Browsing Tag



Porcelain Covered Book

7 oktober 2015
Prien_ Porcelain cover book_nieuw

How cool is that, a book cover of porcelain paper! This unique book – ‘Kingdom by the sea’ –  is published today in a limited edition of 250 copies.

Each cover of this pretty thick book (448 pages) is individually kilned, signed and numbered. The dimensions of the cover are 34 by 24 centimeters. The porcelain paper is only 1 millimeter thick and first has been baked at 1,275º C. After this first treatment the image has been printed on the solid porcelain paper and baked at 800º c to finish the cover. This super thin translucent cover is now ready for processing.

Writing these facts, I notice that my hands really want to touch this porcelain surface … perhaps my local bookshop (Donner) has one … and I can see (and feel) it live …

I love the idea to adjust the material to the image, and to experiment and to stretch the possibilities of existing material. The porcelain paper has been produced by the Europees Keramisch Werk Centrum (new name Sundaymorning@ekwc).


Bookbinding Inspiration

Masterclass Leather Decoration

18 juni 2015
Prien working with suede workshop Elbel2

Weeks ago I took a masterclass Leather Decoration from Benjamin Elbel. It was such a great course and I wanted to tell you all about it weeks ago … but time was flying sooo fast ….

It was a two day masterclass. The first day we prepared the leather and the second day we made a cover for a notebook with one of the finished pieces of leather.

We started with a thin piece of suede and tissue paper. After pressing and drying we sanded and sanded the layers until we were satisfied with the result. You can play with the color of the suede, the color of the tissue paper and the patterns you press in the layers. Also the way and the duration of sanding gives an extra effect. At the end of the day we put our drudgery in the press and we went home with a head spinning of ideas.


The second day we peeled the suede from the cardboard, it felt smooth, thin and easy to handle. Benjamin had asked us to bring a notebook as a base for a book wrap. After a day of hard work, lots of measuring and of course a lot of fun, we finished our book wraps. I am really happy with mine, I love the color, texture and I will make a bunch of refills, so I can use the wrap forever.
Working with leather and suede is new for me, and I really love it! I bought some leather and suede and at the moment I am working on a new product line. Just follow my blogs, newsletters, Facebook or Instagram for updates.

Prien’s Newsletter

30 maart 2015
Prien Nieuwsbrief Maart 2015_nieuw2

Last week’s newsletter was all about your own logo at personalized notebooks, binders and other stationery. Although it is in Dutch, I didn’t want to withhold it.

If you want to receive Prien’s newsletter on a regular base, you can subscribe at Prien’s website.


Bookbinding Inspiration

Edible Books

26 januari 2015
Prien zoet boekje_nieuw

A few weeks ago I made small edible booklets from marzipan and fondant. When the fondant was still soft my logo could easily be pressed in the cover. These miniature books, as sweet as honey, were a great success at the networking event where everyone had to take something eatable to represent his or her company. Besides that it was fun making these books and receiving a lot of eatable gifts from other entrepreneurs, it also brought me into a new world; the world of edible books.

Books are made from paper, ink and cardboard, so my first search was targeted at these ‘ingredients’.

  •  Edible paper, also known as ouwel/wafer is made from potato starch, vegetable oil and water. The manufacturer can add flavours, colours and the thickness can be adjusted. It is also possible to print with edible ink
  • Books are often sewn with thread, a quick search yielded several edible ropes. For example dried Japanese Japanese bottle gourd or ropes from the fibers of nettles.

This is only a very short enumeration of the possibilities. Each project requires its own ingredients.

In my search I found several interesting examples;
  1. The Land Rover survival guide. The basic idea of this book is that the owner can survive in the Arabian Dessert. It describes which animals and plants one can eat, but not only the content helps one to survive, also the book itself. The packaging is reflective, so it can be used for signaling, the metal spiral of the binding can be used for cooking and last but not least … people can eat the book. The nutritional value is close to that of a cheeseburger. This book was first printed in limited edition, but soon it became a hit and now there are 70,000 books in circulation … how many have been eaten … no one knows 🙂

  2. Design and inoovations agency Korefe made a cookbook that can actually be read and eaten. The book is made out of fresh pasta and can be opened an read. Afterwards you can fill it with ingredients and put it in the oven.

  3. The Dutch cook, Pierre Wind, made an edible book from ouwel/wafer, marzipan and licorice laces called Doekoe voor boekids.Pierre-2BWind-2Bdoekoe-2Bboekids

Do you have a special example of edible books or ingredients, don’t hesitate to let us know in a comment.
Looking for a special book? Prien is always in for an adventure. Please contact me, so we can discuss the possibilities.

Prien’s Diary

19 januari 2015
Prien diary_nieuw

Looking for a structured live, an empty head, and just happy thoughts. A diary might help!

An old fashioned diary, for all your (secret) thoughts, ideas, dreams, jokes, sorrows and unforgettable memories. Sometimes when you write, your subconsciousness just runs off, and your hand keeps writing the most beautiful unexpected ideas.

A diary is not only for writing, you can also draw and sketch in it. Sometimes an image can say more than a thousand words, or your words need some visual back-up.

In these days of computers, mobile phones, tablets and all kind of other digital stuff, it is sometimes nice to use pen and paper. Just slow down, and pay real attention to what your are doing.
You can use your diary in so many ways:
– be a diva
– write down all your twisted ideas
– create your own perfect dream world
– see it as your best friend ever
– hide your deepest sorrow
– build your private castle in the air
– use it as a treasury for the small things in life
– speak with your senses; feel/smell/see/hear with words

How do you use your diary and what does it mean for you?
Please let me know …
Have fun writing!

ps. Prien has a diary in the shop at the moment. This one is faded green, with dots. If you are not a
fan of green, or dots and you are looking for your perfect diary, please contact me for the


Holiday gifts

26 november 2014
Volkswagen notebooks_nieuw

Looking for a perfect gift for the holidays? Perhaps these Volkswagen retro notebooks are exactly what you are looking for.

For every wish there is a notebook; lined, blank pages, thicker pages to sketch on, A4, A5, square, rectangular and not to forget the minis.

Handbound, firm and handy notebooks. Planning a nice long summer trip, use one of these handy booklets to write down your hotspots. Or do you have a lot of good intentions for next year, don’t hesitate to write them down in one of the Volkswagen cahiers. If your not such a person for words, some of these notebooks are ideal for sketching. With pages of 115 gr/m2 you can use a marker or fineliner without making a mess.

Check out for the details and the models.



The grain of paper

27 oktober 2014

After years of bookbinding, often I am still confused by the grain of paper. Today I was at war with my paper again while making business cards. I have this beautiful flyleaf paper, white with a linen finishing, very cool paper, but much to thin for business cards. So I decided to glue this paper on both sides of a sheet of 250 grams A4. To prevent this new formed thick sheet from warping, the grains had to match … so thinking, folding, doubting and to be sure … reading … So this is a refreshment for me … maybe it is convenient for you as well …

The grain of the paper is important for

  • The final fold of your booklet. You want the page to curl from side to side, so you can easily turn the pages and the book opens flat.
  • Prevention of warping. You don’t want your booklet to end up with warped covers.
  • Creating crisp, even folds and prevent cracking.
It is always easy to work with handmade paper. The pulp is allowed to settle randomly, so the fibers are multi-directional. Unfortunately you often don’t have the luxury to work with this kind of paper, so you have to determine the grain of the mass-produced paper. In the mechanical process, the water flows across the surface in one direction, so the fibers get their grain.
Ideally the grain of the paper and the boards of the side-covers always run parallel with the spine of the book. Keith Smith has a very simple example to clarify the direction of grain; a sushi mat. The direction of the wooden sticks represents the direction of the grain in paper or book board. Just as the mat rolls easily in one direction, so does paper. As a true sushi lover I certainly will remember this one 🙂
Unfortunately you need some more info to determine the grain direction. Grain runs parallel with the direction of the paper in which there is less resistance to folding. If you can’t determine the resistance by folding you can dampen a little piece of paper. It will curl immediately, the axis of the curl is parallel with the grain. The curl shows the direction the paper should be folded.

To prevent warping it is important that the grain of the flyleaf and the book board are identical. Book board is easy to test. Just bend a full sheet, the board will flex more easily in the direction that is parallel with the grain. Since it is very difficult to determine the grain for small parts of cardboard, make sure you put lines on the big sheet, so you can always see the grain at the small parts later on.

Besides paper and cardboard, book cloth also has a grain. This grain is typically parallel to the selvage or outer edge of the cloth. This is often very confusing, because when you buy book cloth it is typically rolled cross-grain. So be careful with that one!
One basic rule you can always remember is that the grain usually runs parallel to the long side of the sheet … although not always … so remain wary 🙂
More tricks & tips are always welcome, so please don’t hesitate to make a comment!

Watch Case

13 oktober 2014

As a bookbinder your basic materials are cardboard, bookbinders linen and glue … perfect ingredients for other projects, such as a watch case.

Commissioned by Fitzory & Everest, Prien remodeled an antique English briefcase into a luxurious watch case. The leather suitcase forms the perfect basis for the suede framework and cushions. Since the suitcase was pretty lopsided every side had to be measured and glued separately. A challeging job, done in several days last summer.

It is nice to have such different assignments. Figuring out the best way to fulfill the project, thinking, drawing and discussing the possibilities with your client, that’s what makes my job the best of the world!

Watch Case by Prien

Prien Personalized Family History

29 september 2014

At the Utrechtse Fabriek, an outside market in the Griftpark in Utrecht, I met someone who wrote down his family history and was looking for a method to print and bind his story. We had a nice conversation about your own history and its imagery. The changes in the world per generation are enormous. When you were born at the beginning of the 20th century you were the lucky one to witness the change from a barely industrialized world to the computerized world of today. Can you imagine your house without a fridge, a vacuum cleaner … or computer …

My client described the impact of those world changing inventions for his family, intertwined with personal events. Interesting to read, and supported with pictures that give a good image of the era.
The text had been written in Word, without taking the bind method into account. In InDesign I edited this text and images to printable sections.

The sections were sewn and bound in a multi-section case binding, so the booklet is strong and durable. This binding method has the advantage of lying flat when opened. The sewn signatures were bound in a hard covered board-bases case. The simple linen structured endpapers attach the book block to the case.

The client designed the cover and I just printed it and laminated the paper with a mat soft finishing. This extra layer protects the cover from stains and minor damage.

Working in close cooperation with your client is one of the things I like most in my work, especially when you receive a very nice message afterwards! My client was really happy with the result, and is already working on his next booklet. I am looking forward to a new cooperation!

Looking for a special way to save your text or photo’s, don’t hesitate to contact me!

Prien Boekje Familiegeschiedenis


 Prien Boekje Familiegeschiedenis



 Prien bokje familiegeschiedenis



Fine Binding

28 juli 2014

France France France … here I come … even twice this week 🙂 Lille is on my agenda for Tuesday and Paris for the weekend … could be worse 🙂 So with France in my head, today a binding method called Franse Binding (French Binding) in Dutch. The exact English verb is not easy to find, perhaps Fine Binding – if someone can help me with it …..?

Binding method
The Fine Binding method has been in use since the 18th century. For bookbinders this is one of the most beautiful ways to create a book. You can recognize this method by the spine cover, which is not attached to the spine and the visible lack of the board edge. If there are raised bands, they are most of the time false, the headband, on the other hand, is always hand embroidered, so not false at all.
The advantage of the unattached spine cover is that the precious decoration of the spine – usually gold leaf – is protected, because the spine cover doesn’t move when one opens the book and therefore it will keep its shape.

In practise
A lot of bookbinding skills are required to make a beautiful correct Fine Binding. Somewhere at the internet I read that an experienced bookbinder works for at least twelve hours at this binding. The steps in making such a book are:
– folding the sections and endpapers
– glue, trim, round, abpress and glue the book block
– creating the covers
– board lacing
– embroider headband
– prepare the cover material
– tie up for the fake raised bands
– apply flush joint
As you can see making such a book is a lot of work and therefore almost priceless. Since we don’t have the habit of using gold leaf at the covers and spines of our books, one of the biggest advantages of the Fine Binding became superfluous. Of course it is fun to maintain the craft is this bookbinding method, so I made one … once .. but learned a lot of it and I can use some of the tricks a learned for other books or possible new ways to bind books …

Prien Franse Binding
Prien Franse Binding