Drum Leaf Binding
Instructor Karen Hanmerr

Virtual Workshop
Saturday March 13, 2021
10 AM to 1 PM Eastern Standard Time
From wherever you are, via Zoom
Class limit: 15

Here's our first virtual workshop for book artists who want to take their bench skills to the next level. Beginning binders will enjoy it, too, but they will need to be familiar with concepts like grain direction and have on hand some standard binding tools and studio supplies.

The Drum Leaf binding, developed by Tim Ely, has features in common with multiple preexisting Eastern and Western binding structures. This adhesive binding is a perfect structure for printmakers, photographers, or anyone who desires to present visual narratives with no sewing thread to interrupt the flow of imagery. Because a drum leaf book is not laid out in signatures but made of single-sided folios, the complexities of imposition are not encountered when laying out text.

The binding opens flat. It can be dressed up or down with a variety of spine treatments, board-covering materials, and edge decoration techniques. It can be constructed quickly, lends itself to edition work, and can be made in a sparsely equipped home studio.

The drum leaf is also an excellent structure for beginning binders. Students learn to work with common bookbinding tools, materials, and techniques and principles such as grain direction, folding signatures, tidy application of adhesive, and measuring one component of the book to fit another.


Advance registration is required for all JCBA workshops. For more details or to register, please email JCBA Director John Cutrone (jcutrone@fau.edu). John will send you an email explaining how to pay your tuition online. It's a simple process.


This workshop has a set tuition fee of $100.

Required Tools:

• Bone or teflon folder
• Small self-healing cutting mat
• Metal ruler or straightedge, 12” is adequate
• X-acto, scalpel or olfa knife and a few extra blades
• Scissors
• Small glue brush
• A pair of gluing up boards: scrap book board 6.25 x 4", one of the long edges of each covered in clear packing tape
• Waste paper
• Pencil


• Microspatula; Talas #TTB002001 or similar
• Dividers; Talas #TTB033004 or similar
• Square with base; Talas #TTB041001, or some device to keep text block and boards square
8” plastic drywall knife (neater and more precise than a brush and the ideal tool for this binding)
• “Paper Rulers” strips of paper 1/2” wide to use for quick measuring when ruler is awkward or unnecessary

Required Materials:

The workshop model has a folded page size of 6.25 x 4.25". Of course, future books you make using this structure can be any size you wish. The dimensions given for some pieces are rough cut only. The workshop will provide information for cutting each piece to size in relation to other parts of the binding. If you are making an important book that has a very large page size or is significantly thicker than the workshop book or a book that is significantly smaller in scale, make a model first to determine if the structure is appropriate, and what materials need to be scaled up or down.

Unless noted, all materials are grain direction parallel to the spine. Dimensions below are (height) x (width).

• 8 heavy paper that will fold without cracking, 8 undecorated or 2 undecorated and 6 decorated, 6.25 x 8.5” unfolded, 6.25 x 4.25" folded
• 2 inserts, 2 or 4 ply museum board or 40 pt card, 6.25 x 4.25"
• Arches text equivalent or heavy tissue spine lining 6.5 x 1"
• Spine stiffener + spacer, 20 pt card, 6.5 x 2”
• 1 spine wrapper, book cloth, 6.5 x 2.5”
• 2 card fills, thickness of the above book cloth, 6.5 x 4”
• 2 decorative paper to cover boards, text weight, 7.5 x 4.5”
• thin colored tissue to cover board edges at spine, 1 @ 2 x 2”


Karen Hanmer's artist-made books are physical manifestations of personal essays intertwining history, culture, politics, science, and technology. She utilizes both traditional and contemporary book structures, and the work is often playful in content or format. Hanmer's work is included in collections ranging from The British Library and the Library of Congress to Stanford University and Graceland, and of course the Jaffe Collection. She offers workshops and private instruction focusing on a solid foundation in traditional binding skills.