Craft, Paper

Intro to Bookbinding


Overview

Total Project Time:

I have always been fascinated by the art of bookbinding. I have always taken notice of how the pages are bound together and how each cover of the book compliments the book itself. This seemed like an intimating process.

I felt that way because I have a great love of notebooks. (I might have too many notebooks.) But there is not better way for a process to become unintimidating than by diving in and getting out on the other end!



Supplies

For this project, I gathered the following:

  • Paper, any paper will do
  • Thread, for binding the paper together
  • Needle
  • Cardboard, to create the book spine and cover
  • Cloth, for finishing the book spine and cover
  • Glue (Optional)
  • Double-Sided Tape (Optional)

The paper and cloth are the most important in terms of aesthetics. These two will be the main visible factors in the finished project.

Process

01

Prepping the Paper

When making a notebook, it’s important to know that you’ll need a piece of paper that is twice the size of the desired page. I wanted to start on the smaller side so I cut the paper in half which would make a page turn into four pages inside the book.

The next step is creating little booklets. I did this by taking ten pages and folding them all in half to create a booklet. These booklets will combine in the binding step. But before we can combine them, we need an area that the thread would be able to go through.

For this, I made six holes along the spine of each booklet to make weaving the thread easier. I made larger holes because this is my first time. I think I will gain a little more finesse as I explore how to make notebooks more.

02

Binding

I used the thread method for binding because I typically like thread bound books over ones that are attached together. There are many different binding techniques. While doing some research, I found:

  1. The Coptic Technique – This technique is the simplest with sections of book pages joined together via a single stitch.
  2. The Japanese Stabbing method – This will punch holes along the edge of the book rather than the spine.
  3. Long Stitch Technique – Typically has stitches sewn along the length of the spine, will often include sewing through the cover.
  4. French Link Stitch – Sewn onto tape as a tradition case binding, give the book more structure and usually isn’t visible.

I think what I ended up doing was something akin to a French link stitch. I wanted to have a sturdy structure for the binding, but I was expecting to hide the spine under some sort of cover. I didn’t bind the thread as tightly as I should have so the pages were a little floppier than I would have liked.

03

Creating the Cover

The last step in this process was creating a cover. I cut out three pieces of cardboard, one for the spine, and two for the front and back cover. I then laid this out along the piece of cloth that would become my exterior cover.

I left a little space between each piece of cardboard to allow for movement when opening and closing the book. I then attached the cardboard into place and wrapped the fabric around the edges to help really cover up the cardboard. We don’t need to see it.

Lastly, it was time to put the core of the book inside the cover. I took a half sheet of construction paper and connected it to the the first and last page. Then, I attached the other half of the construction paper to the cover which fully hid the cardboard and solidified the book inside of the cover.

Reflections

Bookbinding is something I have always been interested in. I love notebooks and have quite a few in my possession but I had never attempted to make one before. This process was easier than I was expecting. The most complicated part of all of this was the binding and that was due to the fact I chose a slightly higher complexity binding stitch.

For a really sturdy binding, I think doing a Coptic technique would make more sense. Especially for something that fully covers up the binding. My only real regret was not ironing the fabric because the creases on the fabric are very obvious. But that’s an easy step to add in on the next project!!  

Lessons

Types of Binding

  1. The Coptic Technique – This technique is the simplest with sections of book pages joined together via a single stitch.
  2. The Japanese Stabbing method – This will punch holes along the edge of the book rather than the spine.
  3. Long Stitch Technique – Typically has stitches sewn along the length of the spine, will often include sewing through the cover.
  4. French Link Stitch – Sewn onto tape as a tradition case binding, give the book more structure and usually isn’t visible.

Quick Recipe

Bookbinding

Active Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr

Equipment

  • 1 Pair of Scissors
  • 1 Embroidery Needle

Materials

  • 15 Pieces Paper
  • Thread for embroidery, white preferred
  • 3 Pieces Cardboard
  • 1 Piece Cloth
  • Glue optional, or double sided tape
  • Double-Sided Tape optional, or use glue

Instructions

  • Cut out paper to double the desired size.
  • Make into booklets with identical holes in the spine
  • Using tape and thread, connect the booklets together using the desired stitch method
  • Cut out carboard into the shape of the spine and covers.
  • Cut out fabric into on large sheet that can encapsulate the spice and cover as well as stretch out a little extra. (Iron fabric as needed)
  • Attach (using glue or double-sided tape) cardboard into place against fabric and wrap fabric around the edges of the cardboard.
  • Attach (using glue or double-sided tape) the first and last page of the notebook against each cover to hide the fabric seam and the cardboard

Notes

Be careful with the type of glue that you choose to use. Some glue might not adhere to the fabric and can seep through the fabric causing a mess on the table.

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