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How to Make a Book: Binding a Hardback in 5 Simple Steps
When we talk about how to make a book in 2018, we often talk about exporting files to Kindles and other e-book readers. But what about the old-fashioned art of hand-making a book? Some people argue that bookbinding is a dying art, but we believe it has to make a comeback.
In this post, we’ll show you how to make a beautiful book. Not just any blank volume, but a beautiful novel, diary or non-fiction book – formatted to a professional standard and hardcover. Best of all, it shouldn’t cost you more than fifteen or twenty dollars!
So if you’ve written fiction or non-fiction and want to know how to make a copy that you can gift to someone special (or keep as a souvenir), just follow all the steps below. And if you want to create a blank notebook, you can skip ahead to step three.
You will learn how:
What you will need
Here’s what you need:
- Printing paper (A4 or Letter size), uncoated 70-80 g / m
- 2 sheets of decorated paper (A4 or Letter size), 90-100 g / m
- Elmera glue (or PVA glue)
- Hot glue gun (they cost like ten bucks)
- Carving knife
- Large bulldog clips
- Good quality material or paper (for the cover)
- Thin fabric (perhaps a large handkerchief or a special book)
- Metal ruler
- A felt pen
- High-quality cardboard
Once you have these “ingredients”, you are ready to learn how to make a book.
Take a deep breath (but no more coffee, you’ve had enough). Remember that all authors were exactly where you are now. Every successful writer – from William Shakespeare to Walt Whitman to Stephen King – began by staring at a blank page.
How to Make a Book – Materials
For this project you will need:
- blank paper (30-100 sheets, depending on the thickness of the book)
- cardboard or mounting plate – 2 sheets, for the front and back covers
- nice paper * – 2 types, for inside and outside covers
- ribbon – a few feet long, 6 mm wide
- punch (or drill: optional)
- glue stick
- bull clips
That’s it! This is much easier than with traditional book binding as you don’t need any special adhesives.
* I usually use scrapbooking paper, but reader Hannah wrote that wrapping paper works too – thanks for the tip Hannah!
How to Make a Book – Instructions
Unfold blank paper. Here I use 30 sheets of high quality 6 by 8 inch writing paper. You can use as many or several sheets as you like. I think 30 sheets is a good size for a photo album. For a journal, you probably want 50 or more.
Cut two sheets of cardboard exactly the same size as the blank paper, eg 6 “by 8” in my case. Take one of the cardboard pieces and draw two vertical lines on it. The first line should be 1 “(2.5 cm) from the left edge and the second line should be slightly less than 1” (exactly 3.5 cm) from the left edge.
Repeat for the second piece of cardboard.
Using scissors or a craft knife, cut along the lines you drew in the previous step. Basically, you finish removing a thin (less than ½ inch, or exactly 1 cm) strip from each piece of cardboard.