Learn Bookbinding

Workshops and short courses in Traditional Bookbinding – New dates added for my Introduction to Bookbinding One-Day Workshop

Learn Bookbinding - Workshops in Traditional Bookbinding

Bookbinding Press

Courses Available

I am able to instruct you in many different methods of traditional bookbinding here at Learn Bookbinding, ranging from my popular Introduction to Bookbinding workshop to advanced Quarter Leather Binding.

My workshops utilise my Kitchen Table Method, meaning that you don’t have to invest in specialist equipment in order to produce your very own beautiful handmade books.

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Bookbinding Course Schedule

Course Schedule

My bookbinding lessons are perfect for a beginner looking to get into the ancient craft, or ideal for someone looking to brush-up on their existing bookbinding skills.

The majority of my workshops are held in Barnstaple in north Devon, but I also visit different venues in the westcountry teaching my one-day Bookbinding Workshops in Devon and Cornwall.

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More than 15 years of experience in bookbinding and teaching workshops have gone into the selection of equipment and materials in my shop. It is my goal to make this wonderful, absorbing craft available to as many people as possible.

I have brought together a range or tried and tested, quality tools and sundries in smaller, hobby-sized quantities into one shop.

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Learn Bookbinding

I offer full and half-day workshops with all tools and materials provided, making this fascinating, age-old craft accessible to all.

My courses have attracted Artists, Photographers and Printmakers wanting to present their work in book format, Scrap-bookers and Crafters wanting to learn something new and individuals wanting to restore a sentimental heirloom.

I have taught workshops in schools, colleges and universities, to clubs, interest groups and at corporate weekends.

Whatever your reason to learn, my courses offer high quality, thorough tuition in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

Bookbinding has never been so easy or so much fun!

No Tools Required

Because I know how engaging and addictive this craft can be, I have developed my own ‘Kitchen Table Method’ of bookbinding.

The ‘Kitchen Table Method’ I teach bypasses the need to have access to professional tools or source specialist suppliers and simplifies the process without any compromise to the finished results.

By learning this way, you will be able to go home and create your own beautiful books with tools and materials you will already have or be able to buy readily.

My courses are designed to make bookbinding as uncomplicated as possible, starting with an introduction one-day course for those with no prior knowledge of the craft.

Workshops Available at Learn Bookbinding

Below is a list of all the different workshops that I teach, and all the different traditional bookbinding skills that you’re able to learn from my Learn Bookbinding courses.

Everything from simple fun no-sew flutter books to hollow backed, quarter leather binding is covered, none of them require special tools or hard to find equipment, something for everyone from absolute beginners looking to learn something new to those who wish to build on existing skills or enhance their practice as an artist or a printmaker.

If you’ve come here looking to learn a method of bookbinding not listed below then please feel free to get in touch and I’ll see what I’m able to do to help.

Introduction to Bookbinding
This is Learn Bookbinding’s most popular course. Ideal for both complete beginners and as a refresher to those who have dabbled before.  This activity-packed day is the perfect foundation in bookbinding.  In this workshop you will learn both glued and sewn methods of binding books. Following an enjoyable creative day, you will take home at least two hard-backed books you have made from scratch – and the urge to make more!
Make Your Own Bookcloth
This workshop is a perfect complement to any of my other bookbinding courses. Making your own bookcloth takes you beyond the limits of the plain solid colours of standard bookcloth.  Half a day of making your own mull, paper-backed bookcloth and buckram for use on your own bookbinding projects. All tools and materials are provided, though you can bring your own fabric if you have something specific you would like to use (light/medium weight fabrics with a 50%+ natural fibre content are most suitable – ie quilters fat quarters). You will take home at least 3 sheets of bookcloth ready for use on your own projects or to bring along to another Learn Bookbinding workshop.
Book Fun
A light hearted but absorbing day of making more unusual ‘books’ using traditional skills. Take home a little selection of novel books that make fabulous gifts.
Photograph Albums

This one-day workshop is the perfect introduction to stab bindings; the method of holding pages together that are punched or pierced by lacing with cords or using binding posts. This construction of books also lends itself perfectly to display pocket portfolios, scrap books and postcard albums.

You will make one small traditional Autograph book laced with a cord and a large, handsome photograph album, complete with page guards, interleaves and metal menu corners held together with metal binding posts.

Japanese Binding
A day of bookbinding in the traditional Japanese style. Make a selection soft backed books using hand-made papers and traditional materials in 4-hole and ledger style. Take home at least 3 exquisite Japanese style books.
Traditional Portfolios
Popular with Artist’s and Printmakers; make two traditional portfolio folders for storing prints, drawings, paintings or sketches. You will take home 2 portfolios for storing A4 and A3 papers.
Slip Cases & Presentation Boxes
This workshop introduces you to box making and is an ideal follow-up to one of the one-day casebound journal, sketchbook or half-leather workshops. You will learn how to make a slip-case to protect a precious book and a two-part box for cards or prints. You will need to bring with you a hard-backed book (up to approx A4 size and preferably at least 15mm thick) and if you have something in mind to be stored in your two part box, such as a deck of cards bring that along too. You will take home a tailor-made slip case for the book you bring along and a two part presentation box for your cards or keepsakes.
Casebound Sketchbooks
Popular with Artists and Designers.   How to make your own hard-backed, multi-signature, half-bound sketchbooks with a hard spine. This workshop teaches you how to make sketchbooks that suit your media instead of having to settle for off the peg, white cartridge sketchbooks. For the purpose of this workshop we will be using cartridge and brown Kraft paper, however you are welcome to bring your own (water colour etc) paper if you wish. You will go home with at least one half-bound sketchbook in a size and format that suits you.
Hollow Back Journal
In this workshop you will learn the more advanced technique of rounding and backing to produce a beautiful journal with a traditional convex curved spine. I recommend this workshop to anyone who has already attended the introductory one day course and feels confident with their manual skills. You will go home with one A5 350 page blank journal.
Quarter Leather Binding
My most advanced workshop in bookbinding in which you will be introduced to working with leather and learn how to sew and construct a book with a corded spine. You will create a beautiful traditional book with a convex curved spine and raised bands.  I recommend this workshop to anyone who has already attended the introductory one day course and feels very confident with their manual skills.  You will take home one A5 300 page blank book.
Clamshell or Solander Box
This kind of box has long been the traditional portfolio of photographers and printmakers and is used in museum archiving. In this advanced box making workshop you will construct, cover and line a solander box from scratch. Recommended for those who have attended any of my other had backed bookbinding, portfolio making or box making courses and are confident with their manual skills. You will take home one solander/clamshell box to fit A4 or approximate dimensions of your choice.
Inside-Out Books
Make a selection of soft-bound books with a de-constructed look. In this workshop you’ll learn how to make books that are a little different. These books wear elements of their construction outside of the cover with spine or stitching exposed. The leather ones are made without using any glue in their construction. You will take home at least three books one of which will have a full leather cover.
Introduction to Marbling
Introduction to Marbling: Marbling or marbelizing is an ancient art that has long been associated with bookbinding. It involves floating colours on water, creating patterns with rakes, combs and other tools and lifting them with paper. In this half-day workshop you will learn the art and alchemy of marbling on water, with alum, acrylic ink, ox gall liquid and carrageenan. You will take home at least 6 sheets of hand-marbled paper exploring different patterning techniques.

Course Schedule For 2018

New dates added for 2018, with more dates being added regularly

Your Tutor

Your Tutor

Mandy Flockton

I first became interested in bookbinding at university while studying illustration.

As an illustrator of books it was natural for me to want to make my own. Having the ability to bind my own books meant I was able to present my ideas to publishers as a high-quality, faithful representation of the potential published book (which is essential as a Children’s Author-Illustrator).

I also became interested in self-publishing my own work as short-run batch productions and selling them via book shops and zine fairs. I learned to bind books as a student and I was aware at the time of the difficulty and expense in locating the ‘correct’ tools and materials.

These problems lead me to take traditional bookbinding techniques and develop them in a way that makes bookbinding more accessible to everyone. I have been teaching my unique, user-friendly workshops for over 10 years in educational institutions and to the public and they are always enthusiastically received.

Don’t take my word for how much fun my bookbinding courses are, read what my students have to say about them in the testimonials below.

I look forward sharing my craft with you soon.

I was so impressed with the book I made, it looked just like a bought one … I never thought I’d be able to make anything like that!


Graphic Design Student

Thank you for the best day-course I have ever attended. I hoped I might at least learn enough to restore a much loved book, not only did I learn that knowledge, I also came away with a new hobby.


Having been bought this course as a present by my niece I was delighted that not only was the day thoroughly enjoyable but I’ve also made a couple of new friends.

Mrs Anderson

I have two, no wait, three sketchbooks made by Mandy Flockton. They are treasured items with astonishing attention to detail. A pleasure to draw in, they are all filling up!

Chris Stonehill


The workshop I attended I was really well organised and the instruction was so clear. Mandy was so patient and helpful.



I loved it! I love trying new crafts and this was like nothing else I’d ever done. Mandy made everything so easy to follow and I can’t wait to make more books. I know what I will be giving for Christmas this year!


Learn Bookbinding’s Complete Bookbinding Starter Kit

I’m pleased to now be able to offer Complete Bookbinding Starter Kits in my Bookbinding Supplies Shop. The kit contains over 30 carefully selected items including materials that will allow you to make two stunning hardback books, tools that will last you for many years, and my comprehensive 60 page Introduction to Bookbinding guide. The guide has 235 colour photographs walking you through each step of the bookbinding process – suitable for complete beginners and a fabulous reference guide for those who have bookbinding experience!

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