I was wondering if working bare hand when doing bookbinding could be detrimental for the paper, more specifically when binding a sketchbook or paper intended for watercolor painting or calligraphy.

Those papers are specifically acid free to preserve the pigments. I am wondering if touching, folding and or pressing it with bare hands will not make it more acidic or will leave some residue preventing the good adhesion of color to it? Has anyone experience with this?

  • Could you add a link in order to see the exact type of paper you are using?
    – Ken Graham
    Aug 20, 2016 at 13:04
  • Well I am not using any special paper. It is more a general question o. Bookbinding process. On a current project I am using Carson Montval Aquarell, cold pressed 300g/m2 which could be used for binding a sketchbook for example.
    – Oneira
    Aug 20, 2016 at 17:19

1 Answer 1


I used to do bookbinding for several years and never had any problems with using bare hands. I only used latex gloves when repairing fragile books and/or paper.

If you are using new, clean and strong paper, I would not hesitate to recommend using bare hands in your bookbinding process. You should not experience any detrimental effects on the paper you use, I never did. I have better grip without gloves and thus more confidence in folding paper by hand. That said it would be prudent to keep your hands free of excessive perspiration and very clean, especially from dirt, ink and glue. Wash your hands as often as required and make sure your hands are definitely dry before recommencing your bookbinding.

Small hint: Do not slide your hands over any ink because it could smear. If you need to make a very crisp fold, I would suggest using a sheet of clear plastic to slide your hands over inked areas. Slide your hands over the plastic and not the ink marked spots.

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