top of page




Whether you use specialist tools and materials, or raid the recycling, my aim is to provide you with the skills needed to make a beautiful, functional book by hand, and of knowing why and how it works. 

If you’d like to learn how to make your own books from scratch, or create beautiful gifts for others, without leaving your home, these workshops are for you. These workshops are designed for complete beginners.


"It’s a kind of magic that happens, just like a story unfolding"  Alka, online participant.





I can deliver workshops remotely or face to face.

To ensure 1:1 tuition where needed, group size is limited to 8.

workshops can be booked individually, or in blocks at a discount.
If you have any questions, or want to book, please contact me.

Group bookings welcome.

Booking is essential.






These online workshops began at the beginning of Lockdown 2020 as a way of getting together and passing time creatively. Depending on location and situation, it wasn't always easy for everyone to access conventional bookbinding tools and materials, so I designed projects that could be made with recycled packaging, tools and materials from around the house, or easily sourced for minimum spend.

I've been running bookbinding and creative arts workshops for over 20 years in the real world and continue to run regular masterclasses for The British Library. I specialise in accessible learning through making, Shelagh McCarthy.

lost letters.jpg bookbinder workshops
lost letters.jpg


  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Instagram


T 07970 007 964

Testimonials from participants


2021 Jane B

“Shelagh has been an inspiring tutor throughout the course, by encouraging the group to develop their own work using the theory she has imparted to us.”


2021 Carol MP

“Shelagh is a great teacher. She puts everyone at ease and remains calm. She is able to pickup people’s strengths and weaknesses quickly and will help those needing more help Hers workshops are extremely well planned and I would recommend them to anyone.” 


2021 Anne P 

“I cannot fault these bookbinding classes.  Using  many resources that could be found in the home (a lot of the classes were held in lockdown) they are fully inclusive for all levels of learners and great fun. Shelagh could not have been more encouraging, her knowledge of bookbinding in all its forms shines through and with her clear instructions, advice and practical suggestions I was able to produce books to be proud of.”

2021 Anji R: 

“I cannot express my gratitude enough for the chance to join in shelagh's course. Having had no experience whatsoever in bookbinding I found myself looking at the books in my house with completely new eyes and appreciation.  Lockdown had a few hours a week of joyous immersion into a subject I had really never considered.  We all easily found things in our own homes that we already had to be able to participate and any reservations I had about not being 'arty' enough were quickly forgotten. I have produced  items I am really proud of and would never have believed I could achieve and all with constant patience and her obvious joy in the subject I couldn't help but soak it up. Thank you Shelagh. Sorry, bit long but got carried away in my memory of it 😳 “

2021 Alka W

“The bookbinding workshops were delivered by Shelagh with such clarity, creativity and consistency during the lockdown. 

As a complete beginner I have been guided by Shelagh in how paper works, how it folds to create strength, and about different book forms from around the world. Her vast wealth of knowledge is shared generously and she is able to gauge diversity and different skill levels which means even in a class of eight or so you feel you are receiving an individual experience. It’s a kind of magic that happens, just like a story unfolding, when the workshop instructions are sent.  A list of seemingly ordinary everyday items, easily sourced around the home, are transformed into something to treasure and keep or give as gifts. I’m so grateful to have to have been able to attend the classes and learn about this ancient art form delivered with such sensitive creativity. In addition,  I’ve also picked up printing techniques from the workshops, so in effect I now have some skills to make a complete beautiful book from scratch. “

2021 Carol S

“Shelagh, I wholeheartedly agree with everyone’s comments! It’s a joy to take part in the classes so expertly led by you."


2021 Sharon G

"Shelaghs patience is unlimited like her depth of knowledge and understanding of her craft."


2020 Will D

“An alumnus! I just wanted to drop you a quick line to re-introduce myself – I attended one of your courses at the BL a couple of years ago, where I had a wonderful weekend learning to bind books by hand. I've just launched an independent publishing house of my own, and am making hand-bound editions (which has been a wonderful distraction during lockdown!) of some of the forthcoming titles. There's no need to reply at all, but I just wanted to drop you a line to thank you again for the course – it's made such a difference to my world!"

bottom of page