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Part 1 of this article will teach you how to make an Omni-Gel transfer and to solder the book covers together.


Binding a Metal Book with a Coptic Stitch

What You’ll Need

This stitch will work for any book with folded text sections and separate covers.

The Coptic stitch is incredibly versatile and is useful for those books which aren’t cased-in or sewn through a leather (or other material) spine. To prevent the holes in the metal from tearing the sewing thread, eyelets are used.


Mark, center punch and drill 4 1/8” holes in each piece of metal. (See images 1 and 2) If you are making the soldered ‘Peter Pan’ project, the procedure is the same as follows, but you are also drilling through layers of copper foil tape and solder (NOT glass). I make up a template so that I’m sure of the placement and then can use the same template to poke holes in the text sections.

Use the eyelet tool and a heavy poly hammer to install eyelets in each hole in both pieces of metal. (See image 3) This should be done with care, as it’s easy to break the glass. Several small taps are better than a few hard ones. Also, support the metal on a ruler (or some other 1/8” thick surface) and leave the glass hanging off. This prevents the metal from bending as you hammer.

Now fold all the page of your book. If you are using a book-in-sheets be sure to keep them in order and oriented in the same direction. Nest them into sections. Between 4 and 6 pages per section is a good amount. Number your sections in the top, right corner to help keep them in order and oriented.

Use the 4 holes in the book covers as a guide to poke holes in the sections of the pages using a hole punching cradle and an awl.

While sewing a multiple needle Coptic stitch book you will repeat each step with each needle one at a time before continuing on to the next step. Each thread (with 2 needles) is used to sew 2 sewing stations. In this book you’ll use one thread for 2 holes and then the other thread for the other 2 holes.

On each step, it’s important to drop your needle to either the left or the right of the hole consistently each time. It doesn’t matter if you choose the left or the right. It only matters that you are consistent. It will make your stitches look a lot more uniform.

Thread each of your 4 needles onto the 2 pieces of thread so that you have 1 needle at each end of each piece of thread. It is important that you have the needles an even distance from each end of thread and that the tails are the same length.

From the inside to the outside of section 1, pull each of the needles out each hole. (See image 4) The thread should be centered between the 2 holes. From now on these directions will refer to one piece of thread. Remember to complete each step with each needle before moving on to the next step.

After coming out both holes sew through the eyelets in the metal cover from the outside to the inside (the needles will emerge between the cover and section 1).

Wrap the thread once around itself to lock the stitch and then carefully tighten everything up.

Add section number 2 by sewing into the holes immediately below the holes from which you initially emerged. (See image 5)

Once inside section 2, cross the needles and pull them out of each others’ holes (the needle that originally went into hole 1 will now come out hole 2).

Lift 2 text sections and wrap the thread around the link directly above the one you just came out.

Enter the holes directly below in section 3. (See image 6)

Repeat steps 4, 5 and 6 until you have added all the sections.

Adding the back cover is similar to adding the front cover. When you come out the holes in section 8 go through the holes in the back cover metal from the outside to the inside so that your needles emerge between the last section and the cover.

Lock the stitch by wrapping around the thread once.

Drop down and wrap the thread around the stitch in the previous section (this is easier to do if you lift 2 sections rather than trying to force the needles between.

Re-enter the same hole you initially came out in the final section. This will be a tight fit. Be patient and do not force it.

Tie each thread on the inside of the section to its mate on the opposite end of the same thread.

Cut the threads to about 1/2” or cut them even closer and secure with a dab of Super Glue or PVA.

* How to compute thread length for a Coptic stitch book

This method isn’t foolproof but it’s a reliable way to compute how much thread you need for sewing a multi-needle Coptic stitch.
Measure the distance between 2 holes
Multiply the resulting number by the number of sections in the book
Measure the height of the spine (from the front cover to the back cover
Multiply the resulting number X 2
Add the results of steps 2 and 4 above
Multiply that number by 3
Add 6” for knots and comfort

For this 4-needle sewing, you’ll need 2 pieces of thread cut to the calculated length.

Image 1: Center punch where you want to drill (note use of template for placement)

Image 2: Drilling holes

Image 3: Setting eyelets

Image 4: Sew from the inside to the outside so that the needles hang on the outside.

Image 5: Lock the stitch and add another text section

Image 6: After linking, add section 3.

Issue # 16

Christine Cox was a regular contributor to ARTitude Zine. This article originally appeared there and is reprinted here with permission. Unfortunately ARTitude is no longer published.