Picture of How to bind your own Hardback Book
The art of book binding is an ancient craft, but actually it is not very difficult to do and with almost no practice you can get really awesome results. If you are on the lookout for fun craft projects or quick ways of making nice presents and gifts, then this could be the project for you.

I know that there are other Instructables on the art of book binding but this project is meant to be a simple quick project that will give a very acceptable finish, and a book that looks like it has been professionally made, yet without the need for any special equipment.

All you will need is:

Some paper
Minimum really is about 32 A4 or US Letter sized sheets, to make a half A4 (half US Letter sized book), although smaller books can be made as can ones with more pages. You can use tracing paper, thick or thin paper and of course colored or even preprinted or written on paper.

Some glue
You will need PVA (Elmer's White glue) or a rubber fabric adhesive (in the UK that is called Copydex, perhaps someone could tell me what it's called in the US), (a glue gun if you have it, would help with one of the stages, but is not mandatory).

Some stiff cardboard or corrugated (fluted) cardboard

Some fabric or leather
Any old stuff will do for the cover. I have used the fabric from some old pairs of trousers that were being thrown out (actually nothing gets thrown out in my house, just put to one side for later use). But you could use a bit of leather, some old curtains, cushion covers...etc etc, I'm sure you get the idea.
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JDRocker28 days ago
What exactly is the stiff card that you're using for the cover because I haven't been able to find the right material for it. I've looked everywhere.
KaptinScarlet (author)  JDRocker28 days ago
You are looking for mounting board. Any art shop should be able to supply it, or even a picture framing shop might be able to let you have some. I used the stiff board that was a backing for a sketch pad
JDRocker29 days ago
It's called rubber cement in the US. You can get it from any craft store anywhere in almost any size you want. I even have a travel size one for my desk.
AnaMedel made it!1 month ago
Amazing! Thank you so much for this! :D
Laura W1 month ago

Lovely instructable!

AdamC19 made it!2 months ago
Finished my first book this evening! Thanks for the tutorial!
AdamC192 months ago
Just printed out my signatures for 96 page book. Fingers crossed it comes out alright! Thanks for the tutorial. It's one of the best I've found for creating a hardcover book!
KaptinScarlet (author)  AdamC192 months ago
Nice and thanks for the kind words. Hope it all goes well!
AileenM6 months ago

hi, ok so i'd like to make already printed on paper into a book for my friend, but i'm not sure how to make it so the pages are in order so if you could tell me any way to do that i'd greatly appreciate it :)

vreason09 AileenM5 months ago

I took a bookmaking class a few years ago and we made a "rough draft"--a miniature version with all of the folios simulated in small, unbound paper. Then you can number the draft pages and unfold them to see what order they go in.

This is a great question. I won't have this problem since I will be doing a poetry book and it's one per page. I have a few long poems but it's not very aesthetically pleasing to split them up so they will go on pages 8-9 where I know the center fold is :) this won't help with stories though. I think you can use Microsoft publisher for your purposes. It does bifold printing I'm sure it goes to 8 pages. Not sure! I used to print church programs and the easter one is long. Publisher I would say!
Thanks so much!
DineshR2 AileenM6 months ago

Or you could put together loose sheets into a perfect bound book.

KaptinScarlet (author)  dezi.christensen6 months ago
Microsoft Word has a function that lets you paginate properly for binding. I described it further up in the comments, so have a quick trawl back through them and I'm sure you'll find it.
AwesomeBeing5 months ago
I want to be the cover to be something that I've drawn. Is there any kind of special paper or something that anyone would recommend for this?
enomlap6 months ago
nice notebook!
BOB-IRAQ7 months ago
Atsuki8 months ago

About the spine-cover distance, how big of one should there be?

thanks for all the info! so here's my question. Do you think it would work to simply glue 24 sheets of 300 lb paper along one edge and then follow your instructions for covers, binder, etc.? I have 24 small paintings (already done) that I would like to make into a book. Thanks!

It would work, yes, but the finished book would be more fragile than the book produced by following the instructions here. When you bound each folio with staples as shown here, you're basically ensuring that no single page can fall out unless the entire folio falls out--and since the folded edge of the folio is quite wide, there's more surface area for the glue to adhere to. But the folio folding and stapling is just to reinforce the finished product. You certainly can bind single sheets. Just make sure the edges are lined up well (clamp them) when you apply the spine.

faint5 years ago
Can you use something other than fabric/leather for the cover? Like wrapping paper or wallpaper or is it best just to use fabric?
Riversegel faint8 months ago


KaptinScarlet (author)  faint5 years ago
I think you can use anything because the body of the book is held to the cover by the fabric glued from the spine to the hard covers. Wall paper is a great idea, but make sure you wet it out  with water and even watered down white glue becuase it can be quite stiff / thick. You could even use embossed paper then if you sprayed the cover and treated it with gold rubbing paste it could look a bit like this: http://www.dadcando.com/default_MAKING.asp?project=SecretBoxBook&catagory=TheDragonry&lhs=TheDragonry which is another project of mine on dadcando.
hey kapitan scarlet im kinda new so mabey you could give me some pointers on making instructables cuz urs look AWESOME! i was also wondering like faint said but could you use tacky paper??? that is readily availible to me but I dont know if it will work.
KaptinScarlet (author)  Boppylop3 years ago
This is how I make my instructables: I use a vector drawing package and I explain the process here: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-illustrate-your-own-Instructable/

It's not difficult, but it does take time.

I don't think you could use tacky paper, but you could try perfect binding if you don't want to fold the pages. Perfect binding is when you get all the paper together in a neat stack and then glue one edge of it. This is how nearly all novels are bound when they are in paperback form.
Thanks Kapitan! I have a friend that's really into mideival stuff, so I'm gonna make one of these for him using red felt for the cover, and "inlay" it with "jewls" (aka flat marbles) and some silky material for a strap that keeps it from coming open by acident. Might not be done anytime soon, though. I'm working on something big for school.
Whales faint5 years ago
 WEll i guess thats why you can experiment and tll us! but i guess if it wasnt just amazingly thin you could work it. If nothing else tape the wrappingpaper to another sheet of paper. then glue it on.
Riversegel8 months ago

To answer the Irish boy just divide the measurements

RooT39 months ago

Brilliantly explained and humorous!

Is there a way to make this book but smaller?

Use pages of appropriate size. No other way I see.

Yes! It's pretty simple. What I've done is taken regular printer paper, and then I cut in in half. I then used those halves to make the folios of my book. Basically, reduce the overall size of the paper that you're using. I hope that's not too complicated/hard to understand (I'm bad at explaining things) :)

Technically, there is 126 use-able pages since the first one and the last one will be glued to the lining paper. (Sorry I'm a bit of a Math Nazi)


I hope this works out. I have an excel program that I based on 10 sheets. first signature is 39 pages and the rest are 40.

For printing from Word I set up my margins to mirrored. Landscape orientation. 8 1/2 X 14 (legal) page size.

From the print page, I have the page setup for two pages per sheet. print one side. Then I choose the custom range. print page 39 first, than going my the list select 38,1 for odd pages first. then 2,37 for the even page.

By doing the pages that way for printing it keeps them aligned correctly.

kadit2 years ago
This is a fabulous resource! For those of you who would like to do a printed book, here's the line up for the first 8 page folio. I did this mathmatically, so theoretically the other 3 folios should line up the same way but I'll online the first:
I designated each of the 8 pages A-H and number each side before folding 1-4 in the upper corner of the page (1&2 on first side, 3&4 on backside). Then folded, the order came out as predicted so I think this works:
A2, A3, B2, B3, C2, C3, D2, D3, E2, E3, F2, F3, G2, G3, H2, H3, H4, H1, G4, G1, F4, F1, E4, E1, D4, D1, C4, C1, B4, B1, A4, A1

I've been unsuccessful locating any templates out there so far, so my plan is to set things up in landscape (2 columns) with margins enough to accomodate the spine and trimming and save the blank file as a template. Write the book (I'm writing down childhood memories for my sister for christmas) and make sure I don't go over the allotted pages including a title page and forward. Then copy the pages individually in the above order leaving a blank spot at the bottom for page numbers (remember even letters the page number should be on the right and odd numbered letters on the left).

Then print it all out front and back. It's a lot of work, so if anyone has an easier method, please let me know!!
Tdner kadit1 year ago

I use this software to do it. Very quick n efficient :)


emily_c1 year ago

I made this for a journal during winter break and absolutely love it! It was so easy to follow the steps and all of the materials were easy to find. Great instructable!

kaaroz1 year ago
I love this! We r gonna have some of our friends come over and do it as a group project! Thanks for sharing!
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