Distressing boards is shown on page 216 of Making Handmade Books: 100+ Bindings, Structures & Forms. Coptic with a Curved Needle is on pages 174-176. We used a Fiskars Manual Rotary Craft Hand Drill for the holes. Much easier than an awl for this particular use. It would probably look nice to paint the boards again around the drilled holes. Waxed linen thread from the Caning Shop is terrific for this application, where the spine sewing is exposed. You can also use different colored paper for each signature to change the look of the spine as well.
Runes with green and brown acrylic paints, runes highlighted in silver gel pen.
Notched edges and runes with acrylic paints and gel pen highlighting the stamped runes.
Blue acrylic paint and white gesso over boards with a rune and some notches at the edges.
Green and blue acrylic paints with reddish edging.
A lively mix of pinks, built-up gel medium, and white gesso with lettering added in silver gel pen.
Gold paint covering lightly distressed letters and marks.
A thick layer of acrylic paint that was textured and felt like leather after it dried.
Lots of deep blues over paper layers adhered with gel medium.
A dark layer was put down first with gold brushed over it.
Layers were carved into the board and stripped out before painting with purple and blue acrylic paints.
Many different approaches!
I had fun. I hope they did, too.