Book Plates

Im interested in making some book plates, should I find adhesive backed paper, or old school velum with paste etc… Im looking for what others have done or where to buy the correct paper and stuff


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Most conservationist librarians would prefer you utilize either pre-gummed paper (which must be moistened to attach) or standard paper, using a paste to apply the bookplate to the book.

I personally prefer the latter and I generally just “tip” the bookplate on by pasting just 1/4-3/8” at the top of the bookplate so that the next owner (I assume there will be another) can remove it easily.

This second method has the advantage that one can choose whatever paper is desired, rather than just the stock which has been pre-gummed. I have printed several different size bookplates so that I may choose a miniature one for my miniature books and larger for more substantial ones.

John Henry

I printed a run of several hundred bookplates in the fall. We (my SO and I) used a paper stock we liked and then used an acid free paste (a glue stick actually) to attach the plates. They are removable with a little care and some moisture. The paper we used was a Strathmore stock we liked. You can find decent acid free papers online, or in a pinch, even at Staples.

I would stay away from real vellum. It can wrinkle and curl with age or changes in environment. Some of the synthetic substitutes are quite good.

On value: (from some librarians and collectors)

Most collectors see bookplates as detracting from value, especially those mass produced fill-in-the-blank plates from Borders or a large book store.

The two things that make a the presence of a plate valuable are: If the book was owned by a notable person or if the plate is of exceptional quality and enhances the content of the book.

Anyway, have fun with the project!

I print the bookplates for a web based specialty store. I print them offset, 8 up on Mohawk Superfine writing. After they are trimmed. my customer packages them in a custom box with a special paste and a few other inserts and mails them off.
These bookplates are personalized and proofed on the website by the customer. The files come print ready from the website. Volume is about 10 orders a week. My customers net is over 50% of sales after all costs. Nice little part time business.


I print a lot of book-plates to give away as gifts each Christmas to family members and friends. I haven’t been able to find decent acid-free gummed paper, so I use cheap acid-free stock, and then give a little archival glue stick along with the plates…. similar to what LRF does. Just to jazz it up a bit this last year, I printed a special label for the glue-stick….. designed after a Megill’s Guage Pin Box.