Book Decoration: Gold & Blind Tooling

Gold tooling, with individual handle tools, is the centuries-old way of titling & decorating a book. Each tool is like a brass stamp in a wooden handle, which is heated up on a stove and impressed in leather or cloth, then either left blind or filled with gold leaf or coloured foils.

We will work with a variety of tools including handle letters, hand tools with floral & geometric designs, pallets (straight lines), gouges (curved lines), fillets (lines on a wheel), & decorative rolls (wheels with floral & geometric designs). Good results can be tricky to achieve but it’s magical when it works out well.

Course Content

Students will be given leather & cloth sample panels to work on. We will look at how to lay out the designs, treatments to the leather to accept the adhesive and gold, and methods of correcting mistakes. Images of example bindings will be shown for ideas and historical reference.

You can apply the techniques to any flat leather, faux leather, paper, and cloth, such as books, portfolios, folders, wallets, bags, leather phone cases, etc.—feel free to bring any of these items you might want to experiment on!

We will divide the day into several parts, each focusing on gold leaf, gold foil, and blind tooling, and for each component you will learn the principles through demonstration then have time to explore the possibilities for yourself.

Entry Requirements

Open to all including beginners
You need good eyesight and a steady hand to get good results.

First Class Requirements


Additional Information

• If you require further course information or advice & guidance that is not answered in this outline, please email

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