Duct Tape Book Binding - Cheepo Delux




Quick and dirty, "cheepo delux" way of binding papers and reports in your home or office.

Save resources by saving gas, electricity and materials that are necessary for binding books together.No power tools, no trips to the store, no exotic materials. Impress your friends and peers, relax your mind, contribute to the instructables way of life, by adding your own enhansements to your very own, 5 minute, completely in-office/house binding method.

I often have papers that I cannot bind together with staples, because there are too many pages and the stapler is retarded. We have a power stapler in the office that will staple 200 pages together, but I dont like the fact that you loose the ability to open the paper or report with the pages fully extended.

Also, I'm finishing my thesis soon and I want to bind it myself, since I've been infected with the instructables way. But for starters I thought I'd tidy up some of the papers I have lying around and practice so I can improve on my binding skills.

This is the quickest, cheapest binding method that gives surprisingly sturdy results. None of these quick bindings have ever come apart, and they dont seem to want to in the future either.

In the next step, I list the things you need to prepare >>

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Step 1: Things You Need

Things you will need:

1. Duct Tape. I like the silver kind with the threads. There is a black variety that would look cool too. Whatever you have around will do fine.
2. Elmer's Multi-purpose, or Wood Glue. Both these worked the same. The wood glue looked a bit yellow, that might help you achieve a vintage effect, if you care about that. The all-purpose was just fine for all my attempts.
3. Scisors and/or X-acto-Knife. Something that you can cut paper and duct tape with.
4. Lever paper clip things. I have no idea what they're called. Check the image. I use them to hold the book together while the glue is drying.
5. Ruler. Because they rule!
6. Some Thicker paper, if you want to make covers.
7. 5 minutes of your time.

Sorry about the nasty pictures - only had my phone camera available.

Next we get into a bind :) >>

Step 2: Prepare Your Space

The biggest problem I had getting the duct tape on the pages was keeping the sticky side from moving around. Whenever I tried to start one end, I would almost always end up with a nasty crooked edge that would make my cheepo binding uggo.

As shown in the images, if you stick a length of the duct tape to the table however, it provides you with a nice stable surface tthat you can use to align your pages and apply the glue in the next step. The images speak for themselves.

On with the flippidy >>

Step 3: Its All in the Flippidy Flap Flap

This is the most important step of the process, believe it or not.

The reason this whole style of quick binding works is because I noticed in other instructables that people use powerful clamps to hold the pages together, while glueing or sewing the pages. I thought to myself, that this limits the distance that the glue can travel through the pages, and thus its effective binding surface.

After some constructive discussion with my wife, we figured that if you allow some space between the pages, even skewing the side of the pages gradually so that the glue can catch onto the edges of it, this would allow for a larger binding surface.

And so the flippidy flap flap (c) method was born.

Lets get sniffin' some glue >>

Step 4: My Rant on Efficiency

I really cannot stress how important it is for everyone to stop and think about the crucial principles that allow a certain approach to become effective.

Some people are 'doers' - fair enough. Other people are 'thinkers' and thats also cool. The people that are 'efficient' however are those that think and then do. Optimize everything around you, every single action or utility and you save yourself and everyone else in the universe.

If you do something repeaatedly more than three times a day, there has got to be a way of cutting that down to one. This in effect extends your lifespan - or at least gives you more time to think about your inventions!

Ok. I feel better now. Now for more sniffing>> (jk of course!)

Step 5: I Dont Have a Glue, What I'm Doing Really...

Next we apply the glue and start folding the tape over to top of the pages. Dont do this in one stroke. Slowly bend the tape over as if it was a hard plastic. Tryi to give it a new form by slightly bending it over the top of the pages. If you do it quickly, chances are you will end up with a crooked like of tape, or even worse, a pinch in the duct tape that will make the whole binding look stupid.

When the tape is ready to be folded over, it will let you know. You will be able to sence it, I promise. Work symmetrically, using both hands, unlike the images here - I had to hold the camera too. Finally pinch and push the tape across the ridge of the pages. Since we attached the duct tape to the desk, it will not move from its position and you can apply quite a bit of force to get the results you want..

At the very edges you still have the tape thats stuck to the table. My wife, cuts it but I like to leave it on. I turn it over and pinch it closed, so that it catches the glue that seeps out, while the whole thing is drying. Its a bit of a pain to unstick it and turn it over, but remember that the rest of the book is already stuck together, so you can move it around now, without ruining it!

Next we prepare the book and let it dry >>

Step 6: Clip It

Use those clips that lack description to secure your binding. If you added a tough cover they will probably not leave an indentation, but I had to play around loads before figuring out how to do it nicely. In the end I just use one type of clip and push it all the way in, like the smaller ones shown in the pics.

They will take about 3 hours to dry. After that they'll still feel a little damp, but in most cases, lunch is over by then, and I need to get back to work, so I would use them regardless. They never came apart, even after only 2 hours drying, but this depends on the glue you use.

Now lets have a look at some of the results >>

Step 7: Results

The bind is sturdy. I post some pics of the results here and around the end.

No pages have fallen out and the binding is holding strong.

One of the papers that I have been reviewing has started to suffer some dislodging after about a month of heavy use. I added some glue in the cracks, clipped it up and left it overnight. Next day it looked like new. DIY rocks.

Lets see some of the modifications you can make to your binds >>

Step 8: Bind Mods - Title Gap

Its very simple to add a gap that allows you to see the title of the papers or report that you are binding. its pretty self explanatory, so I leave this one to the images.

Bind Mods, Continued >>

Step 9: Bind Mods - Borders

So'me of the papers and reports that I bounded are the ones that I use over and over. Some of them end up tearing at the edges where my thumb flicks through them all the time. So I decided to add some reinforcement and I really like the results.

I kept careful record of my steps, so I can show you guys. Please refer to the image for directions

The resuts is a truely indestructable bind. You can enhanse this by using a very tough cardboard cover, if you are going for a hard-cover look.

Final Remarks >>

Step 10: Final Remarks

After a few months of playing around with binding techniques, I was confident enough to bind my dissertation when it was time for it to be reviewed.

The endless hours of work aside, I would like to dedicate the look of amazement on the faces of the examiners, at the beautifully bound book to everyone on instructables that has given me so many wonderful ideas.

This one is for you guys - Thank you!

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    33 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Oh and on this side of the pond, we call those clips, bulldog clips


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Super instructable (seriously people does it take less time to type 'ible than instructable, for me it is the latter, because I always have to look for the ' /rant)

    great instructable as I said. I do a lot of book binding, the time consuming stitched stuff. They make lovely books, but this is a great quick version. The flippedy flap flap is a nice touch. I will be using this for techniques etc that I print out to save.

    And congratulations on finishing your thesis, finishing my PhD was a complete pain in the arse, took forever, so major kudos to you.


    great! have to write a children's book for school, this method will be perfect!


    p.s. those... clips that lack description can be described as... drum roll please...

    BINDER CLIPS! (at least, that is what we call them in our house!)

    im gonna have to try this for my diy sketchbooks, because i cant sew to save my life, most the sketchbooks i make are a5 though so duct tape is too wide, imma use my hot pink electrical tape instead, fingers crossed!


    8 years ago on Step 8

    I'm wondering - Why not just print on the cardstock cover rather than cut the title gap?

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 8

    Not many printers that can print on card stock. My home printer cant, neither can any of the ones in the university department. Just an option.

    Actually thought about it after I had about 7-8 large documents bound and started having a hard time telling them apart. Grabbed xacto knife from edge of table. Problem solved!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Very entertaining instructable, plus it is just the approach I was looking for! (no stitching)


    9 years ago on Step 10

    What, they don't warrant the tough edges? Don't you think they are going to be thumbing through it endlessly? :^)


    9 years ago on Step 6

    Universe is still expanding - and that's WHY I am happy! :^)

    This is a great instructable. Not only was it informative and inspiring, but it also made me laugh. I enjoy laughing and learning. And duct tape was involved! YES!

    1 reply

    10 years ago on Step 6

    The clips in question are called "Binder clips" in the US. They do tend to indent, but scraps of cardboard from old pizza or facial tissue boxes placed between the clip and the paper (not in contact with the glue) will alleviate this problem, and actually make the binder clips grip just a tad tighter, as well. In fact, using two long strips of scrap cardboard long the binding edge will probably make the whole edge more secure, since the glue will spread more evenly inside the spine.

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Step 6

    I like the idea of putting cardboard along the spine, but I'm thinking it would be hard to break the back, so to speak, when you turn to some intermediate page. As for the indents from the binder clips (thanks), I use two cinder blocks now to hold the book together while the glue is drying; just have to be careful not to scratch the cover. Thank you for your input!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Great 'ible! I've been trying different methods of binding for scrap pads and small note and art pads, and I've been looking for something simple like this. I do have two ideas to add, though. 1- On your final images, the front bound edge looks a bit wrinkly. For a scrap pad, that's cool, but if you're presenting this to professors, they might be put off. I suggest binding the book face-down, since the bottom edge is manipulated less, and will maintain it's straightness. 2- If you are binding a book that is meant to be read, make sure you have each page numbered when you print it! Since we're using white glue or wood glue, we have no idea how long it will last compared to bookbinder's glues. I'd hate to think that ten or twenty years down the road, you pull out your thesis and it falls apart, and you have no way of re-ordering the pages!

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Steph, Thank you for your comment. That wrinkly pafellge was one of the trial runs, and didn't have a card stock cover which made if really flmsy. The later pics show the (perfect) bound copies sent to my profs. Regardless I am going to start binding with the civet fce down - thanks again! BinderBlake