Faux Bound Book




About: I am boring. Fear my powerful powers of boredom!

I needed a book for an in game prop that would look like it was bound, but allow me to add and subtract normal 8.5 x 11 printed sheets regularly. It's for a Call of Cthulhu game, and is for a character's grimoire, which she will add to regularly.

I did this by using cheap hardboard from some clipboards, and some posts with screws.

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Step 1: Ingredients

Two legal sized plain old hardboard clipboards
Fabric for the front sides
Fabric for the hinge on the inside
Two sheets of cool paper for the insides
Bits of leather scrap if you are messy on the corners like me
Glue. I used wood glue because it was sitting around.
Three internally threaded posts with screws I found at Lowes.

I had priced 1/8th inch hardboard at Lowes, and it was under $10 for an 8' by 4' sheet. The problem is I can't get that home easily. The clipboards had the added advantage of being near the right size. I only need three cuts each. I'm sure this would work with just about anything board-like, though.

Step 2: The Boards

You want to cut the boards to slightly larger than the paper you plan to put in it. You need a "spine" part and a cover part.

Since I am using standard 8.5 x 11 inch printer paper sheets inside, I made the spine part 1 1/8th inch by 11 1/2 inches, and the cover 7 3/4 inch by 11 1/2 inches.

I planned on a 1/4 inch space between the two pieces that would be covered with fabric to act as a hinge.

Since my neighbors are getting tired of hearing my power tools, and it's just 1/8th inch thick hardboard, I just used a hand saw.

I then sanded the edges smooth.

Step 3: Fabric Covers

I then got ready to glue the exterior cover fabric on. I cut the fabric about an inch or so bigger than how I planned to lay out the boards. I planned on a quarter inch space between the cover and the spine.

I used some old exterior upholstery canvas.

Step 4: Glue, Glue, and More Glue

Next is the messy part. I'm sure there is a perfect way to glue things up, but I just coated the boards with wood glue, and put them where I had marked on the fabric.

Then, when the boards are glued down, wrap the edge pieces around and glue them down.

Let them dry.

I'd like to give some advice on the corners, but mine didn't come out very nice. My fabric is very very thick, and just wouldn't lay right. I'm sure there are some fine bookbinding instructables here that will show you far better than I could, anyways. I also could not manage a camera with the glue, the stiff fabric, and the cat at that point, so my apologies.

Step 5: Holes

I decided my sheets would be a set up with 1" margins top, right, and left, with a 1 1/4" margin on the left.

I then lined up the paper on the boards, made sure they were all where I wanted them. I then drilled through the holes. I made sure the drill bit I used was only slightly bigger than the post.

Step 6: Inner Hinge

I then put down a strip of plain brown old sheeting I had sitting around to add some strength. I just cut it to about the size I wanted, glued it, and stuck it down. I used a hole punch to mirror the holes in the thin brown fabric before I glued it down.

Don't worry too much about the fabric, because your lining paper will cover this anyways. The sheet fabric sort of matched what I was working with, so I used this.

Step 7: Interior Paper

Measure and cut the inside papers, then glue them down. I left a bit of an edge of the folded over fabric showing. I used some nice papers from Micheal's crafts. The man(tm) picked them out for me, and he has pretty good taste, so it worked out great.

I used a hole punch to punch out the holes where i needed them to be.

Step 8: Corners

Like I said earlier, my corners weren't as pristine as I wanted them to be. Well, some of them weren't. I couldn't have a book with six great corners, one mediocre one, and one that really looked bad. I decided to take some scrap suede, and sew little corners to cover my crappy workmanship.

I drew a 1" x 1" square on the leather, and sewed it all down. Then I crew a line catty corner across, and cut it.

I then flipped them all inside out, and glued them on, using clamps to secure them.

Step 9: Finishing

I then added my interior pages. I just did them up with some photoshop on a word document like it was the character's own personal ode to the Necronomicon, except polite and lady-like. The sky's the limit here, really.

The important thing is that I can unscrew the posts, and take out sheets, or add more. If my book gets thicker than the posts, I can buy longer posts. It works so nice, I am thinking I will do this for a binder next quarter for classes.

I added an embroidered Lovecraftian elder sign on the front. It fits the nature of the character whose slide into madness is being captured by this grimoire.

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    18 Discussions


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I know! One of my friends is not a Lovecraft fan, and could not fathom why I was embroidering a "twig".


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    It is more powerful than a twig. Its a sharp twig. - But any way, do you know how to make any other Lovecraftian props? There good fun for every one. I've made almost all manner of props and i'm relativley tired of the some old stuff.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I just re-read The Hound, and was thinking of making a polymer clay faux jade version of the medallion from the story. I can do an okay faux jade, I just need to make it into the right winged hound. That part seems easy. Imparting it with the requisite eldritch horror seems harder.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Honestly, I hadn't thought about doing it, but it could make a cool instructable. Mythos instructables! Next up, how to summon, but not control your shoggoth.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    My shoggoth lives in a wood box I carry in my pocket :P the box has about 4 different elder signs on it.


    9 years ago on Step 4

    If you cut the corner of the fabric off (45 degree angle), the edges will be able to fold over each other better, and you won't get that lump of fabric in the corner.
    (http://www.flickr.com/photos/nate/284184160/lightbox/ fourth photo across, third photo down)

    3 replies

    Is that work yours? It's beautiful. Thanks! I hadn't actually looked at how it's supposed to be done. Do you know any good books on the subject of binding that you could recommend. Some day I'd like to do a real binding.


    Oh, dear, it's not my work!! I was googling "bookbinding" to find that kind of picture to illustrate what I was saying!! Unfortunately, my own bookbinding... the less said, the better! DX (I clicked on your Instructable for help!!)
    I've checked out a few bookbinding books from my library, and the older books seem to be more reliable, because the materials they use seem to be tried-and-true, rather than the latest adhesive.
    Kateordie has a really good tutorial for making Ball Joint Doll-sized books, which I'm sure would work for full-sized books, too.
    Here's the link for her perfect-bound books: http://kateordie.com/?p=197
    And this is for thread-bound books: http://kateordie.com/?p=245
    I hope that helps the both of us! :)


    Thanks for the advice. I'll check out those links. Thanks for the tip on using older books. I prefer tried and true classical methods. I can deviate on my own after I know how.

    I've been trying to come up with a way to do a tarot journal that I could add things to or re-arrange but wasn't in some 3-ring binder. This is PERFECT! Thanks!

    1 reply

    9 years ago on Introduction

    I love this. I had just been thinking the other day of doing something with the posts, but hadn't thought to pretty it up like you have. Brilliant.

    1 reply

    Thank you. I love the posts. It's amazing how one tiny piece of hardware can make something possible.