A Handmade Book With a Cardboard Cover




Books can be made in a lot of different ways and with different materials. Here's a way to make a simple book with a cardboard cover that I've used with kids of all ages over the years.

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Step 1: Gather Materials

The first thing we need to do is to gather up our supplies. You need: a right-angle, 18-inch ruler, pencil, x-acto knife, stapler, 5 sheets of white paper, a sheet of corrugated cardboard for your cover, and a cutting board.

The book I'll be showing you how to make here uses 5 sheets of 6 x 18 inch of white paper and a slightly larger sheet of corrugated cardboard, 6.5 x 18.5 inches. You can make your book any size by adjusting the size of the paper and cardboard, but following the same directions.

Tip: I collect sheets of corrugated cardboard from boxes I find at various businesses like grocery stores, furniture stores, and office supply stores. The best cardboard is 2-ply. I cut this cardboard up the size I need it using a mat knife or large paper cutter.

Step 2: Measure the Spine of Your Book

Using your ruler and pencil, make a light mark at the halfway point on one side of the cardboard (9.25 inches) and then mark a half-inch on both sides of the center.

Step 3: Score the Spine

Using the right angle and x-acto knife, score a line along each side of the center of the cardboard using the marks you previously made as guides. Align your right angle with each mark and the long edge of the cardboard and then gently cut through the surface of the cardboard making sure not to cut all the way through.

Step 4: Bend the Cardboard Until the Spine "Pops"

Now, bend the cardboard along the scored lines until it "pops." If the board doesn't easily bend, you may need to score the lines slightly deeper.

Step 5: Tear Out the One-inch Section

Now, carefully tear out the one-inch section, leaving the thin paper (or spine) holding the two sections of the cardboard together.

Tip: Tearing this section out is easier if the corrugation in your cardboard runs longways, or perpendicular to the spine, rather than parallel to it.

Step 6: Fold and Crease the Cardboard

Next, fold the cardboard over and crease along the spine.

Step 7: Fold the Pages of Your Book

Next, we need to fold each sheet of drawing paper by putting the corners together creasing the middle of the other side and then to each edge.

Step 8: Insert Pages Into the Book Cover

Now, insert the folded pages inside one another, align the edges, and then insert them into the cardboard cover.

Step 9: Staple Pages Inside Your Book

To finish up your book, place 3 to 4 staples along the spine to secure the pages inside.

Step 10: Your Book Is Finished!

Your book is now finished and ready for use. What will you put inside?

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    15 Discussions


    9 years ago on Step 10

    wow its  a kewl idea !!
    thx alot i ll use it to make a book fo my best friend um riting a story fo her :D i ll rite it on da book :D


    10 years ago on Step 6

    oops.. Now I get it. the last slide made it clear


    10 years ago on Step 6

    this step is not clear. is the spine bent down the middle and stuck on the inside of the cover?


    10 years ago on Step 10

    Wonderful use of basic materials. Not only do kids get introduced to bookmaking, they have a special book that they will have for a long, long time. Thank you for documenting so well. My goal for 2009 is to teach at least one craft session (kids, seniors) and this will certainly be among my selections.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Really cool! I guess I'll make one with pieces of recycled paper (you know, I sometimes have papers which are half printed but are still usable.. With this instructable, I can put those pieces of paper together and get an awesome notebook!) Thanks! :)

    lulu D

    11 years ago on Introduction

    This is a great activity for kids of all ages! sometimes, a blank book scares some, especially those who aren't keen on writing! Get them to write a story - ANY story, or even favourite words to describe something they like - and then use that for the text pages. Make a grade/class mini library and have the others 'borrow' the books from each other from the 'library'. encourages reading and humour and sharing! this could be an ongoing project working on stories and poems with themes/colours/things they like/don't like! making books with kids is so rewarding!


    12 years ago on Introduction

    nice! im gonna make one, i want a book just to write/ draw in but dont feel like getting one at the store. + 1 rating!

    1 reply

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    2-ply corrugated cardboard works best. This is commonly used for boxes of toilet paper and paper towels. If its any thicker, its hard to score, bend, and so on.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    mine didnt exactly work out. i have to get better cardboard.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    I'm wondering how durable this is. I think the cardboard would rip or break after a while of heavy use, but if you don't use it every day it's a very easy way to bind a small book without glueing or sewing. Good work on the instructable!

    1 reply

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    I've used these with 3rd-4th graders as sketchbooks and they've lasted through weeks of heavy use. Also, I still have some books that were made years ago.