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How to bind your own Hardback Book

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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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kaaroz1 month ago
I love this! We r gonna have some of our friends come over and do it as a group project! Thanks for sharing!
wedjlok made it!1 month ago

I had an old Catholic Bible that was originally a hardcover one, and I decided to make it a leather covered one instead. I sued a premium leather that I had since I already do leatherwork, and cut the corners so as to prevent any extra bulk and to make it lay easier. I also used some wood and big pieces of marble as weights, but am getting ready to make an actual screw press type bookbinding press now. Thanks for the great Instructable!

Bible 2.jpgBible 1.jpg
My friend thought I bought it
KaptinScarlet (author)  emilytheawesome4 months ago
brilliant... top job!
Dan021766 months ago
How do I make the grove on the outside of the cover... between the spine and cover? Thanks!
KaptinScarlet (author)  Dan021764 months ago
It pretty much makes itself, but you can run the back of a knife down it to make it more prominent if you want.
fcabrini8 months ago
forget what cfwschmidt says.
this was a great instructable! I just finished binding my first book, and the steps outlined here were accurate, clear, easy to understand, and really helped me succeed.

I especially appreciated the diagrams. they were well done and really illustrated the procedure.

well done and thanks!
KaptinScarlet (author)  fcabrini4 months ago
Thanks, glad you enjoyed it
Birchleigh6 months ago
That was very interesting. i am going to try it.
novicecrafter6 months ago
Thank you for these detailed instructions and other ideas of making a hardcover books. Now I can save loads of money when time of b'day, showers, etc...
Benbear6 months ago
hahaha This is how I make books, I guess i won't have to make an ible anymore
I know this 'ible is old, but I was wondering if you could point me towards a ace where I can buy book binding materials such as these.
Hi, Just ordered some high quality book binding stuff from talas. They also have a great price on alum --used for making marble papers and growing alum crystals. Alum was why I found them in the first place.

www.talasonline.com
flapper5011 year ago
On step 12, wouldn't it be easier for you to just put the glue on the materiel?

Great 'ible by the way, I'll share some photos when I'm done
iolson1 year ago
Thanks so much for your great guide! I made a book for my sister and her sketches. She can never stop drawing.
I went off your guide a little bit to give the insides of the covers a decorative twist. As you can see, I added a bookmark and I am so pleased with the results!
Anyway, here's the album with five pictures of what my book looks like! Thank you, again!
-Ilsa

http://s1200.beta.photobucket.com/user/Ilsa7/library/Handmade%20Book
kadit1 year 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!!
hkilla'x1 year ago
Does it lay FLAT?
Thomas K1 year ago
Hello, I've previously made one, and it turned out perfectly, except for the fact that I do not own a paper guillotine and found it bloody difficult to use a craft knife to smooth the edges out. But my sister, the recipient of the book appreciates it very much, and now uses it for sketching and writing.
I was wondering if there was a way to create my own ruled paper, as it would be very useful for me. Many websites DO in fact, offer templates, but none of them fit my need, and I was wondering if it was possible to do so with MS Word or Excel.
Oh, and I forgot to thank you for this wonderful instructable. Thanks a million!
batman961 year ago
I made one!
A little tiny one. It came out GREAT, used foe leather as the cover.

A tip for anyone who wants to make one. If you clamp the pages very close to the edge then run it on a belt sander "with the grain" it makes a very nice smooth edge. You have to run it across the grain very quickly on each side to get rid of any little paper shreds.
krusatyr1 year ago
Grayish-tan, dense, stiff cardboard at back of sketchbook pads and added as a protective layer to unbound packages of large, loose leaf specialty papers is technically referred to as "chip board" among stationers, printers and commercial paper companies in US.

I have bought it cheaply in large sizes from a local paper supplier's office warehouse.
belisa1 year ago
Thank you so much for this tutorial. I had made 2 books to unsactisfactory results but I feel ready to give it another try after reading and seeing the steps. Great illustrations and easy to follow instructions. The best I have found so far! That's the reason I'm leaving this comment.
KaptinScarlet (author)  belisa1 year ago
Well that's very nice of you. I hope that you have fun and get a good outcome.

faint4 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?
KaptinScarlet (author)  faint4 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)  Boppylop1 year 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 faint4 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.
StJost1 year ago
WONDERFUL tutorial! The graphics are all incredibly helpful and well-made. Also, I don't know how no one has commented this yet, but the equivalent of your Copydex is just called regular old rubber cement here in the US.
boid32 years ago
can I just fold each piece of paper individually so they come out neater? If I do, where should I staple them, if anywhere?
Boppylop boid31 year ago
I guess you could, but it would be a real pain to fold 148 sheets in half individually. but you wouldn't have to staple them.
snoyes2 years ago
Awesome. Going to try to salvage a few books that certain small children have treated harshly and torn the covers clean off.

Minor edit: Step 6, "Befroe" -> "Before"
snoyes snoyes2 years ago
Er, Step 5.
midin2 years ago
I have tryed stapleing two ,better to sew them together. I used fablon to cover book works well. I made 12 pages each time to sew together.but you need bigger paper to fit the inside. thank it's very easy to follow .
I am recovering a soft leather (no cardboard backing) cover from a Bible. The binding is in tact - the cover just came loose and needs replacing.
I have a soft, very pliable piece of leather. Is it advisable to use cardboard, also, as shown above, to make it stronger? Or would it be okay to repair the cover, glue the binding and then glue the inside sheets to front and back.
I also am very impressed with this explanation! I've looked at several that were very confusing.
nice idea! i'm a writer (not professional, just a hobby) and with 300 stories as work i progress i need a way to bind them
will this be able to be used for 600-1000 page books? :D
also, instead of fabric can i use paper for a custom cover?
KaptinScarlet (author)  AussieAnglerGal2 years ago
The idea is to make a hardback book, but I guess you can use a paper cover if you want, although I doubt it would be strong enough for the sort of page numbers that you are thinking of. I'm sure you can bind many hundreds of pages like this, but big books may need stronger fabric at the spine, but I am no expert at book binding, so I guess you have to do it by trial and error.
yea, i am thinking of a hardcover but instead of fabric, paper, thanks 4 your help
apotthoff2 years ago
Thank you so much for posting these instructions. You have saved my back-side for a college project.
Thank You
Elephantswind.wordpress.com
KaptinScarlet (author)  apotthoff2 years ago
Great, glad I can be of assistance (great blog BTW)
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