Make a Book Binding Cradle




Introduction: Make a Book Binding Cradle

Coptic book binding is a traditional form of book binding that has been around for thousands of years.  Although it is fairly simple, there are some specialized tools you might find incredibly handy when binding your own books.

In this Instructable I will show you a simple and easy way to make your own book binding cradle which only took me around 15 mins to make thanks to the tools at TechShop San Jose.

You will need:

a 24"x12" piece of wood or other material to cut your cradle out of
blue painter's tape
wood glue (or another type of glue depending on what you make your cradle out of)
Laser cutter or wood working tools

Step 1:

First, you need to cut out your pieces.  

You could use any 1/4" thick material for this project (acrylic, cardboard, metal, etc...).  I have chosen to use 1/4" plywood because of its durability and how easy it is to work with.

If you chose wood or acrylic, you could cut all your pieces out by hand using wood working tools, but since I have access to TechShop's laser cutters, I chose to build a file and cut my pieces out that way.

Step 2:

Now you have to mark where to glue your support pieces (the 3"x1/4" rectangles) on your 2 side pieces.

Take a straight edge and place it from one corner to the one diagonally opposite and draw a line about 1/2 way down, then do the same thing for the other 2 corners so you are left with a V.

Repeat on the front and back of both side pieces.

Step 3:

next, glue 2 of the small rectangles, one on each line of the V on both the front and back of each side, leaving around 1/2" between the 2 pieces at the bottom, repeat on the other side piece.

Step 4:

While that dries, take your two long sides and put them side by side as shown in the picture.  Tape the two seems together with blue painter's tape.

Step 5:

Now fold the two halves together and tape the back together with blue tape as well.

Although you could potentially put the sides together with a hinge, I found that the blue tape is very forgiving when you're punching holes in the paper you are about to bind, and is also cheap and easy to replace once your tape is too chewed up to use anymore.

Step 6:

Now you can assemble your cradle!

The beauty of this design is that it can pack flat and travels really well if you're going to a craft night somewhere, or just don't have the space to have a book binding cradle on your work area all the time.

1 Person Made This Project!


  • Microcontroller Contest

    Microcontroller Contest
  • Fandom Contest

    Fandom Contest
  • First Time Author Contest

    First Time Author Contest



6 years ago

if this is all too much trouble for a single or first project, rest your signatures in an open phone book or yellow pages!


6 years ago

I recently made a cradle, boy do I wish i'd seen this design first, with the added bonus it can be taken apart for storage, I think I will make a new one thanks


9 years ago on Introduction

Great design!

For signatures longer than the provided pattern, how would you suggest leaving one end open while still bracing it? I know I could make a range of different sized sides for the cradle, but having one catch-all for travel would be pretty excellent as well.


9 years ago on Introduction

Thank you for sharing this.

A quick suggestion if I may...for Step 2, why not use the laser to mark the lines instead of drawing them by hand?

A pair of short lines along each 45 (one near each end of each 45) could be use so it could be cut along with the rest of the vector cutting (much faster than trying to raster those lines). By keeping those lines short, they shouldn't weaken the end cradle but would be more than enough to align the pieces for gluing without needing Step 2.

I've modified the drawing file you posted to try this out. If it works, you're welcome to have the modified file. :-)


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

it would work beautifully for that as well