Screw Post Binding




Introduction: Screw Post Binding

About: art director, nerd, nomad

The beauty of a screw post bound book is that it is extremely easy to change or update. I chose to use screw post binding for my portfolio so I only have to switch out pages when I need to update it. This instructable shows how to create the covers and assemble your book.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

You should be able to find everything you need at art supply stores like Blick or Paper Source. I estimate the cost of everything was around $80.


  • 2 book binding boards – at least 1/4" bigger on each side than your interior pages
  • linen tape
  • 2 screw posts
  • bookcloth – I would get 2 sheets/rolls, but it depends on the size of your book
  • 2 sheets of decorative inside cover paper
  • PVA glue
  • methyl cellulose (optional) – helps keep PVA from drying too quickly
  • wax paper
  • scrap paper – covers your work area so you can get your deposit back on your apartment later :)
  • several heavy books – keeps your covers from warping while they dry


  • cutting mat
  • ruler
  • utility/x-acto knife – the board is heavy-duty stuff. even with a utility knife, you'll need to make several repetitive cuts.
  • glue brush
  • bone folder
  • pencil
  • adjustable 3-hole punch
  • some sort of book board hole punch or drill
  • awl

Step 2: Preparation

Figure out what size you want your pages to be. Anything over 8.5"x11" is large format printing, and will increase your cost. I think the details of your work will get lost or your layout will feel cramped in that small of a book, however. Many thanks to my friend Ben who graciously printed my pages for free.

My final page size was something like 13.75"x11". I left a 1.75" margin on the right side to accommodate the binding, so my printable area was 12"x11".

Use an adjustable 3-hole punch to figure out where your screw posts are going to be. This will be trial and error, depending on your hole punch. I unscrewed all but one punch and used that to punch two holes by flipping the paper.

Step 3: Mixing the Glue

IMPORTANT:  The methyl cellulose needs to sit overnight to gel. Mix it a day earlier than you want to start binding your book.

Methyl cellulose:  I bought this in powder form. Add hot water until the container is half full. Stir until dissolved. Fill container with cold water while stirring until mixture appears more clear. Let stand overnight until mixture is a light, clear gel.

PVA + Methyl cellulose:  In a separate container, mix 3 parts PVA (60%) and 1 part methyl cellulose (40%). PVA alone dries very quickly. This mixture should give you a little more time for repositioning and smoothing out air bubbles.

Step 4: Measure and Cut Your Cover Boards and Spines

Covers:  Measure 1/2" taller than your interior pages. Measure at least 1/2" wider than the printable area of your interior pages.

Spines:  Measure 1/2" taller than your interior pages. Take the width of your measured cover board and add 1/4". Now subtract that from (the width of your interior pages + 1/2"). The result should be the width of your spine. The width of my spines were about 1 3/8" each.

Cut boards down to size. This will take a while. Be careful, you want your boards to be identical!

Spine holes:  Use your interior pages as a guide. Lay one down on the spine, 1/4" away from the top, bottom and edge. Mark with a pencil on the board where the hole punches through the paper are. Use your hole punch/drill on the marked areas.

Step 5: Use Linen Tape to Hinge Spine and Cover Boards

Cut linen tape into 2 equal pieces, about 2" taller than the spines.

On the adhesive side, measure 1" up from the bottom and mark with pencil. Measure 1/4" in from the left edge of tape and mark with pencil.

Moisten adhesive side of tape with water. Place spine along pencil marks, make sure it's straight, and press firmly.

Measure 1/4" from edge of the adhered spine and mark tape with pencil. This will be your gutter for the hinge.

Moisten tape and place cover board along the 1/4" mark. Make sure it's square with the spine and press firmly.

Moisten top and bottom of the linen tape. Fold it over the spine and cover.

Push tape into joint and smooth with bone folder.

Step 6: Glue Hinged Covers to Bookcloth

Cut two pieces of book cloth about 2" taller and 1 1/2"-2" wider than your hinged covers.

On the reverse (non-cloth) side of your bookcloth, measure approx. 1/2" from the left edge and 1" from the bottom. Mark with pencil.

Lay your board so the side covered by linen tape is face down. Apply glue to your board.

Flip over board and place it to the right of the 1/2" pencil mark on the bookcloth. Eyeball it so it looks centered between the top and bottom.

Flip the cover and bookcloth over. Working quickly, use the edge of the bone folder to smooth the cloth into the gutter. Then use it to smooth out any air bubbles along the entire bookcloth.

Turn the cover with the adhered bookcloth back over. If it seems like your boards are beginning to warp, place your heavy books evenly distributed on top of the board until the glue is dry.

Measure 3/16" out from each corner of your board and mark with pencil. Cut your bookcloth corners at a 45 degree angle using the pencil marks as a margin.

Apply glue to book cloth flaps. Fold top flap over and pull it tight over the edge of the cover. Do the same for the other flaps.

Make sure all your edges are smooth. Let dry. If you haven't already, place the heavy books on top of your boards to prevent warping. You may want to place wax paper between the covers and the books.

Step 7: Adding Inside Cover Paper

Measure and cut your cover papers so they are 1/4" smaller than your covers on each side.

Apply glue to back of paper. Flip over and center on the inside of your cover.

Use the bone folder to smooth the paper into the gutter and smooth out air bubbles.

Place wax paper over your covers and equally distribute heavy books on top. Let dry for several hours.

Step 8: Assembly and Binding

After everything is dry, use your fingers to find the holes in the spine underneath the cloth. Use an awl to puncture the cloth through the holes. Enlarge until the long piece of the screw fits through the bottom.

Place your bottom screw pieces through the back cover. Add the interior pages. Add the front cover. Place the screw heads into the posts and tighten.

Congratulations! You just made a book.

1 Person Made This Project!


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8 Discussions

This is a great tutorial and you can get most any screwpost size and color at


6 years ago on Introduction

Nice tutorial, but if it costs $80 to make this yourself, isn't it easier to just buy one at at a similar price?


8 years ago on Step 8

Yes, but you should keep in mind that printing may not be exact. So either take it to a printer and tell them the exact dimensions of your page and where it needs to be scored and hole-punched, or print it yourself on oversized paper with guides for cutting and scoring.

To add or remove pages, you just need to unscrew the screw posts and take off the cover. You can only add as many pages as your screw post is long, though.


8 years ago on Step 8

it is possible to print the pages later and add them hey??


9 years ago on Introduction

was wondering if your scored all the pages in the book for easier flipping? Was wondering if this makes it easier because my professor suggested this but I never tried scoring all the pages. Should not be necessary if the paper is under 100# text right?


Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

I did score all my pages. I find it's easier to flip/more consistent when you score it (I used the back edge of my exacto).

Your mileage may vary, but I would recommend scoring with a book this size no matter what the paper weight.


10 years ago on Introduction

so good to find these instructions, doing a fine arts degree and this is my first assignment. Really helpful thanks!!!


10 years ago on Introduction

Very nice!  With the addition of a couple of steps, this is what we use at my job for binding a thesis book for a grad student...Good instructions!