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What Are the Best Tips for DIY Book Binding?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 04 September 2016
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The DIY book binding process can be a fun project for kids and adults alike, but having the proper tools for the job will make the project a lot simpler, easier, and more fun. It is best to assemble the tools necessary for the DIY book binding process before getting started to ensure the process can be completed from start to finish with no interruptions. It is also possible to buy jigs for bookbinding, but if the person doing the project has some carpentry skills, he or she can make a jig from scratch using scrap wood and some hardware.

The jig is an important tool for DIY book binding because it will clamp the pages in place for gluing and will prevent shifting of pages and the cover as the glue sets. The size of the jig will ultimately depend on the size of the book being bound, so it is best to consider this before starting the project. If the person doing the binding will be making several books, the jig will help him or her maintain uniformity during the DIY book binding process, thereby ensuring all books look and feel the same.

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Make sure to choose the proper materials for the DIY book binding process. The glue used to secure the pages to the cover should be a flexible glue that will not crack when the pages are turned; the cover of the book should be a thick paper or board that will help protect the internal pages from damage. Linen paper or other thick papers make attractive covers; it is possible to buy papers specifically designed for book binding as well. Such paper will generally cost more, but they will help make the book look its best and will help preserve the finished book for the long term.

Clear out an adequate work space for the DIY book binding project and make sure this work surface is well lit, dry, and protected from moisture and other potentially damaging materials. This will help reduce the risk of damage to the book as it is being bound. As the glue dries on the binding of the book, it will be necessary to leave the jig-bound book in a place where people will not accidentally strike it, spill things on it, or otherwise disturb it, so think carefully about the workspace ahead of time to ensure the project will go smoothly and unmolested.

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irontoenail
Post 3

I have a friend who makes little pop-up books for people as gifts. She learned how in a weekend class once and has been doing it ever since. Although, she showed me a few websites that explain the basics, so I don't think it's necessary to go to a class.

I had forgotten how much fun a pop-up book could be until she showed me one of hers. Now I look for them in the library and they can be really intricate and incredible. I keep meaning to learn how to make one myself, but I never seem to find the time.

If someone was making homemade pop-up books for adults, I would certainly be interested in checking those out though. It seems like the kind of thing that a professional could do very well at.

umbra21
Post 2

@clintflint - I agree, some of the handmade books out there are astonishingly beautiful, particularly when people are capable of sculpting the leather into patterns, or inlaying the cover material with jewels.

I actually think treating books as works of art is the way to go now, considering that so many people prefer to read books on handheld devices, but are more than happy to collect art for their homes.

clintflint
Post 1

One of the best things about taking up book binding for a hobby is that there are plenty of different projects you can undertake, and they range from the very easy (and usually cheap), to the very difficult and more expensive.

If you want to see what beautiful results you might get, do a search on Google for "book binding" and you can admire the beautiful results. There are so many different materials and techniques and they all result in something different.

I just wish that people did this more often, with the intention of making a finished work. I'd love to collect more hand bound books, but they are often just blank journals and I have more than enough of those.

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