Common Made Endpaper

When using decorative paper, one must use a made endpaper either because the reverse side of the decorative paper is messy, such as a hand marbled paper, or it is thin and potentially weak.  For instance, the handmade Nepalese paper I used in The Barbers’ Book of Recipes was very strong, being made of a long fibre, but was rather thin and floppy.  This weakness was fine once it was backed as a made endpaper for the first flyleaf.  One other problem I had with this paper was due to its handmade nature which resulted in the stretch being in both directions.  I have since noted that this issue with handmade papers is observed by Johnson (2) and I will try and avoid them in the future for decorative endpapers.


Each endpaper will require the following.

  • 1 coloured or decorated paper, which when folded is larger than the text block, for the board paper and first flyleaf.
  • 2 plain papers, which when folded are larger than the text block, for the flyleaves and waste paper.


  • Fold the paper that will be the paste down and recto of the first endpaper.  This will be called the decorated paper.  The good or decorated side will face into the fold.
  • Fold two folios of paper that closely, or exactly, match the text block.
  • It is assumed the resulting folded folios are the size of, or slightly larger, than the text block and that the paper grain runs head tail.
  • Using a 50/50 paste PVA mix, paste one of the plain papers entirely and attach to the decorated paper by pitching them fold to fold.  Carefully rub down under rubbing paper ensuring no creases in the pasted papers.  Place a blotting paper against the pasted papers and a moisture barrier between the blotter and outer papers.  Place between pressing boards and place in the press.
  • Always paste the plain paper.  This will result in this page pulling in some and the first thicker endpaper hugging the text block.  When pitching the white to the marbled paper, put the glued white on the bench and pitch the marbled to it, which is much easier to hold and position.
  • Repeat for the second endpaper.  Place in the press too with a pressing board between each and leave both overnight.
  • Remove from the press and inspect mistakes.
  • Fold the second plain sheet and tip (with PVA/EVA) fold to fold to the plain paper side of the previously prepared endpapers.  Rub down and give a short nip in the press.
  • Remove from the press and fold around the outermost plain paper, which now becomes the waste sheet.
  • Pierce sewing holes at appropriate locations (transfer locations by marking them on a waste piece of paper) a fraction in from the fold inside the made paper and first plain fly leaf.  Care is to be taken to not perforate the fold of the decorated paper.
  • When sewing to the text block a very small amount of slack should be provided to allow the end paper to sit flush at the spine.  This being due to the sewing holes being slightly inside the spine fold.

One last comment of using decorative paper.  Traditionally when using marbled paper with a combed pattern, the pattern should always go head to tail.  That is when created the comb would have been pulled from head to tail.