custom bookbinding - handcrafted - blank book - journal - wedding - bound email - guest book - scrapbook - photo album - diary - anniversary - clamshell box - book of shadows - fan fiction - rebinding

Tedra Ashley-Wannemuehler, bookbinder

website banner 3 fineblankbooks


More information on the books pictured above can be found in the following galleries (clockwise from left):

Impala and motel sign (daytime) - gallery - intricate

Album with crab - gallery - intricate

Impala with motel (nighttime) - gallery - pop culture

Chevy Cheyenne - gallery - baby

3/4 binding sunflower with copper accent  - gallery - engagement


your idea + my craftsmanship = a one-of-a-kind heirloom

Collaborating with you to create the book you are imagining.


Hand Sewing

Most of the custom books I make are hand sewn in folded sections called "signatures".  This allows a book to lay open all the way to the center of the page.  Photo albums are not sewn.  They are assembled using a gluing process and archival glue. Photo album pages also lay open to the center of the page.  If you ask me to bind single, printed pages, they will be oversewn on an oversewing machine which is a very durable form of sewing.





The paper chosen for the book pages is carefully selected.  Lined or unlined, it is acid-free. Special attention is paid to the paper weight and paper grain to ensure that the resulting book functions as smoothly as possible.  Lined paper is only available in two sizes.





Most covers are made with leather over binder's board.  I might recommend pigskin, cow hide, or goat skin depending on the cover design and the desired effect.





All adhesives used are archival PVA (poly vinyl acetate).  Some book covers that are covered in cloth-based cover materials utilize animal glue for gluing the cover materials to the boards.




Foil Stamping

Some covers you'll see on this site were decorated using hot foil stamping. Foil stamping or lettering cannot be added to the cover or spine of a book once it is finished.  I have limited font choice in the old-fashioned moveable metal type that I use for cover lettering.  If you want something specific (foil-stamped lettering or decoration), a metal die may be required to achieve the desired result.  We can discuss this when you contact me about your order.




International Orders

I am happy to ship to international customers who are able to pay in American dollars using PayPal only.  I must declare the full value of the package when I ship overseas.  It is illegal to do otherwise.  I always insure overseas shipments when insurance is available.  I am not responsible for any customs fees, tariffs, or taxes levied by a foreign country into which I'm shipping a book.  Those are the responsibility of the customer. International shipping is costly, though FedEx does offer "Ground" service from the U.S. to Canada.





I like to use FedEx Ground inside the United States and Priority Mail International for overseas shipping.  I don't know the exact shipping cost until I have your shipping address and can weigh the finished book in its shipping box.  Listed prices on already-finished books do not include shipping.











To get your order started, contact me:



I love making books that someone will think are worth saving 100 years from now.


One-of-a-kind, each crafted entirely by me, by hand.


I specialize in intricate, 3-dimesional, multi-colored leather cover designs, but am also happy to make more traditional or more straightforward bindings.


Though my business name is "fineblankbooks", I bind more than blank books.


I have 25 years of full-time bookbinding experience that I'll apply to your project. I've worked on:


Blank books



Travel diaries

Guest books

New bindings for your unbound pages

New covers for your favorite book

Custom boxes for existing books

Custom bindings for self-published books

Fan fiction binding


Self-published cookbooks


Books to hide engagement rings for proposals


Please click on the links above to see example of previous work in the galleries, then contact me to discuss the details of your order.



Every detail affects the price and I can't give you a quote for YOUR order until we discuss the specifics.



What you are paying for when buying a book like this is the time and care involved in the design and assembly.  The more complicated the construction, the more expensive the book.  These are REAL books that are made to last.


I have a limited number of already-finished books for sale.  These books cannot be personalized, but are 100% finished and ready to ship.  Click on the link for "finished books for sale" to see everything that is currently available.

I'm located in east-central Illinois.

I ship worldwide.


Most projects start around $100 (wish a few exceptions for lower prices on cloth-covered hardcover books) and go as high as $1,000 depending on the complexity of the design.



homepage foo dog book


Intricate book with foo dog theme.

This book can be found in the "intricate" gallery.




homepage tree of life large


Intricate, large, raised Tree of Life book.

This book can be found in the "intricate" gallery



homepage camper large


Retro camper with raised/inset leather.

More on this book can be found in the "intricate" gallery.



homepage license plate large


Goatskin leather raised license plate book.

This book can be found in the "anniversary" gallery.




homepage lu large


Skeleton dog/wolf shadow.

More on this book can be found in the "intricate" gallery.




homepage green myst journal large


3/4 bound journal with hand-forged copper accent.

More on this book can be found in the "intricate" gallery.





The latest projects from fineblankbooks can be found on Instagram.




You can follow fine blank books on Twitter if you are a fan of infrequent Twitter postings.




Visit fine blank books on Facebook for hundreds of additional, often larger, photos of past custom projects as well as photos of new work.  

(go to the "album" section)




fine blank books logo


Items with the logo are available from Cafe Press.

These items are priced at cost.  I appreciate the free advertising!





I look forward to hearing from you.



me with hammer


Journals and Guest Books

Constructed to be long-lasting and easy to use, custom ordered journals and guest books are sewn by hand so that they lay open flat.  You, the customer, choose the page size, the number of pages, and the cover design.  I'm here to work with your to bring your ideas to life.  Any of the gallery links at the top of this page can take you through examples of books that others have asked me to create for them in the past.




Photo Albums and Scrapbooks

For these, I use heavy, archival paper for the pages and add spacers to the spine to allow for the thickness of items that will be attached to the pages by you.  I include archival, clear, self-stick photo corners or double-sided archival adhesive squares with each order for attaching items to the pages.




Custom Orders

These make up the majority of my work. The cost and turnaround time depend on how complicated the project is, and, sometimes, on what time of year it is (think "Christmas rush").  Every detail affects the price, therefore, you need to email me so we can work out your order details.




Payment Policy

On custom orders, once we have all of the details worked out and I've given you a firm price, I will send you a PayPal invoice for half the cost of the order (excluding shipping).  I will start working on your order when I receive your payment. When the book is done, I will email you photos of the finished book, followed by a final PayPal invoice for the balance due plus shipping.  When I recieve your final payment, I'll ship out your order and email you the tracking number on the package.





Returns are accepted on already-finished books only as long as they are in brand new condition when you ship them back to me. There are no returns on custom orders.




How to Purchase a Book and Illinois Sales Tax

You must email me to purchase a book from my "finished books for sale" pages on this site.  If I am shipping your book inside the state of Illinois, I will be adding 9% Illinois sales tax to the cost of your order.




If You are Looking for Someone to do a Small Quantity of Hardcover Binding

Look up the Lincoln Bookbindery in Urbana, Illinois for cloth hardcover binding in quantities from 1-100.




Other Important Information

I do not repair old books.

I cannot put a name or lettering on a book that you already own.  I can only do that with books I make.













Happy New Year to you.  I’m honored that my book made your photo collage (not that I can take credit for your work!).  I have begun to fill its pages with thoughts that will, I hope, be of enduring interest, at least enough to merit such a fine vehicle.  I continue to enjoy the design and quality of it every time I get it out.  I am really glad too that I spent the money required to get what I really wanted, including the box.  And the cover symbolism has, if anything, grown more important over time, as I have come to appreciate the depth of the insights it represents.  Thanks again for you work!  It would never have come about without your distinctive influence and skill.





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