How to Print and Bind a Booklet




About: Retired techie in love with crafts, cooking, and all things creative.

As a new premium member, I was excited to choose the Glue Class as my first Instructables class. Since I was going to be traveling, I wanted to read the text from the class on my plane flight. My preference was to read from printed pages instead of a digital format, so I set out to download and print the PDF that came with the class. Unfortunately the pdf was 83 pages. That's a lot of printing and a lot of pages to carry. So... I printed the PDF as a booklet. This reduced the number of pages by half. I then used a bookbinding stitch called the pamphlet stitch to hold the pages together. The solution worked perfectly.

By the way, the class was amazing and I learned a lot.

This instructable will review the two very cool techniques that I used.

  1. Printing a pdf as a booklet
  2. Binding a booklet together using the pamphlet stitch.

If you’re like me, you will find these techniques handy for a variety of print projects.

Step 1: Prepare Your Materials

This project requires the following.

  • Scissors
  • Awl or needle tool
  • 36 inches of string (embroidery floss, waxed linen thread, or nylon thread)
  • Needle with eye big enough for the string
  • Ability to print two-sided

Step 2: Print

When you print your PDF, select "Booklet" in the Page Size & Handling dialog box. When it prints, it will print landscape with 2 pages per sheet side by side in the proper order for folding in half. Due to the way it prints, a two sided printer is required for this to work.

This is a pretty slick feature that I use for most of my print projects. It saves a lot of paper, but be warned that the print will be smaller than a full sized sheet.

For this 83 page PDF, I decided to make two booklets (pages 1-41 and 42-83).

Step 3: Fold in Half

Fold the booklet in half.

Step 4: Prepare Hole Template and Poke Holes

Prepare your template.

  1. Cut a piece of scratch paper 3 x 8.5 inches
  2. Mark the middle
  3. Mark 1 inch from the top
  4. Mark 1 inch from the bottom

Use the template and your awl or needle tool to poke small holes through the layers of paper. This may require you to divide the pages into smaller sections to make it easier to go through the layers. The number of holes required for the pamphlet stitch varies. For our simple needs, we will be doing a 3 hole stitch (top, middle, bottom).

Note: There is a nice Instructable for an alternative Pamphlet stitch. Check it out below.

Step 5: Stitch

Don't let the number of pictures scare you. The pamphlet stitch is really quite simple and fast. Here's the process.

  1. Starting from the inside, sew through the middle hole to the outside. Pull through leaving a small tail (about 5 inches).
  2. From the outside, sew through the top hole. Pull through.
  3. From the inside, sew through the bottom hole. Pull through.
  4. From the outside, sew through the middle hole. Pull through. This leaves the ending tail. It should lay opposite the beginning tail.
  5. Check to make sure the string is taut. Adjust if needed.
  6. Tie an overhand knot.
  7. Trim.

Step 6: Enjoy

You now have a nifty bound "unplugged" booklet that you can read on an airplane while munching on peanuts.



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    8 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Amazing!!! Thank you so much for your kind words about my class! I actually learned a lot about glue when I was taking a couple semesters of Book Arts in college! It's how I fell in love with using an awl, such a useful tool! Do you ever use a bone folder for creasing your pages? It's so satisfying to make folds that way. Love your projects, followed!

    3 replies

    Reply 1 year ago

    Ah yes. The bone folder. Can't live without it. Sounds like art school was a great experience for you.Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge. Can't wait to try the syringe for deleciate glueing. Also, I'm a PVA kind of gal and I always forget about rubber cement. Anxious to try out your ideas.


    Reply 1 year ago

    For book binding, go for rubber cement, or Gum Arabia - PVA tends to set hard, where as gum arabia stays flexible. I wish I could get gum arabia in Finland: I've asked around and no one seems to know what it is!


    Reply 1 year ago

    I'm anxious to do more with rubber cement and learning more about Gum Arabia. Thanks for the info.


    Tip 1 year ago on Step 6

    Unfortunately, I don't have any photos, as it was done many years ago.
    But, I found that that more than about 40 pages (10 sheets of paper), tended to become too thick to folder and bind neatly.
    For a book with over a hundred pages, I would print it up in booklet format, in batches of forty pages.
    I made the binding stitches closer together, at about an inch (2½ cm) apart.
    Then, stacking the booklets together, I threaded cotton though the booklets' stitching to hold them altogether.
    You need to loop around the top stitches few times to secure it, then weave in and out between the stitches, working your way done the to the bottom stitch, where again you loop around several times to secure it.

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks for your terrific tips alloydog. Great point about printing in batches. That's really important for this project--for printing as well as sewing. Thanks also for your stitching diagram.


    1 year ago

    This is fantastic! Definitely going to share this instructable with people asking for an offline version of my classes. :)

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    Wow. Thanks. Something tells me I'm gonna be doing some more printing. My next class will be your embroidery class.