Booklet cover paper options

I’d like to create some small booklets, about 4”x5” in size, printed within and without from wood cuts and metal type on a Craftsmen Superior and bound with a pair of staples in the spine. In my past projects, I haven’t really found a paper that I liked for the covers. Does anyone have specific recommendations for a cover stock that’s stiff enough to offer protection to the pages inside, creases well at the spine so that it stays open when being read and closed when not, and works well for small scale letterpress printing? Oh, and I’d prefer if it were available in some lightfast color other than plain white.

My previous creative life was in architecture, so I have lots of exposure to brick samples and very little to paper…


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I have used Hahnemuehle Bugra papers with good success for small book covers (with sewn bindings; I have not had experience with staples). Bugra is available in a variety of nice colors and reasonable prices from Dolphin Papers (in Indiana, I believe) —

All best with your project,
St Brigid Press
Afton, VA

Just an idea:

If the heavy cover stock tends to not remain closed when you wish it, you can double-crease the back so that there is a crease on each side of the staple (or sewing). This provides a small flat back which heps to keep the covers from being pushed out by the folded signature pages. This also allows for a place to add a title to the spine so the pamphlet displays well on a book shelf.

You would have to experiment with the distance between the creases, but I have found that it should be approximately the same width as the thickness of the text pages being covered.

Hello LelandManufactory,

I’ve used the Hahnemühle Bugra for chapbook covers, but as you can see in this example, some of the colors have a pronounced laid pattern that you might not want. Also, it’s lighter than what you’d call a cover stock. It prints beautifully, however, and does come in a nice palette. I get mine from Atlantic Papers, who cuts to size.

I suggest that you get some swatch books. Most of the paper purveyors offer them. I have a bunch from Talas in New York, and just today I got this year’s catalog from New York Central; here’s a link.


to LelandManufactory

Please advise what is the thickness of the group of pages which make up the interior of the books? If you are stapling through the spine, we would expect the books to have only a few pages, up to about 32? Seems you may want the pages to lie flat when the books are open?

Also, if you are stapling, what substance are the staples made of? How long do you want the books to last? I made a few simple books, later learned that the staples were only copper-plated steel, so they rusted and disfigured the paper.

When our youth club was presented with a well-made Bible, there was a set of instructions on how to open the Book for the first time, to make the pages/binding last longer.
[That Book has rather more pages than most.]

I’ve tried most kinds of stitching, have not been completely satisfied with any, so far. But type-setting was my trade, not book-binding. I have even tried spot-glueing in a different manner to the usual.

Part of my problem was limited facilities, could have done better if a well-maintained guillotine (paper-cutter) had been available; I thought of building one, even scrounged (acquired) a knife which had been ground down by sharpening to its limit, but could have done what I needed? [I made it “safe” before storing it.]


Alan Nankivell
Re the stitching wire , you can use plastic coated wire if you need longevity with no age marking , comes in a variety of colours or you can go expensive and use archive wire which is solid brass but moisture wil green it over time but it never seems to actually disintegrate like steel does .

Thanks, everyone - that’s a lot of good starting points and things to think about that I wouldn’t have come up with on my own in my basement!