Glue Book Binding Method (Stairs)

I present here a method of binding a stack of paper with glue. It utilizes a simple finger technique which allows to apply glue to all of the pages of the stack at once. Here, right at the beginning I'll explain the idea of the technology, then I'll show the example of how I do it and provide some additional thoughts.

The steps (see the drawing):

  • start with a stack of paper, right aligned
  • shift the pages so they form a stairs pattern (see below)
  • apply the glue to all the stairs
  • revert back to the initial alignment
  • apply pressure and wait for the glue to set

To form this stairs pattern you need a finger technique which is best explained by the animated demonstration. The main idea is that you bend the stack when your left arm firmly holds the stack, and you unbend the stack when your right arm is holding. It is better to first have some practice on any stack of paper (the bigger the size, the easier to do). After some practice you'll be able to make nice uniform shift of any stack of paper you can hold. (I use pages from old notebook in the demo, so the stack remains bound on its left side all the time. All you need to do after applying the glue is just loose the grip and let pages go as they were. You just use a binder clip for the stack of paper to remember its right alignment.)

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Step 1: Demo

Now I'll give an example of the whole process. I'll use my old notebook. I cut away the binding so that I start from scratch.

  • I align my stack of papers against the table and the last side is the one to be bound. I put a binder clip on the opposite side.
  • Then I perform that shifting technique to produce the stairs alignment. (That inevitably produces the paper bump near the binder clip.)
  • After I achieved the desired exposure of the each sheet (about 1 mm), I place two clips on the sides and I'm ready to apply the glue.
  • While gluing move the stick or the brush downstairs, so to speak. It is good to place some waste paper underneath to be able to freely glue everything to the very sides. (My sheets are kind of short so the bump is so big it doesn't allow me to place the structure flat on the table (not much of a problem if you work with larger pages or fewer of them). I use a book to have some flat surface under.)
  • Then I remove the two clips and make the paper reach its initial alignment. My paper is very soft already and the glue made it even softer, plus my stick glue is sticky which makes the back shift of the stack harder. But still I managed to do it.
  • Lastly I apply some pressure while glue sets.

After the glue sets we have a nicely bound stack of paper.

Step 2: Final Thoughts

The intention of this instructable was to introduce the method, you'll be able to add covers by yourself or using other instructables.

The strong point of this method is comparably large area of the sheet to which the glue is applied. There are many books out there bound only by applying the glue to the side of the aligned stack of sheets. If your stack of paper is very big, or you want the shift (and glued area) to be larger you might want to divide it in smaller ones and after binding each glue them together.

In my demo I struggled a bit to have the pages back to initial alignment. It is easier to work with stiffer paper. Ordinary office paper is stiff enough. And liquid glue like white PVA is not only stronger but also allows the sheets to move to the initial alignment much easier.

The downside of the method is obviously the book produced refuses to open easily. At least it won't break apart if you master the technique and use nice strong glue. In some uses it is not a problem. For example I make disposable notebooks out of paper used (printed) on one of the sides and just tear off a leaf when I need it.

Finally here is a demo of how strong the bind might be, see the photo. These are A4 format pages bound on the short side with PVA glue. 1 litre bottle is more than half full and the binding is far from tearing.

And another animated picture shows me doing the technique in normal tempo. Note bending the stack to the both sides.

Please put this instructable on its proper place in the Paper contest by voting.

Industrial engineering representatives who'd like to build book-binding factories utilizing this method please PM me.

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