What you will need:
Gather your materials and plan out your book.
Cut out & fold your pages.
|A group of 5 signatures, each 16 pages long, made from 4 pieces of paper|
Cut out your page sheets the height of your book by 2 times the width of your book. Each of these sheets will become four pages. Fold each of these sheets in half, making a very crisp fold. I used a bone tool, but your fingernail, a ruler, or a pencil can do the trick, too.
Note: the first page of your first signature and last page of your last signature will not be visible in the finished book.
Signature: In printing, a signature is a group of pages bound together.
Fore edge: the side of the book that opens, opposite the spine.
Assemble your signatures by nesting your cut and folded sheets.
|6 holes in the spine, each 1/8 inch apart|
Initially I tried to put five sheets in a signature, but they did not fit. I went with only four sheets per signature which worked a little better and gave me 16 pages per signature. This is where using the super fine Origami paper comes in. It is important to remember that paper has some depth, and when working in this small of scale, it has more than you expect, especially once it is folded.
Measure, Mark and Drill Signatures for Stitching
|Drill holes with the needle from inside the Signature|
You will need six holes in each of your signatures. It is easier to mark them if you keep them the same distance apart. Decide how far apart you want your holes, and how far from either the top or bottom of the book you will start them.
|Single Signature with Holes|
Once you are sure of your measurements, make certain your signature is lined up, and drill holes from the center page out, through the entire signature at once.
|There is more space on the bottom than top, but each is the same.|
Repeat with all your signatures, making sure that the holes line up with each other on each signature.
Take a moment to use a binder clip and put your freshly drilled signatures together on the fore edge to see if your book’s spine is as thick as you’d like it. Add more signatures if desired.
|This is where I started to really get excited.|
Stitch your first signature
|This picture is pretty, and the thread is pretty long.|
This part can be a bit tricky. It is also very important, so be sure to take the time to do it right.
Begin by cutting a fairly long bit of thread. My thread for this book was probably two feet.
Fold the thread in half, and thread the needle with the cut ends. Or, thread the needle on the folded middle and run the needle down the threads to near the cut ends.
|No knots here. Just thread the needle through the end loop.|
Open your first signature and attach the binder clip to one end of the sheets. This is important as you pages will slide around and drive you crazy if you don’t. Also, your stitching will not be as tight and will weaken your bindery overall.
Stitch your Next Signature, Attaching it to the First.
Lay your next signature atop the stitched signature and line up your holes. Move the binder clip to hold all of Signature 1, and half of Signature 2.
|It’s coming together! Literally!|
Run your needle and thread from the OUTSIDE/SPINE of Signature 2, through the bottom hole, toward the INSIDE. Pull tight. You won’t be able to pull tight without your binder clip holding everything steady.
|Tie a knot between Signatures 1 & 2|
|Simple knot, nothing fancy.|
Run the needle and thread from the spine to the inside in the next hole, and back out the next one up.
|Back in again!|
Repeat the tying process every time the needle come out the spine on the outside. Your two signatures should be held together in four points: top, two middle stitches, and the bottom.
Stitch your Next Signature
Lay your next signature atop the stitched signatures and line up your holes. Move the binder clip to hold all of your previous signatures and half of your current one.
Place your first stitch from the Spine toward the interior. Come back toward the spine on the next one down, knotting in the stitch from the previous signature.
|Don’t forget to stitch together the ends!|
Repeat for the remaining holes. When you reach the last hole, remember to tie it to the previous signatures before moving on.
|Five signatures total.|
Repeat step 7 ad naseum, or until you’ve added all the signatures you want. Remember to use your binder clip and keep things tight!
|We’re starting to look like a real book here!|
Knot off your thread well and cut the excess.
Cut and Attach Endpapers to Signatures
Using your lovely, stiff paper, you will cut out some endpapers. These papers will be seen on the inside cover of your book and before the first page and after the last page. Again, I used scrapbooking paper for this because I wanted it to be pretty.
|Some part of me is always sad they’re not green.|
Cut out two pieces of stiff paper the same size as your original sheets of paper (same height but double width of folded signature). Fold these in half so that they are the same size as your bound pages. Make sure the pretty side is in.
Glue an endpage to the front and one to the back of your bound set of signatures with the fold in line with your book’s spine. Be careful that the glue doesn’t squeeze out and get all over your pages. Put the binder clips on both the spine and fore edge until the glue has set. Remove spine side binder clip for the next step.
Cut and Attach Spine Backing (& Bookmark if Desired)
With your totally awesomely stitched signatures secured tightly in your binder clip, measure the width of your spine. Now add about 1/2 inch to that.
|Scored and folded. Don’t forget the binder clip!|
Cut a piece of your stiff paper (Item #2 on the materials list) to the (exact height of your pages) by (spine width plus 1/2 inch). My book, being 1.5 inches tall, has an inner spine inlay of 1.5″ by about .75″.
Next, make two folds in the center of your backing, so that the distance between the folds is slightly larger than your spine width. Slightly larger being about the-thickness-of-the-backing-paper larger.
Because I used scrapbook paper, my backing would not fold cleanly. I wound up using an exacto knife to score one side of the paper and get a good fold.
— If you want a bookmark, now is the time.
Cut a piece of ribbon or string to your desired length. Place it between the signature binding and backing paper during the next step. —
|Inlay and bookmark glued, use the binder clips for 10 minutes.|
Next, Make sure you still have your binder clip on the fore edge of you signatures, leaving the spine exposed. Place glue on the inside of you backing paper, over the entire inner surface. Be careful not to use too much, as it can make a mess on your pages.
Place the signature spine between the folds of the backing paper in the glue. Bend the backing and glue to the sides of your book. Quickly put another binder clip on the spine backing paper! Now leave it alone for at least 10 minutes. Stretch, get a snack, whatever, just don’t open it too soon. 🙂
Measure and Cut Spine Inlay and Case
|When you can’t find what you need it’s time to get creative.|
Time to make the structure of your cover! I couldn’t find anything suitable at the craft store as a stand-alone item, but these little gift tags were perfect.
Making certain that your comers are a solid 90 degree angle, cut two identical pieces of the cardboard to your desired book size. I strongly suggest making them the same size as your bound signatures. The cover wrapping will make the finished cover just larger than your book interior.
|Measured and marked, ready to cut.|
Next, cut out the spine inlay from your stiff paper. This should be the same height as your book, and twice the current width of your spine. If the spine inlay is not wide enough your book will not close properly.
Remember that your spine is wider now than it was when you measured it for the backing paper.
|Ready for the last couple steps!|
Assemble the Cover
This is a good time to test your cover material’s ability to hold glue, especially if it is fabric. The fabric I purchased oozed glue through it, and the beautiful pattern on the black cloth was obscured. I ended up folding it in half and the glue from the boards was enough to hold it in place.
|Folded cloth, ready to be made into a cover.|
|Rough cut material with boards and inlay, ready to glue|
Lay your cover boards out, one to either side of your spine inlay, on top of the cover material. There is no need for precise measurements at this point, you will trim down the material after gluing the boards and inlay.
Next, spread a nice, even layer of glue on your spine inlay, and glue it, straight as possible, onto the wrap material. Likewise, glue the cover boards to either side of the spine inlay.
It is important here to make sure everything lines up very nice and straight. There is no need to overlap your inlay and cover boards.
|Trimmed wrap with glued Spine Inlay and cover boards|
Pressing with something heavy while the glue dries is a good idea at this point, though not strictly necessary.
Once the glue on your boards, spine and wrap are dry, trim down your wrap material, leaving about 1/8 inch or so on each side. You want enough material from your wrap to hold securely to the inside of your cover.
|Cut out small triangle sin corners, leaving 2mm space uncut|
Cut the corners as shown in the picture to the right, leaving about 2 mm of uncut cloth around each side.
Warning: Do not cut all the way to the cardboard! If you cut all the way to the cardboard it will show through after wrapping.
|Glue in the corners of the wrap|
Wrap the Cover
We’re almost finished! Time to wrap the cover.
Fold the corners of your wrap material over the corners of your cover boards and glue them.
|Glue in the edges.|
Now, glue in the edges of your wrap.
|Almost ready for final assembly!|
|Curve the spine.|
Curve the spine
This is a very simple but very important step.
Bend your spine inlay over something round, such as a pencil or straw. Lacking these, just try to bend it so it is nicely curved or rolled.
If you skip this step your book will not open nicely once assembled.
|Awaiting the glue|
Final Step – Attaching the Cover
We made it to the final step! A few warnings before we begin.
– Be careful! This step is crucial to the finished look of your book, and you won’t get a second chance
– Use the binder clips after gluing! It is imperative that after gluing, the binder clips are attached on both the fore edge and spine and left there for at least 10 minutes while the glue sets. Otherwise your cover will not sit straight on the book.
– Line up your cover with the spine of the book! The boards from your wrapped cover should line up exactly with the spine of your bound pages. the Spine Inlay should not touch your pages at all. Be precise.
Once you’re sure you’ve got these thing ready, spread glue evenly on the inner part of your front cover and press the outer side of your endpaper to it. The line of the spine must line up with the line of the cover board.
Put the binder clips on and wait at least 5 minutes before repeating the process for the back cover. make sure to line up the spine with the cover board. Put the clips on and wait for 10 minutes before playing with it. This will essentially ‘close’ your book.
Note: The spine inlay get no glue. There should be space between the spine inlay and the spine.
Post- Assembly Check
Your book is now finished! You only need to check to make sure it works properly. Your cover should open and close easily and smoothly. There should be no tugging or tension on the spine. When open the spine inlay should make a lovely little semi-circle.
Congratulations! You made a book!
If it didn’t turn out, learn from your mistakes and then try, try again!
|While generally bad for a book, this is a good test of the spine.|
|A nice little rounded spine.|
|A matched pair|
|The mess it all left.|
|I added the chain by drilling a hole in the spine with the needle.|
|I threaded a ring through the hole and attached the chain.|
|The various decorations were then added to the ring and chain.|
|Cute set of valentine’s gifts 🙂|