Making A Clamshell Box

This week I used all the new corner clamps I got from iBookbinding to build a box I designed to hold them. It was an excuse to try them out.

The image above shows the corner clamps being used while gluing on the ends of the bottom box. They were easier to use —less fussy— than I expected, and the little peephole at the corner gives a perfect view of the ends of the boards so you can check the alignment.

I had started by attaching the divider to the two sides. For that join I tried out the magnetic corner clamps. They worked perfectly, keeping everything square.

When I made the lid section I tested the two heavy duty three-sided corner clamps. Squaring an open-sided clamshell lid was never easier!

The magnets in these hold even through two thicknesses of my heaviest Davey board, though I didn’t actually glue anything with doubled board.

I decided to cover the inner parts of my clamshell with the leftovers of a map I had cut up for another project. As you can see, I had to use a lot of small bits, working around the sections I had previously removed.

I covered the outer layer in denim book cloth. I backed the lightweight denim some time ago, and it has been sitting in a cupboard ever since. (If you would like to make your own book cloth, there are instructions in this post.)

Here’s the finished box with all my iBookbinding bits in it.

If you would like to learn to make a clamshell box, you could do it the same way I did. I learned from instructions —with pictures of every step— from the online edition of the Indiana University Libraries Book Repair Manual. I don’t have a lovely measuring gauge like theirs, but a ruler worked well enough.

You might also be interested in this post by Sarah Bryant of Big Jump Press, who occasionally teaches box making. It doesn’t give instructions, but does show some details of her refinements in cutting the covering to fit the box.


I also began work on my response to this month’s #areyoubookenough challenge theme, Expectations. I’ve chosen Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations as my starting point.

Apparently some other people have the same idea, so there is now a sub-challenge of people working with the Dickens novel as their focus!

In other book arts news:

In case you missed the news, there is now an index for The Public Domain Review.

You can find the index here.


Letterform Archive is presenting a lecture by letterpress printer Dafi Kühne. You can find out more here. If the timing or the cost don’t work for you, Kühne’s website provides an opportunity to view his finished posters.


If you are fascinated by maps you might want to read Steven Heller’s piece Maps, Globes, Inspirations, Aspirations, Demarcations and Migrations.

In other news:

They’re back. We have seen both moose several times in the past few days. The big one is definitely male, and definitely huge. They have been pruning our woods.

About Byopia Press

I have been working in the book arts field for more than thirty years, and operating Byopia Press with my husband David since the late 1990s. I began producing artist's books and altered books in 2004. I also create prints and drawings that are frequently text-inspired or text-based.
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4 Responses to Making A Clamshell Box

  1. Clamshell boxes never looked better! Love how the denim and the maps look together. What tool do you have for cutting boards?


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