Karen Hanmer

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Title: Contemporary Paper Bindings manual

Contemporary Paper Bindings manual

Contemporary Paper Bindings manual

Contemporary Paper Bindings: A guide to bookbinding techniques, tools, and materials | $55 available directly from Lulu.com
Please contact me directly about discounted bulk orders for classroom use.

Glenview, IL: Karen Hanmer Book Arts, 2016.

130 pages, 11 x 8.5"

Contemporary Paper Bindings is a skill-building guide to bookbinding techniques, tools, and materials. Chapters on tools and supplies, ergonomics, signature preparation, endsheets, sewing, spine-lining, and working with case-weight papers precede complete instructions for crafting ten different paper binding structures. Each process is illustrated with numerous b&w photographs and diagrams. The manual ends with with a glossary and an extensive bibliography (many of the resources available online).

The ten paper bindings presented here can be constructed in a sparsely equipped studio with minimal specialized tools or equipment. Most can be made with little or no adhesive.

These structures can serve as an introduction to basic bookbinding techniques. More experienced practitioners will learn how features from multiple bindings can be combined to create a new, custom structure to meet the requirements of any project. The book is also a valuable resource for anyone teaching bookbinding.

Structures include:

This material is also covered in a workshop which can be condensed or expanded to fit a time frame of one to five days.


Karen’s book is my ideal beginner student handbook. It has a good balance of photo and text. It should be required reading for anyone learning the basics... I think that all levels of binders would benefit from this book.

Erika Mordek, bookbinding instructor, Canberra, Australia


Contemporary Paper Bindings is a terrific book for beginners as well as seasoned binders. Prominent binder and teacher Karen Hanmer wrote it both to instruct independent bookbinding students and to help artists and librarians teach bookbinding. The text generously shares her expertise. Its clear instructions are enhanced by numerous photographs and line drawings, plus abundant examples of sewing techniques, exposed spines and paper cases as well as excellent lists of supplies, tools and best practices. CPB is a must for photographers, printmakers, painters -- hell, anyone -- interested in creating their own books.

Miriam Schaer, book artist and educator, author of The Presence of their Absence


There are a number of books on the market regarding an introduction to bookbinding and bookbinding techniques and Karen Hanmer’s is the latest to arrive on the scene.

A unique feature of this book is that it specifically focuses on paper bindings, and, as a result, covers a breadth of paper based binding structures that also includes a section on different types of paper cases that can be made with or without adhesive support.

The book gives guidance on ten different types of paper binding, and, with the beginner in mind, discusses techniques that can be utilized in a sparsely equipped studio.

The book is very well laid out and is an excellent tool for the beginner and novice as it covers real basics such a ‘Parts of a Book’ and ‘Studio Essentials’. It also has an excellent ‘Glossary’ and ‘Resources for Further Study’ section.

The book is also very good in that it really does give clear and easy to understand instructions (not always evident in some beginners books) and has a very good range of supporting photographs.

Overall, a recommended purchase for the beginner.

Society of Bookbinders Newsletter December 2016