How to Manufacture and Use Your Own Book Binding Jig




About: Team Go Awesome was founded in the Spring of 2014 for the English 421 Class: Technical Writing. These instructions were developed for Project #2.

Creating your own book binding jig and book is quite simple. These instructions will help you build your book binding jig. This could be used for a notebook, a drawing book, or even a diary. These instructions are most helpful for those who have basic knowledge of a saw and drill. Follow these instructions to create your own book or notebook!

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Step 1: List of Required Materials

• Two square feet of ¾- inch MDF board
• Saw
• Hand drill or drill press
• Four- 1/8 – by 1 ½ inch bolts (Figure 3)
• Four- 1/8-inch wing nuts (Figure 2)
• Four- 1/8-inch washers (Figure 5)
• Two- ¼-inch wing nuts (Figure 1)
• Two- ¼-inch washers (Figure 5)
• Two- ¼ by 3-inch bolts (Figure 4)
• Carpenters square
• Wood glue
• 8 ½ by 11 inch paper (desired amount)
• One- 8 ½ by 13 inch cover paper
• X-Acto knife

Step 2: Safety Information

WARNING: When using a saw be sure to wear the proper protection equipment, like safety glasses. Operate the saw according to manufacturer’s recommendations. Keep hands away from the rotating saw blade. Please keep children away from saw when operating. As you use the drill press, be aware of where your hands are in relation to the drill bit. Be sure to clamp or hold the wood stable while drilling the holes. Prevent cutting or slicing yourself while using the X-Acto knife by using the knife properly.

Step 3: Manufacturing Instructions

Cut a 12 ½ by 6 ½ inch section of board using the saw. (Be sure to use proper safety when operating the saw. Refer to the safety information above.)

Step 4: Manufacturing Instructions

Cut two 12 ½ by 1 inch brackets from a new piece of MDF board.
One will be the alignment bracket and the other will be the clamping bracket.

Step 5: Manufacturing Instructions

Cut one 4 ½ by 1 inch bracket from a new piece of MDF board.  This will be the side alignment bracket.

Step 6: Manufacturing Instructions

Position the alignment and clamping brackets flush with the edge of the board. Secure each with a C-clamp, or anything else that ensures the bracket will not move, before drilling the holes for the attachment bolts.

Step 7: Manufacturing Instructions

Drill two- ¼ inch holes through the board and brackets. Ensure that the brackets do not move out of place while drilling so that the holes are aligned and straight. (Be sure to use proper safety when operating the hand drill or drill press. Refer to page 2 for safety information.)

Note: After the ¼ inch holes are drilled in the clamping bracket, get a slightly lager diameter drill bit and drill through the same holes. The larger diameter holes will allow the bracket to slide and adjust to the edge of the board when clamping the pages.

Step 8: Assembly Instructions

Attach the bottom alignment bracket to the main board by inserting two 1/8-inch bolts through the pre-drilled holes.

Step 9: Assembly Instructions

Slide the 1/8 inch washers onto the bolts, and then tighten the 1/8 inch wing nut on the bolts.

Step 10: Assembly Instructions

 Attach the side alignment bracket to the main board using the same method used to attach the bottom alignment bracket.

Step 11: Assembly Instructions

Use the carpenter’s square to check for proper alignment

Step 12: Assembly Instructions

Attach the clamping bracket using the same method used to attach the bottom and side alignment brackets.
Use ¼ by 3-inch bolts, ¼ inch wing nuts, and ¼ inch washers.

Step 13: Creating the Book

Take one sheet of the 8 ½ by 11 inch paper and fold it in half.

Step 14: Creating the Book

Fold however many sheets you would like to put into the book.

Step 15: Creating the Book

Place the pages into the book binding jig, with the folded edges at the top.  This requires the removal of the clamping bracket to allow the pages to fit

Step 16: Creating the Book

The folded edges should stick out from the edge of the jig just enough to allow glue to seep in between them.

Step 17: Creating the Book

Make sure the pages are lined up with the alignment boards.

Step 18: Creating the Book

Slide the clamp down and tighten the bolts to press the pages together. This will become the bound edge of the book.

Step 19: Creating the Book

Apply the glue to the top of the folded pages. Do not oversaturate the paper with glue, but allow glue to seep an 1/8 inch in between the pages.

Step 20: Creating the Book

Allow the glue to dry for several hours.

Step 21: Creating the Book

Cut out an 8 ½ by 13 inch of paper (preferably a thicker paper than the book pages) that will be used as the cover. 

Step 22: Creating the Book

Place the cover for the book (the 8 1/2 by 13 inch paper) into the jig, underneath the clamping bracket.

Step 23: Creating the Book

Apply a small amount of glue to where the cover meets the glued pages. Fold the cover page over the glued folded pages and press the cover page down. 

Step 24: Creating the Book

After the glue is dry it can be removed from the jig.
Note: Refer to gluing instructions for drying time

Step 25: Creating the Book

Trim the sides of book with an X-Acto knife and ruler to ensure flush edges.

Step 26: Conclusions

The book is now finished! As you can see, building a book binding jig and creating your own book is quite simple. Now you’ve just created your own book that can be used for multiple purposes.

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    18 Discussions

    Thalion Othar

    7 months ago on Step 26

    Instructables says it downloads the file, but only a 0 byte pdf is received.... Help.


    3 years ago

    I used to work as a book binder also. We used hot glue on our books that were perfect bind.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    And I managed to delete my question :-/

    Let me rectify that. since I got all this nice informative answers.
    Why, do you fold the pages, when it seems to me, unfolded pages, will glue just as well as folded pages?
    Besides, if you dont fold it, you have bigger pages potentialy.

    2 replies

    When perfect binding using single sheets of paper after clamping you then take a sharp knife and score in a criss cross pattern to create a larger surface area for the glue. Each system has it's pros and cons. I used to be a printer for many years.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I was part of the team that helped make this Instructable for a class project. You don't have to fold the pages, but then you will need to make some sort of groves at the spine so that the glue has more surface area to seep into, making a stronger bond. Folding the pages into signatures (I didn't actually stack the pages into signatures, i treated each folded page as a signature) creates groves at the spine to allow the glue to seep in between the pages. This was just an attempt to quickly make a cheap class notebook. I will make another Instructable on how to make a higher quality book that can be used for a journal or something of that sort, which will have sown/glued signatures with a hardcover.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    This method of binding is called "perfect binding" - many thicker magazines and your cheap-o paperback books do this. It's less sturdy than stitching, but perfectly serviceable.


    5 years ago

    going to have to do this with my cub scouts


    5 years ago on Step 26

    Nice instructable. I prefer to do simple stitched books, as going to the trouble to make a book, I love the more permanent method of sewing. However this inspires me to do a jig for pressing the covers and for making a stitching jig for Japanese bound books. Thanks for the inspiration.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Many years ago I reinforced a large 10.75 x 8.25 x 5/16" paperback cookbook since I planned on often referring to it. I drilled small holes every 1/4" near the binding and sewed heavy thread thru the holes.

    It has held up very well except the pasteboard cover show the wear caused by many hinge type flexes along the sewed edge.

    I wonder if wood glue is the best glue for binding. Paper is wood, but would :-) a more flexible glue like Gorilla Glue (urethane glue) or another rubbery glue be more appropriate?

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    professional bookbinders use glue they make their selves, it's a really simple recipe but if you don't want ot make it yourself there is only one type of glue that is widly used with bookbinders, and it is called PVA glue, a variety of companies sell this type of glue, some are better than others and some are more eco-friendly with low or no VOCs. Just depends on your spending budget and needs. just remember that if the book is valuable, VOC off-gassing is *not* a good thing. Just to keep that in mind.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I think primarily because most signatures (a set of folded pages) in books of this nature have holes put into them with an awl, then threaded and linked together with a ribbon or something similar before you glue the spine. The author may be setting up for later instructables for these steps to have longer lasting spines.

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Mishna, why don't you write that instructable? I bet yours also would be terrific.


    5 years ago

    Ooh, I like this! you sir, have probably just saved me $20 or so on a journal. Or better yet, I could make a book of my favorite instructables. Just a thought.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Great ible'! I'm going to do one of these and make a replica of Mage: The Ascension as a gift for a friend of mine.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Folding the pages into signatures results in more pages for the same number of sheets, and as observed by Mishna results in a more durable book because it inherently traps the pages within the book. Besides, that's the traditional method used for binding books. When you bind printed books you actually have to print fewer sheets if you print more than one sheet on a page and fold the page to form multiple pages.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Although, yes, flat sheets of paper could be bound in this. But folded looks more professional, and besides, why cut the paper down to size if you can just fold it?

    on the other hand, if you make the jig big enough, you can just put unfolded pages straight in to it lol


    5 years ago

    Thanks! :D this should help me with my River Song Journal replica! :)