I developed this binding method as a quick and (fairly) cheap way of binding my portfolio. It's a nice, clean, and slightly quirky way to bind together any number of pages. You'll need about 20 mins and about $16 worth of supplies to get started. A new package of rivets is dirt cheap, so once you start using this method it's really cost effective.
Step 1: Prep
Before you can start binding you'll need something to bind. And, if it's something printed, there's a few rules you should follow.
1. leave 1/2" of space on the edge of the paper you want to bind
2. print on oversized paper and use at least a 1/4" of bleed space (assuming you're cutting this yourself, if not a 1/8" bleed will do)
3. if you're printing double sided, put crop marks on every other page. otherwise put them on every page.
4. and this is the biggie, put marks for the hole's you'll be making on your top page. These should be light and centered about 1/4" (or half the space you left in step 1) from the edge of the page.
You'll also have to decide on your cover. If you want the rivets hidden, leave an extra 1/2" on one end that you'll score and fold under. You can also make wrap covers, like I use on my portfolio, but these take a little more finessing to make lay flat.
Step 2: Gather Your Supplies
So now you have your insides and cover printed and cut. You'll need a few more things in order to start binding:
1. A hole punch. This is not the kind you used in elementary school. You can find a hole punch specifically for leather work at most craft stores. It should have a punch the exact size of the rivet you plan to use. Hopefully you'll be able to find the stick kind. I was only able to find a rotary one which I ripped the rotary head out of. This was not fun and not for people afraid of being stabbed by bits of metal.
2. A package of rivets with a rivet setter. You'll find this right next to the hole punch. You won't be using the anvil, but you will need the setter. After your first project you can buy the rivets on their own.
3. A hammer. Hopefully you already have one. If not, use a big rock.
4. Something clean for underneath/on top of your insides and cover. I use a manila folder and a plain piece of paper.
5. A concrete slab. You're going to be pounding in a minute and if you're not on concrete you're going to make a lot of noise. I find basements work well for this.
Step 3: Make Some Holes!
Lay down your under-sheet and then, making sure they are aligned properly, your stack of insides. Place you non-dominant hand on the stack around your hole marking. Press down and keep pressing, this will keep your stack from shifting. Protect the part of your stack not shielded by your hand with your cover sheet. Place the hole punch over the hole and hammer away until you've gone all the way through. This can take quite a few hits, so be patient.
*Note* If you're making a cover with visible rivets, you can make the holes in that as well by adding it the the bottom of your stack. If you're doing this, skip the next step.
Step 4: Make Some More Holes (in Your Cover)!
You're insides are ready to be assembled but you still need to make holes in your cover. To place these holes properly, remove the top and bottom sheets from your stack of insides. Place the bottom sheet so that the holes you've made in it are over the folded over 1/2" you made during prep and so that the rest of the sheet lies just how you want it to when the whole thing's assembled. Take you hole punch and press it into the holes hard enough so that it leaves a mark on the cover material. Do not use your hammer, you'll just make a hole. Repeat with the top cover and top sheet.
Now that your holes are marked, unfold the 1/2" flaps on your covers, place the hole punch over the marks and lightly tap it with your hammer until you've made a hole.
Step 5: Assembly
You're almost done! Now comes the (more) fun part. Unfold your bottom cover and stick to appropriately sized rivets through the holes you've made. Then thread those rivets up through your stack of insides. You should be able to do this all in one go. Finally, place the unfolded top cover on top. You'll know that your rivet is the right length if it just barely peeks out from the top of this completed stack. If its too short or too long, you probably have a different sized rivet in the package you just bought.
Place the rivet cap on top of the rivet, cover it with the rivet setter and pound away with your hammer. (There will be instructions for how to do this on the package you bought. Follow them, but don't but the anvil underneath, this will just cause shifting.) Repeat for all the other rivets.
Hurrah, you've bound your first whatever it is that you decided to bind!
Step 6: The Finishing Touch
You're basically done. However, if you're like me and used thick paper for your insides (65lb, in my case, to keep the color from bleeding through) it's probably not too fun to turn your pages. This has a quick fix. Take an x-acto blade (hopefully you have one of these) and run it down the length of each page right along the spine. Then bend each page toward the front and then the back cover. Now your project should open easily. It might also looked a little bended by the spine. Just leave it under a big heavy thing for a few hours and it'll look good as new.
Please don't try this if you've printed on normal printer paper, you'll just cut though your page!
Step 7: And You're Done.
You're all finished!
If you make a project using this technique (or improve on it!) I'd love to get a photo. If you'll let me, I'll add it to this page too.
Thanks for taking a look!
And now for some shameless self-plugging
If you'd like to take a look at what's inside my portfolio, you can check out my online version at: