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graphic of scrolls History of paste paper
picture of a book

The art of bookbinding included the practice of embellishing the books with decorative end papers called paste papers. Paste papers have been used in bookbinding for 400 years. The book was viewed as an art form and the process of binding a book was a craft. Bookbinding consisted of two stages, forwarding and finishing. The forwarding processes include folding the leaves into pages and gathering them, sewing them together, adding decorative endpapers, attaching boards, and covering. Finishing includes the artistic embellishment of the binding.


picture of a paste paper

The first paste papers were decorated by using colored rice paste. These early papers were used in Germany, France, and Italy. The people best known for their paste paper were the Moravians from Hernnhut, East Saxony, in Germany. The early paste papers were monochromatic and the two most common colors were burnt sienna and indigo blue.


picture of a book illustrated by Eric Carle

Paste papers were very popular during the 18th and early 19th century. They were first used in North America in the 1750’s. Bookbinders today still use paste papers to embellish books. Paste papers have also become popular as a way to illustrate books. Eric Carle is a popular children’s book illustrator that illustrates books using paste paper.


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  Page Last Updated 11/4/03