Booking Binding Press




About: I love creating and making things. From leather wallets, wooden rings to DIY projects. I also make videos of everything I make, have a look at my YouTube channel.

In this guide, I show how I made this bookbinding press. It's a super easy project, so it's also quite a short video. I wanted to make a few notebooks for a while now, I usually have a few different ones and was fed up with buying them, so thought I would learn how to make them. This is a first part video, the next one I'll show how I make my notebooks. This should only take a couple of hours tops, and can also be used as a flower press or anything that needs pressing!

For this project you will need;

I also have an Instructables on how to make your own Perfect Bound Paperback Notebook with this press. Make sure to go check it out!

Step 1: Measure

I started off with a sheet of 18mm thick plywood. I went for the thickest that is easy to get in the UK as I wanted something strong that will take a lot of pressure when bookbinding, but something that will also flex a little instead of splintering.

The board had already been cut down in width to 60cm (from my Steel + Coffee Sack Footstool project) so I marked and cut it down to 40cm long. This might be a bit too big, but basically, I made it big enough that I could make any books right up to and including full-size A4 notebooks. It's also a quick and simple enough project to make a smaller one if needed at any point. I like the idea of being able to use this as a flower press or something as well so I went big with it. I set up a metal clamp as a guide and cut down with the circular saw.

Step 2: Clamp + Sand

I then added a load of clamps and strong clips to hold the two bits of wood together. It's important to do step as it will make everything a bit easier the further on we go. Everything needs to stay lined up. Once it was clamped up together I sanded the whole thing all over to make it smooth to the touch. I only went up to 120 grit sandpaper.

Step 3: Corner Drills

Still leaving the 2 bits of wood clamped together, I used a ruler to mark 1cm in from each corner. This is to mark the hole for the bolts. I did this on each corner.

I then took it over to the drill press and started by drilling 2mm pilot holes. This will stop the plywood from splitting as I widen the holes to suit the books. I then went up to 6mm drill bit to make sure my M6 bolts would fit through. I also widened the holes a little more to give them a bit of space, it doesn't have to be a perfect tight fit.

Step 4: Bolt

I then put all the bolts through. I was using some quite long M6 bolts, this meant that I can make thick books. I also put on some Wing Nuts to make them easier to tighten and clamp down. I can make them smaller to speed it up if I'm working on a smaller book.

Step 5: Final Images

Here are the final images. It's a super quick and easy project, and is probably overkill for most people but might as well make it overkill once than have to make 2!

I will be putting a guide and video up in the next few days to show how to make a notebook. Be sure to subscribe to my Instructables or YouTube Channel to make sure you don't miss it.

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    9 Discussions


    Tip 11 months ago

    If you don’t have clamps you can use Bull-Clips extra large to hold the boards together. I have been using them now for the past year and find they are quicker on some jobs compared to using clamps. :-)

    Elaina M

    1 year ago

    Yes!! I'm so glad you made an instructables about this. I've had mine since college and still use it ! Simple and smart design never goes out of fashion :) Now I have somewhere to send people to when they ask about how I bind books. Thank you

    1 reply
    aCuriousCreatorElaina M

    Reply 1 year ago

    Not a problem! Glad to know there's a chance mine will last a while then :) Thanks


    1 year ago

    I made one of these in college! On mine, I added nylon tubes in the holes of the upper board, and put washers on so I could really crank it down without hurting the wood. Yours is nice and simple, and easy to reproduce on a budget! :)

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    Hi, Yes I've added washers now! Thanks for the comment! This is aimed to be a super simple and basic one to get people into book binding!


    Tip 1 year ago on Step 4

    put flat washers under the wingnuts. Stops nuts grinding into the plywood


    Tip 1 year ago on Step 5

    I designed something similar last year in order to bind my journals. No photo to share right now, but my top piece of plywood is about a quarter of the height of the bottom piece. Only two carriage bolts with wing nuts required because all I am securing is the binding edge where I will be applying the adhesive and binding tape. This allows me to fasten an edge guide below and perpendicular to the top plywood piece. Might improve it a smidge, but works great.

    aCuriousCreatorThy pex

    Answer 1 year ago

    It holds paper together while you glue or stitch it up to make a notebook. I'll have another video / instructable in the next couple of days showing has to use this to make your own notebook.