Deckle edge bookbinding produces rough and unfinished edges on pages. This technique was widely employed during the Middle Ages and Renaissance when books were often handcrafted; its name derives from the German word deckel, which translates as “little deck.” To create deckle edge bookbinding, a fragile wooden “deckle” piece is placed over paper and pressed against it for shaping to produce rough, unfinished edges.
Deckle edges were once considered an indication of quality during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, representing books made by hand instead of mass production. Today they still serve this function but often add rustic or vintage appeal.
Deckle edges can be created manually or using a deckle edge paper cutter – an electronic handheld device equipped with a sharp blade that uses friction to slice through the paper to form deckle edges. Deckle edge paper cutters are commonly available at craft stores.
Deckle edges are an integral component of books for multiple reasons:
- They add a polished and attractive appearance.
- They help protect its pages against wear and tear.
- They add characters and make each book individual.
Deckle edges may seem small yet essential in bookmaking but can outsize the final result.
Deckle edges bring an exquisite and luxurious aesthetic to books, elevating them beyond ordinary editions and providing visual interest; though not essential, those seeking an exceptional or elegant book might consider deckle edges a potential solution.