Ex Libris: Handmade Bookplates

As you all know, I love books. I love books so much that when I get birthday and Christmas money, I don't blow it on shoes or clothes. I blow it on books. And ever since I discovered Thriftbooks, I've been able to buy even more books. I have so many volumes that I've run out of shelf space. The poor tomes are sitting stacked on my floor, waiting to find a home in some obscure shelf or crevice in my bedroom.

Because I love my books, I also like to lend them to my friends, so they can love them too. The problem is that sometimes books don't get returned. Then, they sit in your friend's house for so long, they begin to think it's theirs. This hasn't ever happened, but it's a constant fear.

To alleviate this fear, I sometimes put bookplates in my most loved books. By most loved, I mean books I won't be selling to the second hand book store--books that I know I will have for the rest of my life--like Les Miserables, or The Count of Monte Cristo.

Recently, I pulled out my linoleum carving supplies, and started working a 2"x3" block I bought specifically for the purpose of making bookplates.

I started with a sketch.

Then, transferred it to my block. If I made mistakes, I just used a plain old eraser stick. Any eraser will do.

Then, I carved the excess linoleum away. If you accidentally cut something that should not have been cut, don't panic or swear under your breath. Just try to glue it back with Elmer's Glue and leave it to dry for a couple hours. I accidentally cut off one of the dots on top of the "i", but glue did the trick.

Finally, print them! I used 70 GSM Kozo paper, and deckled the edges myself. I think next time, I might use card stock though.

Hope you enjoyed this. Thanks for stopping by!


  1. That looks so great, I love it! I've been wanting to make some bookplates myself [I am also an avid book lover :)] but I wasn't sure how to best go about doing it. What kind of ink did you use? I was worried that the ink might smear/leave traces on the opposite page or fade over time. Also, what adhesive did you use to stick it in your books?

    Great tutorial! You are very talented :)

    1. I used Speedball Waterbased Block Printing Ink. It's about $7 per tube on DickBlick's. It dries nice and satiny, so I'm pretty positive it won't smear (I'm very careful with my books too). And, I just use an acid free glue stick, or scrapbooking adhesives. Nothing fancy. I don't use liquid glue because I'm scared of ruining my books (I'm a protective parent, LOL).

      And, thanks! :O)

  2. Oh, I love it. I used make lino ex libris stamps like this in art class when I was teenager! :) And couple of weeks ago we designed one with my daughter... but we still haven't actually make it. I was thinking to send it to one of the stamp making companies... but now I'm thinking maybe I should make it myself like in old times, thanks for reminding me!

    1. You should make them! That would be so special for your daughter. :)

      Glad to have been of inspiration.


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