How to Hand Sew a Binding for a Card or Booklet
There are many ways to join together pages for a card or booklet. Hand sewing your binding is a creative way to add a personal touch while providing a sturdy join for your pages. Hand sewing a binding is easier than you think and only requires a few basic materials.
- Your card or booklet materials (cover and pages)
- Strong thread - waxed macrame thread is a good choice, but many materials will work.
- Two needles - both needles must have eyes that will accept your thread. I used darning needles, but embroidery needles will also work.
- A sharp tool like an awl to make holes, but a large needle will also work
- Some scrap paper to make a hole guide
- Ruler, pen, and pencil
- Super glue
Read through the entire tutorial before starting. How you finish off your binding may determine the materials you use.
Directions For Hand Sewing a Binding
1. Take a ruler and create a sharp center fold in your cover and pages for your card or booklet. For my sample, I have a cardstock cover and 5 sheets of printer paper (folded in half) to create 10 pages for my booklet.
Making a Hole Guide
You will need to pre-punch the holes for your stitches and a hole guide will ensure that the holes in your cover and all your pages are aligned.
2. Cut a pieces of scrap paper that is 2 inches wide and as long as the spine of your card or booklet. Using a ruler, draw a straight line down the center of your hole guide.
3. With a ruler and pen, mark the location for the holes for your binding (see photo above). I made my holes a 1/2 inch apart. The space between your holes depends on the size of your book or card and the number of pages. Don't put your holes too close together for the paper might tear between the holes. I wouldn't put your holes any further apart than 1 inch.
4. Line up the center of your hole guide with the open spine of your cover (see photo above). Working on a piece of cardboard or foam, use your sharp tool to punch a hole through your hole guide and through your cover. Punch completely through your cover, making sure your holes are large enough to pass your needle through.
5. After punching your holes, turn your cover over and work your sharp tool through the holes from the other side. This will make sure that your holes are clean through.
6. Repeat Steps 4 and 5 for the pages of your card or booklet. I would only punch through 1 or 2 pages at a time.
Sewing Your Binding
7. Put the pages inside your book. Cut a piece of your thread that is about 4 1/2 times as long as the spine of your card or book, then thread one of your needles. Do not put a knot at the end of your thread.
8. Working from the outside, pass your threaded needle through the bottom hole of your spine, pulling the thread about halfway through.
9. Take your needle and thread, wrap it around the base of your spine and pass it through the bottom hole again from the outside to the inside center of your booklet (see photo above).
10. Now put your other needle on the other end of your thread.
11. Take your inside needle and pass it through the next hole, pulling your thread along with it (see photo above).
12. Take the needle and thread end that was on the outside and pass it through the hole that you just used to the inside. You will be passing both needles through the same hole, crossing your thread, making a figure 8 through the holes. Make sure that your stitches are snug, but without buckling or tearing your paper.
13. Repeat Steps 11 and 12 to stitch through all your holes, working back and forth through each hole with both needles. As you work, be careful not to wrinkle or crease your paper or cover.
When you are done, check that all your stitches are tight and close to the spine. You can tighten up your stitches by pulling gently on each one, working up from the bottom hole, from the outside to the inside.
Finishing Off Your Binding
There are a few ways to finish your binding:
Option 1- Tie a knot at the top or outside of your card or booklet. This knot will be visible, but gives you the opportunity to add decoration to your binding. This might be a good choice for cards, invitations, or journals.
- Using the two ends of your thread, tie a knot as close as possible to the spine of your book. Put a drop of super glue on the knot to hold it in place.
- When the glue is dry, you can add beads or charms to the ends of your threads for decoration.
Option 2 - This bind off will not be visible from the outside of your booklet and creates a clean sewn spine.
- Follow the directions through Step 12, sewing only to the second to last hole.
- Then take your outside needle and pull it through your last hole to the inside (see photo above).
- Using the needle that was on the inside, pull it through the last hole, passing through only the pages, but not the cover. Your needle and thread should end up in the inside cover of your booklet (see photo above).
- Take the needle that is in the inside spine of your book, wrap it around the top of your booklet, and pass it through the last hole of the cover only. The two ends of your thread should both be at the top hole in the inside cover of your booklet.
- Make sure all your stitches are tight and snug.
- Tie the two ends of your thread together in a tight knot in the inside cover of your card or booklet.
- Put a drop of super glue on the knot and let dry with your book open. Do not let the glue touch your pages or cover.
- When the glue is dry, you can trim the ends of your knot and tuck it behind your pages.
This inside bind off creates a clean look on both the outside and inside of your booklet.
Questions & Answers
© 2019 Donna Herron