Making Simple Hardcover Books At Home

Making handmade books is a great way to present your work and we’ve found it a calming craft to keep our hands busy.

There are many traditional bookmaking styles out there to ensure your book or journal remains archival and well bound – standing the test of time. This tutorial will be a faster version, for folks who just need a quick journal. The pages won’t be stitched with some elaborate thread binding, this will be a single book signature with 1 knot tying the pages together at the seam.

Materials needed:

  1. Bone folder
  2. 10-15 sheets of your preferred paper (we just used some old French Paper Co. Samples)
  3. pH Neutral PVA Glue (reduces chances of the glue eating away at the paper over time)
  4. Paintbrush or Stippling Brush for gluing (remember to keep wet in a jar while working)
  5. Exacto Knife & Cutting Board
  6. Chip Board (Comes in various widths but the backs of old sketchbooks are usually fine)
  7. Pencil and Ruler for marking where to cut

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First, fold some sheets of 8.5 x11in paper in half, later on we’ll sew a bit of string in the folded seam to keep the pages together


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Cut down 2 pieces of chip board for the hardcover, this board is from the back of an old sketchbook- it should be at least a centimeter larger than the paper to protect the pages


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We’ll connect the two hardcovers together before adding the book-cloth, measure how wide the cloth should be by how it fits with the pages. We want about .5inches of the paper to touch the book-cloth the way an old Composition notebook might.


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Use the Bone folder to burnish out any air pockets from the PVA glue to make sure the cloth dries smoothly


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The sheets we use for the cover should be 1 inch or more longer than the board on all sides to fold around it (just about any paper works for bookmaking, it doesn’t have to be book-cloth)


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Glue down the outer cover first, then flip over to glue down each tab- slightly trimming the corner will help to make folding the tabs cleaner


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Example of the 2nd book having the tabs glued down


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When gluing, be sure to use the bone folder to remove any creases or air bubbles


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For a quick book like this we’re leaving out these tabs to glue onto the inner page seam-its a quick way to make sure the page signature is securely fitted into the hardcover


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There a few ways to secure the pages: putting down the inner pages first like this ensures the edges are even, but it may look uneven on the first page..


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The best way is to attach tabs on each side of the booklet.


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The seam with 2 tabs and a sewn knot in the signature.


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When gluing down the booklet we added glue to the tabs and the book-cloth all along the seam.


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After the booklet is glued down it is further secured by this additional layer of the inner cover sheets. it would take alot for these ages to fall out of this bind now.

Final step: Once the last bit of glue is secure, immediately stack your book in a safe, dry place and pile as many heavy flat items you can find to press the book down with weight. Leave the book pressed for at least 12hours. This will make sure the book cover and pages don’t buckle from the glue and everything dries flat.

I usually secure my books between sheets of chipboard and stack my macbook pro, along with big textbooks books and such on top for added weight. 😉

Annnnd you made it! Be sure to tag us on Instagram and share with us your progress-happy printing! @blkgrlswurld_zine

zines

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