Road Less Travelled Press was initiated in 2021 as a framework towards collective publishing, mutual exchanges and collaboration.


Working in pairs, groups and workshops; with photography, dialogue & text, archival materials and book making; developing new approaches as they emerge in the specific context. 

Through collective learning and making, the press’ aim is to generate and circulate narratives of agency towards social and political change.


︎ email 
︎ newsletter


step by step coptic bookbinding

Materials and tools

thread & needle
bone folder

ruler & triangle
cutting mat 
scalpel & scissors

text paper
cover paper

[See Resources for where to get tools from. I have used regular A4 paper and cardboard (from local shops) for the cover.]

[1] Prepare your sections
Choose paper for your book/ pamphlet purpose and prepare sections. 4 sheets of A4 paper will give you 16 printed pages in 1 section for an A5 publication. Prepare as many sections as you wish.

[If you print a pdf, make sure to order the pages according to the illustration below, my local copy shop was happy to help]︎︎︎

[2] Fold your sheets in half with a bone folder, laying them into each other, 4 sheets making 1 section.
Front and back cover can be the exact same height and width as pages or 2x/2.5x the width of your publication , folding the length of the sheet to the publication’s height.

[Grain direction: should be vertical ︎︎︎ to the spine/ publication height. For coptic binding less important.]

[3] Make a sawing station template
Plan your sewing stations. Take a piece of thicker paper (same height as your book) and mark with a pencil where you’ll want to saw the sections and covers into a book. They need to be in the same place throughout, starting 15 mm off top and bottom (head and tail).

[4] Place the template inside the inner page of the section and pierce holes with the marks of the station template as a guide. Assemble the book, from front cover to sections to back cover, into one stack.

[5] Learn how to tie a square or reef knot. Get your needle and tread. Linen thread is strong and thin. If your thread is too thick for a small publication (= few sections) the spine will be thicker than the rest [swell]. Balance out through thickness/ thinness of either thread and/or paper. 

[6] Sewing your sections 
Set up on the edge of your table with the spine of the cover towards you, held at a 90 degree angle. Start from the inside of the section -  inside of the 1st section, 1st hole. DAS’ tutorial below [watch 6] starts right at the beginning of the sewing process︎︎︎

[7] When you run out of thread, tie the short end of the old thread with a new one using a weavers’ knot. broomholm’s video [ watch 7] is helpful for this. As you add sections, press down with your bone folder to compress the sections, adjusting your tension. Tie a square knot around the thread at the end.

‘Creative Bookmaking’ by Pauline Johnson, published by the University of Washington Press in 1963. Page 13 shows a coptic binding of a Gospel book, seventh or eight century. Page 12 briefly mentions that bookbinding originated in Egypt in the 2nd century. However, in most Euro-centric histories of book binding hardly anything is written about coptic binding being the earliest form of bookbinding in history.

[Photo in black frame: Long and Link Stitch: Online Workshop with Sarah Nicholls at Center for Book Arts]

[6] DAS is a brilliant teacher in bookbinding. He has had 1,320,520 views/ students since he joined youtube in 2019.