The foundation of every handmade book is its bookbinders’ boards—those essential front and back covers that protect a book’s pages. The first hardcover books had vellum pages and covers made from wood, but after the adoption of paper and the invention of the printing press, it became standard to use pasteboard (an early cardboard) for covers. We’ve come quite a way since then. Today, if you’re creating your own book covers, not just any cardboard will do; the boards need to support paper, fabric, bookcloth, and whatever media you apply without warping, bending, or deteriorating. For serious bookmakers and artists, it is imperative that the boards be acid free, stable, and versatile; for beginners and educators, boards need to be easy to work with above all else. Below are our picks of the best binders’ boards for variety of project needs.
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