Top 10 Coptic Stitch Binding Tutorials on the Internet

Ok, so the title might be a little misleading… we’ve actually crammed in 18 of the best Coptic Stitch (also known as the Chain Stitch or Coptic Sewing) book binding instructions and tutorials we could find on the web, along with a collection of video tutorials and many coptic-stitch related resources (PDF’s, Stitching Patterns, Photo Galleries etc) for you to get stuck in to – it took us a while to put this together but we hope it serves as a good resource for some of you out there.

If you’ve got any suggestions for additional sites/resources we can include on this page then please leave a comment at the bottom of this page.

We have also prepared several other collections for you:

For those a little unsure about what a the Coptic Stitch style actually is, we’ll give you a little intro:

Coptic Binding by Henry Hebert -
Coptic Binding by Henry Hebert

Originally the coptic binding process was used by early Christians in Egypt (the Copts) some 2000 years ago and hence its name. A coptic stitch style binding (also often referred to as a Chain Stitch binding) is one that doesn’t use any glues and where the signature stitchings are generally exposed or left completely open thus allowing flexibility without sacrificing strength.

Coptic stitched books generally allow the book to be opened up flat without weakening the spine or signatures. Modern glue based binding techniques are often prone to damage when opened flat and weaken with use, much quicker than books that are sewn in a coptic style fashion.

Because the signature designs are normally left exposed on a chain stitch binding, many book binders decide to inject their own personal flare into the spine designs which can result in some very attractive looking books. People will often follow this style of binding for use on their journals or art sketch books.

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So, if you’ve ever wondered how to make a coptic stitch book using traditional bookbinding techniques then continue reading… all of the tutorials below are different in some way or another and I would strongly advise going through at least a few of them to get the best understanding of the binding processes. Enjoy 😀

#1 – Coptic Stitch Bookbinding Tutorial

favecrafts-coptic-stitch-bookbinding-tutorial-screenshotIn this coptic stitch bookbinding tutorial, Linda Tieu takes you through how to make your own hard back book journal using very clear and concise photographs. A perfect tutorial for beginners and people looking to do a quick project.

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Tutorial Contents

  • Materials
  • Covering the boards
  • Punching holes in the board
  • Punching holes in signatures
  • Sewing Signatures onto board
  • Chain Stitching Signatures
  • Stitching the board

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#2 – The Coptic Bound Book Tutorial

01-sewing-paper-coptic-bound-book-no-big-dillA personal blog tutorial by Ashley @ No Big Dill. A very detailed tutorial with high quality photographs and good descriptions of each steps from selecting the paper and folding the signatures right up to chain stitching the bindings.

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#3 – Create a Stunning Combination Coptic Long-stitch Archival Book

02-create-a-stunning-combination-coptic-long-stitch-archival-book-tuts-plusPerhaps one of the most comprehensive coptic long-stitch bookbinding tutorials we could find on the net. 80+ high quality photographs guide the user through the process of making a hard-backed coptic long-stitch book.

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Tutorial Contents

  • Supplies & Materials
  • Paper Grain Identification
  • Cutting and gluing the cover material
  • Preparing your signatures
  • Making a hole-punch guide
  • Punching holes in your signatures
  • Punching holes in your coverboard
  • Sewing the Signatures to the Back Cover
  • Sewing the Remaining Signatures using the Kettle Stitch
  • Sewing on the Front Cover
  • Tying Square Knots on the Long Stitches

#4 – The Exposed Tape Binding in 140 (ish) easy steps

03-the-exposed-tape-binding-in-140-ish-easy-steps-molly-brooksAs the name might suggest, this tutorial from Molly Brooks is a very comprehensive photo tutorial (+ descriptions) on how to make an exposed tape bound hardback book from scratch. Whilst not technically a coptic style bound book it does cover many of the same processes so I thought I would include it within this list. Similar in many ways to a French Link Stitch bound book. ~ Thank you Molly!

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Tutorial Contents

  • preface
  • tools/materials
  • prep
  • cut covers to size
  • mark tape stations on the inside of each cover
  • cut graves into boards
  • cut slot to feed tape through
  • cut tapes to length
  • rough-cut cover papers / trim end papers
  • glue cover paper to board
  • attach tapes to front cover
  • glue end paper to front cover
  • press the cover under weight
  • punch holes through signatures
  • sew bookblock
  • glue cover paper to back cover board
  • attach tapes to back cover
  • glue end paper to back cover
  • press book under weight

#5 – How to Make a Sketchbook Using Coptic Stitch Binding

04-tutorial-sketchbook-coptic-stitch-bindingIsabel Moseley posted this tutorial on the The Canada Arts Connect Magazine website on how to make a Coptic Stitch-bound sketchbook with bookbinding board covers – it’s very good and well worth reading. High quality photographs depict the entire book making process from creating a piercing guide (hole punching guide) to fixing the boards and stitching the bindings (it’s assumed you’ve already selected your paper and made them into signatures).

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#6 – Coptic Binding Instructions

05-making-mini-scrapbooks-coptic-binding-tutorial21 instructional photographs are used with accompanying descriptions in this tutorial by Making Mini Scrapbooks on how to bind your own mini scrapbook using the traditional coptic chain stitch style. A quick tutorial for a sunday afternoon.

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#7 – Single Needle Chain Stitch

cat-sidh-binding-tutorial-screenshotA very informative tutorial on the entire bookbinding process with details about selecting your paper type, identifying paper grain, types of cover material you can use, punching holes, waxing your thread, sewing the signatures, finishing the book etc… you get the picture, it’s very good. 😀

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#8 – 4-part Coptic Book Binding Tutorial

06-coptic-book-binding-tutorialPut your old cereal cartons to good use and make your very own coptic bound journal. In this 4 part book binding tutorial you’ll learn everything from making your book covers to punching holes and stitching the signatures. A great tutorial.

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#9 – Chain or Coptic Stitch Bookbinding Tutorial

tortagialla-chain-or-coptic-stitch-bookbinding-tutorial-screenshotOn her website ‘torta gaialla’, Linda Tieu takes you through the entire coptic stitch binding process. With high quality photographs and step-by-step instructions, assuming you have the correct tools and materials, you’ll have absolutely no problems following through her tutorial.

Many people who have followed the tutorial have asked questions to Linda in the comments section at the bottom, so anything that hasn’t already been clarified on the process is likely to be there. Make sure to check her site out.

Thanks Linda!

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#10 – Life Abloom Journal and Coptic Stitch Tutorial

08-life-abloom-journal-and-coptic-stitch-tutorialMiMi Dibble’s first attempt at making a coptic bound book out of paper scraps and cardboard. Her full tutorial can be found at Tsunami Rose Designs here. A very basis, quick and dirty approach to making a coptic stitch book – perfect for children.

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#11 – Coptic Binding // A Tutorial

07-coptic-binding-tutorial-by-eleanor-mccombA short tutorial on making coptic bound books by Eleanor McComb. Eleanor hosts bookbinding workshops and sells her stuff on her store at, she is very talented and always there to answer any questions, so if you have one feel free to leave a comment on her post and she’ll offer some advice. Thanks for sharing Eleanor!

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(oringal post on her old blog here)

#12 – Single Sheet Coptic Stitch Tutorial

09-single-sheet-coptic-stitch-tutorialFor those confused as to why you might need to use a single sheet coptic stitch on any of your projects:

This sewing is suited to books with board pages or other materials where you cannot fold a section. It makes a good structure for making pages out of flat objects like Perspex, metal or wood.

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#13 – Coptic Book Binding For The Persistently Crafty

bound-and-determined-coptic-bindingA simple tutorial on coptic book binding. It’s lacking some photographs on the more detailed parts of the binding process so instead Laura uploaded a video on the entire stitching process, it’s well worth a watch.

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#14 – Directions for making a soft-covered Coptic Book

katarina-meisterin-coptic-book-tutorialA detailed tutorial on how to make a soft, leather covered coptic book. Slightly different than most of the other tutorials you can find on this page also using slightly different techniques that you might want to learn or educate yourself on.

View Tutorial on Katarina Meisterin blog

#15 – Bookbinding tutorial: make a coptic bound notebook

making-a-coptic-bound-notebook-tutorialShout outs to the PaperCrafter editor, Ella Johnston, for putting together this beautifully descriptive tutorial on how to make a coptic bound notebook. You might find that her instructions will help to clarify some of the processes depicted on photographs found throughout other tutorials on this page. This tutorial itself is lacking photographs of the process.

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#16 – DIY: How to Coptic Bind a Chapbook

diy-how-to-bind-a-coptic-book-chapter-1This tutorial was an unusual find and the only one of its kind I could find on the internet. The process talks you through how to coptic bind printed documents into a printed book. Clear and concise diagrams really help to visualise what you’re doing. There’s also a video of the process here.

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#17 – Binding a Metal Book with a Coptic Stitch

10-volcano-arts-coptic-stitch-tutorialSomething a little different than using binding board for the end-boards; in this slighted dated tutorial you will be shown how to use metal sheets for the book covers. It’s a short tutorial with limited (but enough) photos.

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#18 – Make an Altered Book with Coptic Binding

coptic-binding-tutorial-by-altered-book-website-screenshotA text-only tutorial on how to chain-stitch a book. There are better tutorials than this one but it might have some information you’ve not found on other sites.

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Additional Resources

Further reading

Coptic binding is one of many methods of non-adhesive binding. Keith A. Smith is an author well-known for his non-adhesive bindings tutorials. We would highly recommend that you have at least one of his books in your collection:


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