aspen & pine

a journey in creativity and mindful living

Category: BookbindingResources

wheat paste


Wheat paste is used in bookbinding to glue the end-pages to the inside of the cover. This process is called casing in. To make wheat paste all you need are wheat starch and water. I bought my wheat starch from Talas, but you can get it from specialty food stores as well.  The first time I ever made wheat paste I actually used regular flour. This works, but you do end up with a better product if you use refined wheat starch.

To make the paste you mix 1 part wheat starch with 4 parts water. Here I used 1 Tbsp wheat starch and 4 Tbsp’s water. I find it is better to make small batches when I need it because it does go bad after a while. Whisk to remove lumps and let sit 1 hour.


Now it is ready to cook! I placed this bowl over a pan of boiling water to make a double boiler. This helps prevent it from burning and forming lumps. The package from Talas says to cook it for 15-25 minutes until it turns thick and translucent. However, mine usually turns thick and translucent after only about 5-7 minutes. Make sure to stir constantly because when it starts to thicken it is fast, and lumps can easily form.


Let the paste cool, then strain into an airtight container. To use, mix with a little water to achieve a creamy paste. Store in the fridge if you have extra leftover.


bookbinding resources


This is one of the ranunculus I planted this summer from my sister. It is finished blooming now and the weather is getting cooler. I had the windows open today and was just thinking I won’t be able to open them for much longer. Soon the leaves will be changing. I guess it is time to say goodbye to summer.

Anyway, I wanted to share with you the resources I used to learn bookbinding. I thought I’d try to save a little money by looking for as much information as I could online. With so much out there on the internet these days, I figured it would be a good idea to check before buying books, or paying for a class. After lots of searching I eventually found some really good tutorials, blogs, and youtube videos on binding and making books. It was enough to get me started. I’m sure I’m still missing a lot, but here is what was helpful to me:

  1. The Paper Studio has two YouTube videos that helped me. One on the basic tools you need, and another about how to glue for bookbinding.
  2. Sage Reynolds Channel on YouTube was probably the most helpful. As a complete beginner with no background knowledge of bookbinding, Sage Reynolds clearly explains and demonstrates how to make boxes,  books, and portfolios.
  3. Bookbinders Chronicles is another YouTube channel dedicated to bookbinding. They are pretty easy to understand, but these videos have no sound and I found them less engaging than Sage Reynolds videos.
  4. Books, Boxes, and Portfolios: Binding, Construct and Design, Step-by-Step by Franz Zeier is the only book I got. It was a little difficult for me to follow at first, but combined with Reynolds videos I found it very helpful as a reference. I don’t think that this book or any other book is necessary to get started. I mostly used video tutorials anyway because they were easier for me to understand as a beginner.
  5. Badger and Chirp, is a great blog with lots of helpful information about tools and materials used in bookbinding. They also do workshops across the country.
  6. Damask love is another great blog by Amber Kemp-Gerstel who has made some video tutorials on bookbinding.

If you have found any other resources that were helpful to you, please leave a comment below. Thanks!