Handmade Monday: Woven Codex Bookbinding

Woven Codex is a clever, simple binding style which I took directly from Alisa Golden’s delightful volume, Making Handmade Books. This style is fun because it uses folded pages for the signatures, but each signature also features a postcard (or other similar piece of sturdy paper which is not bent in half) as its center piece (see the photos below). If you’re looking for a way to integrate photos into your handmade books without using glue or any adhesive to attach them to the pages, Woven Codex might be worth a look.

The binding process itself is quite easy, as it simply involves weaving stripes of ribbon through the signatures instead of using needle and thread and/or glue. I did use a little glue to attach the binding ribbon to the text block, but you wouldn’t have to do this. There are all sorts of clever possibilities for weaving and/or tying them into place. But even without much glue, the book is sturdy; there is no compromise there. And I do like the style. Below is a photo of the book without its slipcover.

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The removable slipcover is also simple to make and it adds a protective touch, even though it seems a shame to cover the fun little binding! Next time, I think I’ll try cutting a window out of the slipcover to display the ribbon’s pattern.

So far, most of the books I’ve made have been blank pages only. This one is a shift towards adding content and filling those empty spaces! I have a plan. The subject came to me quite by accident. While gathering materials to build this book I came upon a stack of postcards which I wrote late in 2006 while I was living in Japan. I forgot to send them (typical me!).

“It’s too late to fix the mistake,” I mused, as I glanced over the lines. (I talk to myself way more often than I ought to admit…) “It’s been ten years; that would be weird. But I don’t want to throw the postcards away or toss them back into a closet, never to be seen again. You know what I should do? I should put them in a book—the postcards and some other letters written around the same time. Almost all of my correspondence was done via email, and I’m sure they’ll all accidentally get deleted one of these days. It would be fun to save some of those letters, sent and received, in a paper copy for browsing through and enjoying in later years.”

So that is the plan. The book isn’t finished yet. I’ve sorted through the old emails, but I still need to edit them down, and I have to wait until Dave’s computer is free so I can format the signature pages using InDesign. I call this book-in-process, Things I Planned To Say…But Didn’t (And Some Things That I Did). Yes, the title is a mouthful, but it makes me smile and it is so fitting! The center of each signature will hold an un-mailed postcard (aka “Things I Planned To Say…But Didn’t”) and the in-between pages will contain the email excerpts (aka “And Some Things That I Did”).

I guess today’s model is just a prototype, but I wanted to share the idea. Bookmaking is a project, I can certainly attest to that, but filling those pages with content before binding is a different beast entirely! Whew! It’s a fun process, to be sure, but very complex, confusing, and involved. It’s a learning experience, every step of the way! I’ll try to keep on track and post occasional updates as I go along! 🙂


Handmade Monday 2016 is all about books! Handmade books, that is! So, if you share my strange addiction to paper folding, cutting, and binding, Handmade Monday posts were written just for you! Please browse, enjoy, share your suggestions, and let me know what creative fun you’re up too as well! 🙂

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