Introduction: Rubber Band Bookbinding

About: When I was a kid I had the good fortune to have parents that let me build a fort under the stairs & paint murals on my bedroom walls. I get a kick out of making stuff with other stuff. And it usually ends…

Whether you want to bind a notebook, sketchbook, photo album or maybe a story you wrote, this Rubber Band Bookbinding DIY instructable will make it super easy to bind your own book.

You only need a few tools and materials to get started. So let’s do this...


  • Bone Folder (or a Butter Knife if you have one)
  • Cover Card Stock (I like to use food packagings such as cereal boxes or card stock boxes that pop is packaged in)
  • Craft Knife (if you don't have a craft knife, you can do this project entirely with Scissors)
  • Creative Juice (I prefer coffee, but whatever works for you. Crafting makes me thirsty)
  • Cutting Mat (if you don't have a cutting mat, you can use thick card stock or cut everything with Scissors)
  • Enthusiasm (it can't hurt :))
  • Eraser
  • Paper for the inside (any paper or card will work)
  • Pencil
  • Rubber bands (I'm using 6 for this variation)
  • Ruler

Step 1: Choose and Measure Your Elastics

If you’re anything like me, you probably have a drawer full of elastics and love finding uses for them. I save every elastic that comes my way.

  1. Choose 5 elastics of the same height. The length of your elastic will be the height of your book.
    1. Measure the length of the elastic by putting one end of the elastic over the end of the ruler and then pulling the elastic taught. Keep in mind, the farther you stretch the elastic the more pressure it will put on the cover card stock. But if you have a solid card stock then you should be fine.
  2. Choose a 6th elastic the width of the book.
    1. I was able to use the same elastics for height and width because the elastics can be stretched more or less to the height and width of the book

Step 2: Rubber Band Closure

  1. Find an elastic that when stretched a little is about the width of your book.
  2. Take one end of the rubber band closure and loop it over the spine elastic up and back through its other end.
  3. Pull taut. The resulting big loop will be used to cover the book from the spine to foredge.

Step 3: Measure & Mark Cover Height and Width

Before measuring and cutting, test the cover card by gently folding one direction and then the other. FInd the way in which the card folds easier. It is preferable to make the score/fold lines parallel to the easier-to-fold direction.

The card stock I used has fold lines that are at right angles, which makes it easier for measuring because you want the cover edges to be at right angles.

On the underside of the cover paper, mark your cut and fold lines. To get the outside cutting measurements, as well as the score lines for the cover, do this:

  1. Cover Height:
    1. Use the length of the elastic for the height of the cover stock (mine measure 5 1/2")
    2. Measure and draw 2 parallel lines 5 1/2" apart
  2. Cover Width:
    1. Mark your first vertical line on the left
    2. Mark your next vertical line (a scoreline) to the right 4 1/4" (1/4" for the overhang + 4" for the interior paper width)
    3. Make 4 more vertical score lines 1/8" apart
    4. You should now have 5 vertical lines in the middle of your cover
    5. Finally, mark your last vertical line to the right 4 1/4" (1/4" for the overhang + 4" for the interior paper width)

The resulting cover should measure 9" wide x 5 1/2" tall

Step 4: Score and Fold Cover Card

The 5 lines you marked down the center of the cover are your score and fold lines.

  1. Line up your ruler from the first mark at the top and first mark at the bottom.
  2. Run the bone folder or butter knife along the card stock to make an indent. This is your scoreline and it helps the card stock make a crisp straight fold.
  3. Repeat for each measured mark.
  4. Fold along each scored line and smooth down with a bone folder or your fingernail or the handle end of the knife.
  5. Repeat for each score line

Now you have a cover ready for interior pages!

Step 5: Cut & Fold Interior Pages

If you don't have a cutting mat and craft knife, then

  1. Measure and cut with scissors 30 sheets of paper 8" x 5 1/2"
  2. Count 6 sheets and fold in half together.
  3. Repeat step 2 four more times. You should have 5 sections of 6 folded sheets

OR If you have a cutting mat and craft knife, you can do the following to give your page edges a cleaner flush-edge look:

  1. Measure and cut 30 sheets of paper 8 1/2" x 5 1/2"
  2. Count 6 sheets and fold in half together.
  3. Measure 4" from the folded crease along the top and bottom edges.
  4. Line up the 2 marks and trim the edges
  5. Repeat step 2 to 4 four more times. You should have 5 sections of 6 folded sheets folded and cut to 4" x 5 1/2"

Step 6: Add Sections to Binding

  1. Place one section (6 folded sheets) over the inside of the cover
  2. Stretch an elastic over the side of both cover and section until the rubber band is running along the center crease
  3. Rotate the rubber band to lay flat on the inside page and over the spine. Bam! You’ve just added your first section!
  4. Repeat this step for the other 4 sections, making sure to add the 2 joined elastics on the 3rd (middle) section.
  5. Once all sections have been added, play with the location of the sections and elastics until they are as close as possible to each other as in the photos.
  6. Take care to make sure all the rubber bands are not twisted.

Step 7: Show Someone Your Cool DIY Rubber Band Book

Now step back and enjoy your new creation! Pat yourself on the back.

I’d love to see what you’ve created! Please share your creations with me and the Instructables community.

Rubber Band Speed Challenge

Second Prize in the
Rubber Band Speed Challenge