Among other exciting things, I found in the last volume of the Dutch Printers Yearbook from 1911, was an article by Reinier Willem Petrus de Vries Jr. about a technique that "recently" attracted the attention of some bookbinders — starch marbling.
I wanted to share this with you for several weeks already, but some other things always intervened. I received a lot of nice bookish presents from all over the world this past holiday season. But these pieces of marbled velour paper were the most gratifying by far!
Right opposite the entrance to our quarter in Leiden there's an old books shop. In the window passers by can see lots of book-earrings with marbled covers.
Like many of my fellow bookbinders, I am mostly self-taught; we comb the internet for tips on binding techniques, sewing patterns and leather-versus-cloth options. This initial interest in book arts tends to begin with modern takes on traditional bindings. But after having bound a few works, it’s natural to want to move a bit further back in history, researching the origins and techniques of other book-related arts, such as marbled end papers. Continue reading →
Marbling paper for book endsheets is a great way to add a little more class to your bookbinding project. Marbling is very simple to do and every print is completely different which further helps to add originality to your books. Your bookbinding marbling adventure doesn't have to stop at endsheets, you could also experiment with marbling the coverboards, the book cover material or even the book block fore-edges.
For the general craft-worker or bookbinding hobbyist you'll likely be able to complete adequate paper marbling with materials you can find at home or pick up from local stores (you can also buy marbling kits that have everything you need to get started). For those looking for a more professional finish you'll be pleased to know that marbling is an art, and as such there are many techniques and concepts you can learn to make your books stand out from the rest. I would recommend checking our post on the Top 5 Must Read Books on Marbling Techniques + Reviews.
I have done my fair share of marbling in the past for both clients and personal projects but I am by no means an expert in the subject, this may already be apparent by the lack of technical terminology used within this post but probably even more so when you compare my work with that of a true master. Continue reading →