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How to... Bind a book

Posted by Kelly OConnor Digital and Events Marketing Coordinator

9th Jul 2012

I love to try out new craft ideas but I must admit when it comes to the finished article - it sometimes leaves something to be desired...

I've tried making badges, bags, shrink plastic jewellery, headbands and even knitting a ninja once!

So to celebrate Oxfam's Bookfest, I have decided to try my hand at Book Binding.

Bookfest takes place between the second to the fifteenth of July and is now in its fourth year. It aims to celebrate the role books play in people's lives and the impact that buying a book from Oxfam can have on the lives of people living in poverty around the world. If you want to find out more about Oxfam Books visit our books section on the website.

Not being an expert in the book binding area, I've called on the help of my good friends at Craft Creative, who provided me with a step by step guide on how to do it. This is a really easy method and took about an hour (with all the glue drying).

1)    Prepare your materials:

  • Cutting mat
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Pen/pencil
  • Stapler
  • Needle and thread
  • Paper (I used 20 sheets of A4)
  • Fabric (two pieces about A4 size) and a piece of fabric for the spine.
  • Cardboard (bigger than A4) - I got a box from my local shop for free.

2)    Separate the 20 sheets of paper into groups of five and fold down the middle. Add two staples to the centre fold about two inches either way from the top. Fold back over and this will create four small books.

3)   Take the cardboard and draw around one of the folded sheets, cut this out to create a back for your book. Do this twice. Then, for the spine of the book, take the height of the cut outs and draw a line on the cardboard and measure out how thick your four paper booklets are. Then cut this shape out to be your spine.

4)   Take the needle and thread. Thread the needle with a long piece of thread and then tie a knot. Poke a hole through your first booklet near to the fold at the bottom and wrap the thread around the centre fold. Then poke a hole (connecting booklet one to two) in the same place and repeat the process joining all four. Do this process again but at the other end of the booklet. This should secure the four booklets at either end to each other.

5)    Add glue to the centre spine and two pieces of cardboard backing. Place the stitched booklets on the spine and then the first and last page to the cardboard. Find something to keep the booklet in place (I used the glue and ruler box!) and wait until it is dry.

6)  Take one piece of fabric and lay the cardboard/booklet on top. Wrap around the edges and glue to the inside of the cardboard. Repeat on both sides. For the spine you can either sew it to the other pieces of fabric or (if your like me) you can staple it onto the other pieces of fabric. Fold over and add something heavy on top and leave to dry.

7) Your new fabric notebook is created!

Thanks to Craft Creative for the guide and I hope this inspires you to create your own note book. As this was my first attempt, it would be great to hear any tips or advice you have for binding books. 

Blog post written by Kelly OConnor

Digital and Events Marketing Coordinator

More by Kelly OConnor