Introduction: How to Bind a Book

in this instructable i will show you how to bind a book. this is not the most "professional" way to do it, but i learned it that way and it yields very nice results. and you don't need any fancy tools or anything to do it, chances are that you even might have all the needed materials lying around somewhere and you could get started with making your own book straight away.
ever since i learned how to do it, i've made quite a few books, as they make great gifts or are perfect to write your recipes in, draw, as a journal,...
and in the end it's suprisingly fast, you can easily make a book in one afternoon.
Have fun with the bookmaking!

Step 1: Materials

you will need:
- sheets of paper twice the size of the book you want to make, the easiest way is to make A5 sized books out of A4 paper, because A4 paper is easy available, these are for the pages of the book
- cardboard, about 1,5 - 2 mm thick, a bit more than twice the size of the later book size
- a nice, not to thin paper for the cover, this has to be bigger than double the size of the finished book
- another nice paper (this one can be thinner) for the inside of the cover, the same size as the paper for the pages
- a lenght of bookbinding linen tape (i don't know how you call this in english), it has to be 10 cm longer than the spine of the book, at least 4 cm wide, in a color that matches your cover paper
- strong thread (made from linen or cotton), sewing needle
- a set of small vices
- a small, stiff paintbrush
- 2 wooden (or similar material) boards, slightly bigger than the finished book
- cutting mat, x-acto knife, scissors, ruler
- wood glue and wallpaper paste and a disposable cup for mixing the glue
- a used plastic bag

if you are not sure about the amounts of paper or so, read the steps as i will say more on that later.

Step 2: Prepare the Cover

first you have to make your glue mixture: prepare a bit of wallpaper paste acording to the package, but keep in mind that you will only need a bit, about half a cup or so. and it should not be to runny but rather on the thicker side, in doubt add some more powder and wait some minutes. when the wallpaper paste is ready mix it half and half with the wood glue.
this is the glue you will use for all the glueing.

decide the size of the pages of your book, the easiest is to use A4 paper, then your book will later be A5 size, which is 15 cm wide and 21 cm high. the spine of the book will be on one of the 21 cm long sides. this is what i went with in this instructable.

cut out 2 pieces of the cardboard, the pieces have to be 0,5 cm bigger than the pages on three sides (not on the spine side), so if your pages are 15 cm by 21 cm the cover pieces have to be 15,5 cm by 22 cm.

from the cover paper, cut out two pieces that are about 3-4 cm bigger on three sides than the cardboard pieces.

with the brush, cover one side of a cardboard piece with glue (rather more than less) and glue the cover paper to it so that it aligns on the spine side but sticks out on all the other sides (see picture). with the cardboard facing up, trim the corners as you can see in the pictures and glue the three flaps of decorative paper over to the other side, cover the "seams" where the paper flaps overlap with a little glue in the end. do the same with the other cover piece and leave them to dry.

when the glue is so dry that you can touch it whithout it being sticky wheigh them down with some heavy books so they'll stay flat.

Step 3: Prepare the Pages, Part 1

if you want a book with just blank pages what you have to do now is fold the paper that you want to use for the pages in half. If you want to have a special size, you have to trim the sheets to the desired size, but keep in mind that you have to fold the paper in half, so the sheets have to be twice as big as the later pages.

you can also use differently colored paper, or transparent paper, whatever you like. you're making your own book, so why not make it interesting?

or, if you use A4 paper, you can print on your paper before making the pages. that is what i did. since my cover paper has some underwater fauna on it, i wanted to have some of that also on the inside, so i printed some images from the amazing print collection "Kunstformen der Natur" on some of the pages.
if you print on your paper, keep in mind that the pages will be folded in half so don't print on the whole page.
once printed, fold the paper in half.

when you have the desired amount of pages (don't make too many, this technique is probably not for 1000 pages long books....) put 4-5 (depending on paper thickness) folded sheets of paper inside each other (see picture), already like a small book. continue with the rest of the pages. you should end up with around 5 - 8 of these packs, if you have much more, maybe reduce a bit.

Step 4: Prepare the Pages, Part 2

to sew the pages together later we have to pre-punch holes in the paper.
for this you need a template. if you make your book out of A4 paper like me, just copy mine from the picture.
it is a piece of paper as long as the spine of my pages (21 cm), the numbers are measurements in cm. the 1,2 and 3 cm long parts that are underlined are the stitches, the 0,5, 1, 1,5 and 3 am long parts inbetween the spaces between stitches.
if you use a different size, make your own: the length has to be as long as the spine of the pages, the first stitch should start 0,5 cm from the edge, the stitches should get bigger towards the middle and it has to be symmetric on both sides.

with a pencil and the template, make little dots along the inner spine of the innermost page of every pack. when you marked all the packs take a sewing needle and pinch holes through all the pages of a pack where the spots are. this is where you will later sew the pages together. continue until all the packs are pinched.

Step 5: Sew & Glue the Pages

it's sewing time.
cut a piece of the thread that is about as long as (the amount of packs plus 1) times the spine lenght (in my case 21 cm).

sew the packs together through the pre-punched holes:
take on of the packs and start sewing from the outside of the pack through the first hole, then simply sew through all the holes, in through the one, out through the next. Leave a piece of thread about 8 cm long hanging at the beginning.
at the end of the first pack, take the next pack, put it spine to spine to the first one and start sewing through the second pack. at the end of the second pack knot the to ends of thread (the one you sew with and the piece left hanging in the beginnning) together, making a double knot for extra strenght. before you knot, pull the thread tight so that is is'nt loose anywhere. now start sewing through the third pack, when you reach the end of the third pack, sew / knot the thread to where the first to packs connect. all this is kind of weird to explain, look at the pictures and it wil be more clear.
at the end of the last pack sew / knot the thread to the next to last pack with a really strong knot an trim off excess thread not to close to the knot. pull the thread tight all the time will sewing the pages together.

measure the thickness of the finished page-bundle, pressing them slightly together while doing so. from the cardboard, cut a piece of cardboard for the spine as wide as this measurement and as high as the other cover pieces, in this case 22 cm.

with the vices, press the page-bundle between the two boards so that the sewed edge protrudes about 1 mm from the boards. smear generous amounts of glue onto the sewed edge, pressing the glue inbetween the packs with the help of a cardboard rest. add more glue if necessary, more is more here.

let the glue dry until it is not sticky anymore when you touch it.

Step 6: Assemble the Cover

cut a piece of the linen-tape that is as long as the spine plus 6-8 cm. when handeling the tape, be careful, it is very sticky!

now carefully peel away about one third of the proctection paper on the back of the tape and fold it over so that you have an exposed line of tape lying in front of you (see pictures), take one of the prepared cardboard covers and glue it to the tape so that the paper covered side is facing the table and about 3-4 cm of tape still stick out on both ends. look at the pictures, you will see what i mean.

peel away the rest of the protection paper, take a rest of the cardboard and put it on the tape directly next to the already glued on cover part facing upwards, only the 2 thin side on the tape. glue the little spine cardboard piece directly next to this carboard, then take the carboard away. the cardboard served to leave an even gap between the cardboard pieces. put the cardboard rest now to the other side of the spine part and glue on the second cover part in the same way. (look at the pictures and it will all besome clear....

now pull the 3-4 cm rests ober to the inside, put don't press them on yet. take a ruler (or something else with a thin edge) and press the tape into the gaps, then press on the rest of the tape.

your cover is now ready.

Step 7: Glue & Wait

get all the parts: the cover, the papers for the inside cover and the page bundle

from an old plastic bag cut to pieces of plastic that are a bit bigger than one cover cardboard.

take the page bundle and cut away part of the first page so that you get a glue flap. put glue on the inside of one of the cover cardboards next to the spine and glue the glue flap ot the paper bundle to it.

now put glue on the whole inside of the cardboard part and glue one of the inside cover papers onto the cardboard and the glue flap from the page bundle. take one of the plastic sheets and put it on top of the paper, this will prevent the pages from sticking to the cover until the glue is dry.

now flip to the other side of the cover, the whole thing already looks a lot like a book now. cut the last page to a flap as well and do the same as with the front cover. put another sheet of plastic between the last page and the cover.

and now we play the waiting game...
put your book back between the boards and press with the vices, leave it like this for a whole day. don't take it out before or your book might bend, since the glue makes the cardboard and paper damp and they will deform if not pressed until completely dry.

Step 8: Yeah! a Book!

so after the waiting time is over discard the plastic sheets (or keep them for the next book) and enjoy your new book!
and maybe you want to make another one to give away!
i hope you had fun with my instructable!

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