Last weekend I took a bookbinding workshop with a couple classmates. I had been looking forward to the day since Tony Firman visited my rare books class as a guest lecturer.

Tony is a joy to listen to and learn from, and after seeing him demonstrate the binding of a miniature book I knew I needed to learn more. We all know how much I love tediously particular crafts, like embroidery, and I thought this might be right up my alley. During his lecture I couldn’t stop thinking, “This is a thing? People actually get to do this for work?”

The workshop was so much fun, and I recommend anyone in DFW contact Tony for your bookbinding or miniature book needs (we all have a lot of those, right?). His work reflects his meticulous craftsmanship, from the typesetting to binding and casing. I’m going to have to order some of his handmade miniature books, if only I can decide which I most need!

His workshop teaches four different binding methods, and each of the four books you create is about the way in which it’s bound. I decided to work with miniatures rather than full size books because, again, I love tedious and tiny work. Plus, miniature books are also just about my favorite thing in the world. They combine my two greatest loves–literature and small, cute things.

The beginnings of a small paperback book.

Punching holes in a gather of a more sophisticated hard-cover book that will have a sewn-signature binding.

A bit of time must be spent waiting for glue to dry, so Tony entertained us with his collection of books, explaining the varying binding methods or significance of the book itself.

Bookbinding also involves a lot of trimming. There’s not much room for error in miniature books.

Measuring and cutting the boards of the casing was the most difficult task. I was relieved to finally cover the casing in fabric.

Some of Tony’s miniature collection. The books above were created by Tony himself.

And now, my four completed miniature books:


  1. Nice and great. Binding is really important whether it is books or documents. The post shows that he has taken binding to an artistic level. It is great to read a book with a great binding. All the books are looking great in the images.

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