Marbling and Bookbinding Workshop – Full Day

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10am – 5pm | Cockpit Arts, Deptford SE8 3DZ

This comprehensive full-day workshop will first teach you how to ‘paint on water’ using centuries-old marbling techniques to create your own colourful papers – you will then be guided through the process of using your marbled papers to make three books, giving you an introductory look at the traditional craft of bookbinding.

The day will be split in two, with a 3-hour morning of marbling lead by Lucy McGrath of Marmor Paperie, who will give you a brief history of the craft, the technical ‘do’s and ‘don’t’s, and lots of time for trying it out. Then, after an hour lunch break, Amy Kitcherside of The Idle Bindery will take you through the process of using your marbled papers to create three books. Firstly we’ll start with a simple, but effective, 3 hole pamphlet stitch, then we’ll move on to a beautiful Japanese stab binding and finish with a concertina book.

You’ll be introduced to some standard bookbinding equipment and tools, including items you can source yourself at home for future projects, and be taught the basics of bookbinding. Students will each leave with three handmade books covered with their own marbled paper as well as any additional marbled papers left over from the morning.

If you love playing with paint or getting creative with paper, this workshop is for you. Traditionally, marbling and bookbinding have always gone hand in hand – now discover for yourself how the chaos of marbling beautifully complements the detail of bookbinding.



Morning: Paper Marbling
Paper marbling is a centuries-old art where paint is floated upon a bath of thickened water and drawn through with various tools to create striking, fluid patterns. In the first half of the workshop, you will learn:
  • how to make the thickened water
  • how to prepare paper for marbling
  • techniques for controlling the behaviour of the paints
  • how to create a variety of beautiful patterns.
Contemporary paper marbler Lucy McGrath will demonstrate various techniques and talk you through how to recreate them yourself, providing all the tools, equipment and materials you might need to get really experimental. Marbling is great fun but super messy so make sure you wear old clothes (and shoes)! You don’t need to bring anything except a healthy dose of creativity.

There will be an hour long break at 1pm for you to eat lunch and rest before the afternoon session. Food will not be provided, but there are many cafes and supermarkets in the area where you can buy lunch. You may also wish to bring your own packed lunch to eat.

Tea, coffee, water and light snacks will be provided throughout the session.

Afternoon: Bookbinding
Experience the satisfaction of transforming a pile of paper into your own books. We’ll be using a lovely cotton rag paper for your pamphlet binding, perfect for drawing and painting on.  Next we’ll create a Japanese stab-binding, producing your own notebook with a beautiful patterned stitch. Finally, we’ll make a concertina book. You will be able to choose three/four of your favourite marbled papers from the morning session to use as the covers of your books. You’ll also learn:
  • an understanding of grain direction and how important it is in bookbinding
  • how to fold paper correctly and sew a basic pamphlet stitch 
  • how to pierce holes for your stab binding
  • how to sew a Japanese stab binding plus inspiration for other stitch patterns

    Bookbinder Amy Kitcherside will demonstrate every step of the process, and provide all the tools, equipment and materials you will need. 


    If you need to cancel your booking for any reason, please email Let us know at least 72 hours in advance of the event for a full refund.

    Minimum age

    Please note that, due to the sharp tools used in bookbinding, there is a minimum age requirement of 18 years for this workshop.


    Designed to match your skill level

    Get a book made from your paper

    Sometimes you pull a paper from your marbling tray and it's an absolute beauty! Make the most of your favourite papers by opting to have them transformed into a notebook, from just £20.