Local Artist Lauren Manninen

Lauren is an artist who has worked with many students in the Cedar Rapids School District through the Eastern Iowa Arts Academy After School Enrichment Program and at the Music and Arts Studios. She received her bachelor’s degree in painting from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and studied abroad at the Osaka University of Art.

Class 1

One of Lauren's favorite subjects to teach is bookbinding. In this class you will learn how to create a sketchbook or journal. This is a great book to use for one of the Art Journaling Prompts; Lost Language Lexicon, or as a place to keep your creative writing from the Name Poem. You can make them in different dimensions and use a variety of paper, even brown paper grocery bags! Experiment and have fun! 


  • 1 sheet of card stock or heavier paper (Letter size)
  • Several sheets of regular printer paper (Letter size)
  • Length of string or yarn (About 20 inches)
  • A needle, hole punch or awl
  • Clothespins or binder clips
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Ruler



  1. First fold your cover sheet and inside pages in half. Be very mindful all the corners line up, then press the fold down with a bone folder or plastic card so it lays very flat.
  2. Stack the inside pages (also known as a signature) on top of your cover page and secure them together with a clip or clothespin.
  3. Using your ruler mark dots on the spine 1 inch from the bottom and top of your book, as well as one in the middle.
  4.  Using a needle or awl, carefully poke holes through the dots you marked. Be sure the openings will be large enough for your string to pass through.
  5. Trim your string so that it is 2.5x the length of the book’s spine, and wrap one end with tape. This will make it easier to string through the spine.
  6. Starting from the inside of the book, thread the string through the middle hole, leaving a 3 inch tail, then back along the spine through the top hole.
  7. Thread back through the middle hole again, then back along the spine through the bottom hole.
  8. Tie in a secure knot and trim the loose ends. Crease the spine one more time and you’re finished!

Think about what you want to put in your new book! How will you decorate the cover? Enjoy this great jumping off place!

Share your work and stay connected!

We are curious to see your project! Upload photos in the comment section below. If you have trouble, or want to share a short video, email us at info@eiaaprogram.org. Leave your school name in the comment box and we will share images with your school!

We want to stay connected to our creative students when we get back to the new normal. While you are here, learn more about the Eastern Iowa Arts Academy. While we don't have much taking place in real space/time during the pandemic, we will get back to our regular live and in-person classes. When we do, we'd love to have you as a member!

Loading Conversation