Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Boatwright Memorial Library

Book Arts: Book Arts Instruction at UR

Utilizing the Book Arts Studio at UR

The Book Arts Studio is located on the 4th floor of Boatwright Memorial Library and is available for both class visits of up to 20 students and individual student use. Faculty may bring their classes to the studio for one or multiple sessions to incorporate hands-on creative projects into their courses. Examples of course collaborations may include:

  • Hand binding books in a variety of structures to be used for journaling, creative storytelling, data collection, comics, or any other course-related applications
  • Learning the history of the book through the exploration of book structures, materials, and printing methods
  • Creating comics
  • Making artists' books
  • Relief printing with hand-carved linoleum blocks
  • Image creation utilizing cut paper
  • Letterpress printing cards, posters, or poetry broadsides with metal and wood type
  • Many other creative possibilities utilizing book, print, and paper

To schedule a visit to the studio, complete the Instruction Request Form or email Book Arts Program Director, Jen Thomas, at

Project Time Requirements

Some studio collaborations can be completed in one 75 minute class visit, while others may require multiple class visits to the studio. Below are some general guidelines for project time requirements:

One 75 minute class can complete one of the following:

  • Up to three fold book structures that do not require adhesive
  • A simple sewn book structure that does not require adhesive
  • An introduction to the Book Arts Studio, including binding samples, print examples, and demonstrations of studio equipment
  • A hands-on printing demonstration with pre-set type and imagery
  • Hand setting metal type in small groups using predetermined text
  • A comic making, zine making, or writing exercise using a single page fold book format
  • A cut paper project
  • A creative ideation session to begin a project

Two 75 minute classes can complete one of the following:

  • A sewn binding with hardcover such as a single-section cased binding or Coptic binding
    • Session 1: students will make their covers
    • Session 2: students will sew their text blocks and attach covers
  • Up to three fold books with hardcovers
    • Session 1: students will make fold books
    • Session 2: students will make covers and attach to fold books
  • Carving and printing small linoleum blocks with pre-planned imagery
    • Session 1: each student will carve their own block using pre-planned imagery
    • Session 2: each student will print their own block
  • Hand setting and printing with metal or wood type
    • Session 1: each student will set their own small block of pre-planned text
    • Session 2: each student will print their own type
  • Create an artists's book using a dimensional structure such as a tunnel book, flag book, or similar structure
    • Session 1: each student will cut, fold, draw, and create individual book components
    • Session 2: each student will combine individual elements and assemble final books

Multiple 75 minute classes:

  • Each student will create their own poetry broadside utilizing hand-set type and optional addition of imagery utilizing various printing techniques
  • Each student OR small group of students will design and create their own book: children's book, artist's book, comic book, or other multi-page book with drawings and/or text; books will be hand-drawn or printed digitally and bound by hand in the studio
  • Each student will design and letterpress print their own single-page fold book

These are just a few of the possible collaborative projects that can be completed in the Book Arts Studio. Each visit will be customized for class learning outcomes.

Book Arts Studio Equipment

The Book Arts Studio contains the following equipment:


  • Jacques iron bed board shears with 40" blade
  • Kwikprint Models 86 and 55 stamping machines
  • Cast iron backing press
  • 4 cast iron nipping presses of various sizes
  • 3 wooden sewing frames
  • 2 wooden finishing presses
  • Bench drill press
  • D & K Masterpiece 250 dry mounting/laminating press
  • 14" x 18" guillotine paper cutter
  • 10.5" x 14.5" guillotine paper cutter
  • Cricut Maker cutting machine


  • Vandercook No. 4 proof press
  • Vandercook No. 1 proof press
  • C & P 8 x 12 Old Style platen press
  • Sigwalt 6 x 9 tabletop platen press
  • Excelsior 5 x 8 tabletop platen press
  • 6 portable Provisional Presses with 9 x 12 maximum print area

Cast iron book press and Vandercook No. 1 proof press

Left, cast iron book press, and right, Vandercook No. 1 proof press. Two of the many pieces of equipment available for use in the studio.

Examples of Book Arts Studio Projects

Spirit of Armstrong single-section cased binding - closed view and tittle page with linoleum cut

Single-section cased binding with linoleum block print on title page. The book was printed digitally and hand bound by students in the Book Arts Studio.

Cut paper placemats with favorite meals

Students created paper place settings of their favorite meals for an exhibition as part of a Museum Studies course.

Students setting wood type and an example of printed wood type

Students hand set and printed wood type for exhibition titles.

Students worked with community members to create artists' books that were displayed in an exhibition at The Valentine.

Poster image: Protest! A Richmond History. Poster contains linoleum block prints of hands and the state of Virginia.

Students designed, carved, and printed linoleum blocks that were then used to create an exhibition poster.

Two students' artists' books utilizing text from one source and images from another to create a "collision book."

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.