Paste Paper, the Hardcover Journal, and the Clamshell Box

Learn the most common bookbinding techniques and choose one style to create a traditional, hardcover journal, covered in your own handmade decorative paste paper. Plus, make a clamshell box, custom sized to fit your journal.

The emphasis of this Book Arts Basics course is bookbinding, a centuries old tradition that is still appreciated today for its versatility, variety, and creative potential. In addition to bookbinding, this class also teaches students how to make paste paper for use in handmade books and how to modify the techniques of hardcover book construction to make a custom box.

Students begin by making their own paste paper, a historical process in which pigmented paste is used to create decorative patterns on paper. The course then delves into various bookbinding techniques (concertina, long stitch, coptic, case binding, and secret Belgian binding) that students will learn as they make small, practice mock-ups of each style. Using the paste papers as end pages or covers, or both, students will each make a hardcover journal, using the binding style of their choice, along with a clamshell box custom sized for the journal.

This course can be taken with Book Arts Basics Parts I & III for a for a comprehensive foundation, or individually to just get comfortable with book binding.

Students who take this course will be eligible to join the Book Arts Membership program at MMW+C, which grants access to the equipment at the Maine Media Book Arts Studio on a reservation basis when the studio is not in use for classes or residencies.


Special bundled pricing: Register for any of the others in this sequence and earn special tuition pricing.

Part I and Part ii $1780

Part I, Part II, and Part III $2690

Part II and Part III $1900


Richard Reitz Smith

Richard Reitz Smith, recently, was selected as Book Artist in Residence at Maine Media Workshops + College where he wrote, illustrated, printed and bound a limited-edition abecedary of alliterative haiku. 

Richard received a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University in painting and illustration.  After working for three years developing products for Crayola and Liquitex, he returned to school and earned an MFA in graphic design (Tyler School of Art- Temple University). Then started a five-year tour of universities as an art and design professor which led him to New York City where he taught at Pratt Institute and School of Visual Arts. While doing this, he freelanced as an illustrator and graphic designer for companies like The GAP, Macy's, American Craft Museum, Metlife, Pearson Education and Scholastic. Then he took positions at Clicquot, Inc. and Clinique Cosmetics consecutively.  For Clinique Cosmetics, he managed multi-million-dollar, international, seasonal product and promotional launches as the director of package design-worldwide. For Clicquot, Inc. he was a one-person art department for the wine importer/promoter of Veuve Clicquot, Krug, Bouchard and many other ultra premium wines. 

It was in NYC, that he found and frequented The Center for Book Arts learning much about letterpress and the book as an art form. 

In 2002, Richard moved to Maine. He worked in-house at William Arthur Stationery and Briggs Advertising, then started Design& Smith Creative Ventures, a Camden-based art and design studio focused on creative custom solutions for visual problems. Richard’s work has won awards across a wide-ranging platform like logo and brand development, package design, print collateral, as well as book arts, painting and drawing.  He is comfortable marrying traditional skills with technology and often incorporates handwork into Adobe Creative Suite.   

Also, Richard is co-owner of the Letterpress Studio at Steel House Collaborative in Rockland where he has taught letterpress workshops.


Course Dates

Jun 25 to Jul 1




Class Size