Introduction: Making Your Own Book

About: Deirdre hails from Upstate, NY, which is not New York City or Canada or really even "upstate". Deirdre is a struggling cosplayer and was shocked to find out that anime is not real and that she had to…

Engineers are a species of recluses that are not known for their reading or writing abilities.

This is mind, obviously my going away present for my past engineering company *had* to be a book. Don't worry, I had be it chalk full of pictures to make it easy to understand!

I found that this simple book makes a super easy and personal gift for really anyone. It didn't take me long to make and it's super easy to customize!

So while I'm leaving my job at my current company, I can now call myself an author, illustrator, publisher, and now teacher-- let's get started!

Step 1: Materials

Here are the basic materials you will need to get started

  • Cardstock paper
  • Two sheets of a colorful or patterned paper
  • Fabric for the outside
  • Cardboard
  • Hot glue
  • Elmer's white glue
  • Markers/colored pencils/scissors/whatever other craft decoration supplies you want!

KaptinScarlet made a great instructable about binding and making your own book, but she had it designed for a 124 page book. Good news, you can do it with just 24 pages (8 cardstock pages worth). That's what I will be doing here, because while I have written novel before...I was not into that level of commitment.

Step 2: Making Your Pages

Take your cardstock and fold it in half the "hamburger" way, like shown.

As mentioned in the last step, I am using 8 sheets of cardstock for this book. I would not go any smaller than this, but you can go as many as you want. If you double the pages though, you will want to make sections of ~8 pages that you staple together (follow KaptinScarlet's ible for that).

For this book, I had a stack of 8 folded papers, so you should see 8 "spines" of the fold when laid out.

Step 3: Add Your Content

Like I said, this project is perfect for heavy customization. This book was a going away present so I went to town on inking and coloring various inside jokes. I was able to add pops of color with colored pencils and washi tape as well!

Be careful when decorating and remember that if marker bleeds through or if you mess up one page, you're technically messing up 4 pages...

Yeah, that's a lot.

Make sure to leave the front of one paper clear and the back of another clear. You will need these surfaces for gluing on to later.

Step 4: Pinch Your Pages

Pinch all your pages together with your blank front on top, and your blank back on bottom. You should see all the spines of your pages.

Binder clips work great for clipping, but I used hairclips because that's what I had lying around the house.

Clip close to the spins so the spines don't have much space in between.

Step 5: Glue Your Pages Together

Cut out a piece of plain fabric that is AT LEAST 3 times as wide as the stack of pages you have, and as long as the height of your book.

Smear hot glue over the spines of your book and quickly press it down into the middle of the fabric. The goal is to glue each page to a piece of fabric and not necessarily to each other.

You can also use white glue for this, but that takes much more patience than what I have (waiting for it to dry...)

Step 6: Cut Out Cover and Spine

Using the height and width of your page (the cardstock folded in half), cut out two pieces from your cardboard at those dimensions. Then cut out a smaller rectangle that is the height of your book and the width of your spine (your spine is now the hot glued conglomerate you did in your last step).

A little leeway is fine on these dimensions, but make sure the covers are the same size!

Step 7: Lay Out Your Cover

Place your cardboard on the fabric that you are using for your cover. You can really use any fabric you want, I personally am using a faux leather fabric which I discovered got a little bulky in the corners, but had the effect I was looking for.

The spin should be two cardboard width's apart from the cover (on either side).

Give yourself ~1inch clearance around the edges and cut out the fabric.

Step 8: Glue Covers and Fabric

Smear glue on the inside of your cardboard pieces and stick them back down to the fabric as you originally place them.

You can get away with not smearing the glue, but it is possible then you will be able to feel the squiggly glue line through your cover, so coat that cardboard!

When that's all stuck down (I pressed it down for a bit with some board games...), smear glue on the 1inch exposed fabric and fold that up and onto the cardboard. Here you are glue the top and bottom down, and the folding the left and right in and making sure it is all glued down securely. Be patient while this dries and do not be shy on clipping things down or pressing things down with heavy objects.

Step 9: Glue the Fabric Spine

Remember those fabric flaps on your book spine? Time to put them to good use!

Smear glue on the back of the book spine fabric. Line up your book spine with your cover spine and press down the extra fabric wherever it falls. While this dries, I places some scrap paper over the fabric flaps and then put boxes on top, sandwiching the book pages to stand up while the glue underneath dried.

Step 10: Progress Check In

Before adding the inside part of your book, take a step back and look at what you have. Here you can see what the internal spine of the book looks like. It should feel something like a book at this point, and now we just have finishing touches!

Step 11: Inside Cover Paper

Take your color or patterned paper and cut it out to the size of an unfolded book page. Fold it down the middle to create a crease.

Smear glue on the bottom of your paper, like you're so good at doing by this point, and glue one side of the paper to one of your blank pages, and one side to the fabric cover. This is how you're going to cover up most of the corners from the fabric cover, and how you're covering the fabric flap from the spine.

I clipped the corners down while I let the glue dry, and when everything was dry, I repeated on the other side of the book.

Step 12: The Finished Product

I added some design to the cover with some leather paint I had lying around and then called it done.

The book isn't perfect, and I definitely think not doing a ton of pages made this a more challenging project than intended (pages are hard to turn as there's so much hot glue for so little actual paper...etcetc). But all and all? That sort of thing gives a home made gift all the more charm. Or at least, that's what I like to tell myself.

I had a ton of fun making this and I'm very happy with how it turned out.

Let me know if you make your own book, and maybe we can make a book of Instructables meta would that be? Thanks for reading and happy making!

Before and After Contest 2017

Participated in the
Before and After Contest 2017

Makerspace Contest 2017

Participated in the
Makerspace Contest 2017