to be notified of when I create new classes, make sure to follow me. Click the follow button here on skill share and I'll see you in the next class.