What is Thermal Binding?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Thermal binding is a common method used to create a binding for books and booklets. The process involves using strips to secure the loose pages together and then sealing the strips with the application of heat. Sometimes referred to as tape binding, the process of thermal binding is ideal for use when there is a need to add a professional touch to booklets and formal documents produced for use by businesses and other organizations.

Woman standing behind a stack of books
Woman standing behind a stack of books

Unlike other forms of binding, the thermal book binding approach does not require the creation of holes in the pages or the insertion of a spine. Binding equipment is used to position and heat plastic or tape strips so that the pages of the document are securely bound into a solid volume. When a front and back cover is added to the pages, the thermal binding creates a finished look that is produced at very little cost.

Because of the secure hold created with thermal binding, any books or booklets assembled with this binding method can be opened and laid flat. This is especially helpful with workbooks or other types of study material. Readers can lay the book completely flat if necessary, making it possible to use the hands for other purposes such as taking notes or highlighting passages. At the same time, there are no worries of damaging the book in some manner, such as accidentally breaking the spine.

Several different types of covers can be utilized with a thermal binding project. When preparing a formal proposal, using a stiff linen back cover with a clear plastic front cover may be an ideal combination. For formal reports such as quarterly financial reports to shareholders, stiff front and back covers embossed with the company name and logo are often preferred. The covers can be composed of different weights and textures of paper or plastic, since the amount of heat required to bind the tape to the pages and covers is sufficient to create the seal, but not enough to cause the materials to ignite.

Along with creating covers from textured paper, it is also possible to purchase commercial hard back bindings in several sizes. When utilizing hard covers, it is necessary to use a thermal binding machine with adjustable heating controls in order to create the proper seal to the binding. However, simpler machines with a single heat setting will work fine for binding soft covers to collections of pages.

Businesses and other organizations can effectively use thermal binding to create a sleek and attractive appearance to all their documents without employing the services of a professional printer. Cost-effective and simple to manage, thermal binding works well whether creating a few booklets for a presentation or a larger number of resources for use in marketing and sales campaigns.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


I just recently started reading about thermal binding. It is amazing! - Aaron


Thanks for such a nice article about thermal binding. More people should definitely give thermal binding a go. --Jeff M.

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