Learn how to make an Artist Book using beautiful Roymac Rains 100% cotton watercolour paper using the time-honored Coptic method.

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Step 1:

Have all of your materials at your work station ready to use.
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Step 2:

Take five pages from the A3 pad. Take a piece of A3 paper and fold in half lengthways; you can score the fold with your butter knife.
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Step 3:

Fold each half of the folded piece of A3 paper in half on itself again, scoring with the knife. This will give a concertina effect to your paper, divided into four. Repeat this process with all five A3 pages from your pad.
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Step 4:

Take your butter knife and use it to cut along each fold of your A3 piece of paper. You can do this by having the folded edge facing closest to yourself and a firm hand on top of the paper; this will give a rough edge effect to the paper. Repeat this step for the other four pieces of A3 paper.
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Step 5:

You will now have 4 thin strips of paper from each of your A3’s, take each strip and fold in half and use the knife to help score your fold. These are called ‘folios’. Repeat for the rest of the strips.
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Step 6:

Take the back cover board from your A3 pad and use it to cut out the two pieces that will make the outer cover of your artist book. You can make your cover fit the pages exactly in size but we suggest making the front and back slightly larger – especially on the two short ends.
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Step 7:

Take your two pieces of card for the outer cover and your decorative paper. Cut the decorative paper to cover the card, allowing approximately 2cm around all sides.
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Step 8:

Cover the card in glue and stick down to your decorative paper. Repeat again for your back cover.
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Step 9:

Cut the excess decorative paper off the corners of your cover, allowing 2mm where your paper meets the card so that none of the card will be seen. Repeat this for the back cover.
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Step 10:

Use glue to fold and stick all the edges down so that the entire cover is now coated in the decorative paper. Repeat for the back cover.
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Step 11:

Take one folio and measure 1.5cm in from the folded edge. Mark with a pencil and cut this piece away, retaining it for later.
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Step 12:

Utilising the two pieces of paper that are now separate, hide the gluing and folds on the inside of your front and back cover. Simply make any adjustments to the size with scissors and glue down.
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Step 13:

Now, lets return to the small edge off cut from Step 11. Find the centre point of this piece by folding it in half both ways to mark it. Working lengthways, between the centre and the edge on both sides, mark two crosses - evenly spaced. You will end up with four crosses in total.
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Step 14:

With the help of a piece of foam core to prevent damage to your work bench, place the template exactly in the fold of a folio and pierce through each cross with your etching tool. Making sure to push the tool right through to the foam core and making a hole. Repeat this process for all of your folios.
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Step 15:

Using the same method place your template approximately 2cm from the short edge of your front cover and pierce through. Jiggle the tool around in these holes to make them a little bit bigger. Repeat for the back cover.
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Step 16:

Gather your work thus far on your bench with your 4 tapestry needles, scissors and wax linen thread ready for the next step.
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Step 17:

Take two long pieces of string (approx. 60cm) and thread a needle onto both ends. When you have finished you will have a needle on each end of the two pieces of string.
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Step 18:

Taking one of your folios, thread one pair of needles (one piece of string) through the two holes on the right hand side. Make sure that you push the needles through from the inside of the fold.
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Step 19:

Repeat this step for the two holes on the left hand side, and then take your front cover and position as shown in the image.
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Step 20:

Take the needle on the right hand edge and thread through the corresponding hole on the front cover. Take care to wrap the thread around and come through the hole from the decorated paper side.
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Step 21:

Repeat this process for the first needle’s pair and when complete ensure that the two pieces of string have been threaded through and are resting on the inside. This is a little bit confusing so please refer to the image. Repeat this process for the other pair of needles.
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Step 22:

Pull each piece of thread tightly so as to gather the front cover and the folio together. Repeat Step 20 – Step 22 to reinforce the bind.
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Step 23:

Once complete, let all your thread and needles fall down the front cover, which is facing away from you, ready to build on more pages. Take another folio in its folded form, sit it on top of the pile you already have and you should be able to see the four holes along the top of the outside of the fold.
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Step 24:

Using the two needles that correspond to the two holes on the right hand side you want to take one needle and go down through the first hole and then up through the second hold. Repeat this step with the second needle going down through the second hole and up through the first. This is called a cross over stitch.
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Step 25:

Repeat Step 24 with the two holes and two needles on the left hand side.
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Step 26:

Tighten by pulling both pieces of the same string away from each other.
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Step 27:

To secure the folio you need to do a link back stitch. Take the string on the far right and wrap it around the stitched string between the cover and folios. See step image; the thread goes ion the small loop. Repeat Steps 23 to 27 until all of folios are attached to the front cover. Whenever you attach a new folio, ensure that the stitch is made three folios back, including the folio you've just attached.
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Step 28:

This is what the side of your book will look like with all the folios attached.
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Step 29:

To attach the cover, line up the holes and thread the first needle around and through the front of the decorative paper.
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Step 30:

Wrap the string around the ‘spine’ of the back cover as shown in the image. Repeat this process with the other three holes and needles.
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Step 31:

Once more, thread each needle through the hole on the back cover; ensure the needle passed through the decorative paper side first. This time, however, instead of looping around again, thread through the corresponding hole on the last folio and allow the needle to come to rest between the two pieces of paper in that folio. Take each needle the string that has already bound that folio and loop it around itself to form a knot and secure in place.
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Step 32:

Snip the excess string with scissors and your book is now complete!
Download this info as a takeaway PDF