Friday, September 9, 2011

Trisha Too: Super Simple Bookbinding

Stuff you will need:
paper for the pages--plain, colored, or
various papers such as: security papers (from envelopes),
handmade papers, sheet music, ledger paper, pages from books,
vellum, patterned papers

heavy weight cardstock for cover--I usually collage mine first
punch tool—either a fancy Japanese screw punch or the type with
a needle like tip. If you do not have a punch tool, they are very
inexpensive, or you can make your own using a sturdy tapestry/darning
needle with the eye end shoved into the end of a large cork.

2 or 3 book binding clips--those big black clips with the silver
flippy sides, available in most office supply sections of stores,
or (where else?) any office supply store


some type of "thread"--waxed linen thread, beading thread,
embroidery floss, or narrow ribbon--whatever you want to use
to bind your book, cut about 4 times the length of
the side of your book cover, plus 6 inches or so

tapestry needle--basically any needle with an eye big enough to
hold your thread

work pad such as a folded up towel, magazine, phone book

What to do:
Determine how big you want to make your book, and cut or
tear the two cover pieces to size. I like using a ruler as
a straight edge and tearing at least one side of the cover,
leaving a distressed edge.

Now, select the various papers you’d like to use as pages in
your book. I generally use some ledger paper, vintage blank
music note paper, handmade papers, some patterned papers, and
vellum. You may prefer to have your pages all the same size;
I make mine a variety of sizes. You may even want some of the
pages to extend beyond the cover of your book—whatever your
personal preference.

If you plan to stamp on your pages, or distress the edges,
it’s a whole lot easier to do BEFORE binding the book, but
I almost always construct the book prior to knowing exactly
what's going to happen between the pages. If you decide to
distress/stamp/etc. before binding, keep in mind that your
pages are going to be bound about ¼ inch in from the left side.

On the front cover of the book, measure in about ¼ inch from
the book spine, and make a straight line from top to bottom.

About ¼ inch from the top, and ¼ inch from the bottom, make
a dot—these will be holes for binding.

Measure halfway between those two dots, and mark another hole
spot. You may want to stop with three holes, but if you prefer
five, measure again, half way between the middle hole and the
two outside holes, and making two more dots to punch.

After you have your hole spots marked, sandwich your lined-up
pages in between the covers, lining up the edges to be bound,
and clip together with a couple book binding clips. Place the
book sandwich on a work pad of some kind, such as a folded up
towel, old magazine, or phone book. This is so your don't
scratch up your table and dull your punch tool.

Carefully punch through the hole spots you marked, using the
punch tool. You may need to twist slightly, not just jab
straight through, depending on how thick your pages are.

Thread your tapestry needle and knot the end of your binding

Okay, are you ready for this? Here's a video, which is
a whole lot easier to follow than written directions
when it comes to something like this, but you'll have
to bear with me and be merciful. We've never made a
video before, and I sound like total dork, but at least
you'll be able to follow along . . . I hope . . . and
yes, that is a rooster crowing in the background!


  1. What a great tutorial, Trisha! Your video is brilliant, you don't sound like a dork at all - now if I made a video, that would be a dork! Much clearer to have it explained like this,

    Lucy x

  2. What a brilliant tutorial, you make it look so easy, and there's no way anyone could have put into words what you did on the video. In the words of House 'Monkey see, Monkey do', and that describes me perfctl lol
    Love your rooster in the background much better than Jeremy Kyle!

  3. awesome Japanese binding - love the idea of hiding the knot

  4. Finally, a book binding tutorial that I can follow! Many thanks!

  5. Fabulous tutorial! Thanks for sharing this with all of us. Your instructions are so easy to follow, well done!

  6. Thank you, everyone! Your kind comments really ARE appreciated!



Thanks for your wonderful words!

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