Step 1: Materials and Tools
You should be able to find everything you need at art supply stores like Blick or Paper Source. I estimate the cost of everything was around $80.
- 2 book binding boards – at least 1/4" bigger on each side than your interior pages
- linen tape
- 2 screw posts
- bookcloth – I would get 2 sheets/rolls, but it depends on the size of your book
- 2 sheets of decorative inside cover paper
- PVA glue
- methyl cellulose (optional) – helps keep PVA from drying too quickly
- wax paper
- scrap paper – covers your work area so you can get your deposit back on your apartment later :)
- several heavy books – keeps your covers from warping while they dry
- cutting mat
- utility/x-acto knife – the board is heavy-duty stuff. even with a utility knife, you'll need to make several repetitive cuts.
- glue brush
- bone folder
- adjustable 3-hole punch
- some sort of book board hole punch or drill
Step 2: Preparation
My final page size was something like 13.75"x11". I left a 1.75" margin on the right side to accommodate the binding, so my printable area was 12"x11".
Use an adjustable 3-hole punch to figure out where your screw posts are going to be. This will be trial and error, depending on your hole punch. I unscrewed all but one punch and used that to punch two holes by flipping the paper.
Step 3: Mixing the Glue
Methyl cellulose: I bought this in powder form. Add hot water until the container is half full. Stir until dissolved. Fill container with cold water while stirring until mixture appears more clear. Let stand overnight until mixture is a light, clear gel.
PVA + Methyl cellulose: In a separate container, mix 3 parts PVA (60%) and 1 part methyl cellulose (40%). PVA alone dries very quickly. This mixture should give you a little more time for repositioning and smoothing out air bubbles.
Step 4: Measure and cut your cover boards and spines
Spines: Measure 1/2" taller than your interior pages. Take the width of your measured cover board and add 1/4". Now subtract that from (the width of your interior pages + 1/2"). The result should be the width of your spine. The width of my spines were about 1 3/8" each.
Cut boards down to size. This will take a while. Be careful, you want your boards to be identical!
Spine holes: Use your interior pages as a guide. Lay one down on the spine, 1/4" away from the top, bottom and edge. Mark with a pencil on the board where the hole punches through the paper are. Use your hole punch/drill on the marked areas.
Step 5: Use linen tape to hinge spine and cover boards
On the adhesive side, measure 1" up from the bottom and mark with pencil. Measure 1/4" in from the left edge of tape and mark with pencil.
Moisten adhesive side of tape with water. Place spine along pencil marks, make sure it's straight, and press firmly.
Measure 1/4" from edge of the adhered spine and mark tape with pencil. This will be your gutter for the hinge.
Moisten tape and place cover board along the 1/4" mark. Make sure it's square with the spine and press firmly.
Moisten top and bottom of the linen tape. Fold it over the spine and cover.
Push tape into joint and smooth with bone folder.
Step 6: Glue hinged covers to bookcloth
On the reverse (non-cloth) side of your bookcloth, measure approx. 1/2" from the left edge and 1" from the bottom. Mark with pencil.
Lay your board so the side covered by linen tape is face down. Apply glue to your board.
Flip over board and place it to the right of the 1/2" pencil mark on the bookcloth. Eyeball it so it looks centered between the top and bottom.
Flip the cover and bookcloth over. Working quickly, use the edge of the bone folder to smooth the cloth into the gutter. Then use it to smooth out any air bubbles along the entire bookcloth.
Turn the cover with the adhered bookcloth back over. If it seems like your boards are beginning to warp, place your heavy books evenly distributed on top of the board until the glue is dry.
Measure 3/16" out from each corner of your board and mark with pencil. Cut your bookcloth corners at a 45 degree angle using the pencil marks as a margin.
Apply glue to book cloth flaps. Fold top flap over and pull it tight over the edge of the cover. Do the same for the other flaps.
Make sure all your edges are smooth. Let dry. If you haven't already, place the heavy books on top of your boards to prevent warping. You may want to place wax paper between the covers and the books.
Step 7: Adding inside cover paper
Apply glue to back of paper. Flip over and center on the inside of your cover.
Use the bone folder to smooth the paper into the gutter and smooth out air bubbles.
Place wax paper over your covers and equally distribute heavy books on top. Let dry for several hours.
Step 8: Assembly and binding
Place your bottom screw pieces through the back cover. Add the interior pages. Add the front cover. Place the screw heads into the posts and tighten.
Congratulations! You just made a book.