Life Skills

Cadette Book Artist Badge Activity


Survey a Book Collection

Explore the art of bookbinding as you survey a book collection. 

Activity Details

Time needed: 30–45 minutes

Materials needed:

  • A book collection (from your home, a library, a bookstore, or your school)
  • A phone, tablet, or computer with internet access 

For centuries, humans have been developing ways to create and bind paper to share ideas, knowledge, and inspiration with one another and with future generations. The craft of creating books has evolved over time, but the basic human need to share information has stayed the same. Today artists make book covers by recycling everything from bottle caps and cereal boxes to leather clothes and license plates. Dive into the art of bookbinding by surveying a book collection. 


Start by finding five different sizes and styles of books that you like at a library, at a bookstore, at your school, or in your own collection. Then take some time researching the binding and printing methods used to create each one. Books and websites about book arts will help you get familiar with the parts of a book. 

As you go, find definitions for these terms:

  • Spine
  • Joint
  • Board
  • Hinge
  • Digest size
  • Paper stock
  • Gutter
  • Folio
  • Endpaper
  • Jacket
  • Flap
  • Signature
  • Headbands
  • Gilt edge
  • Deckle edge
  • Chain stitch
  • Saddle stitch
  • Octavo
  • Case cover (cloth or three-piece)
  • Extent
  • Perfect binding
  • Coptic binding

Once you’ve finished your research, share one or two examples of books that you found particularly beautiful or interesting with your family or Girl Scout friends.

Troop Leaders:  The instructions for all badge steps are available free of charge in your  Girl Scout Volunteer Toolkit.

Girl Scouts at Home activities have been adapted from existing Girl Scout programming and optimized for use at home during a period of social distancing.


Adapted from Step 1 of the Cadette Book Artist badge. Purchase the Cadette It’s Your Planet Badge Activity Set to complete all the requirements and earn the badge.