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How to Repair a Torn Page in a Book

Author:

Mickie Gee is a retired librarian and a grandmother. She knows a little bit about a lot of topics. Life experiences are wonderful.

Oops! Another torn page to be repaired!

Accidents will happen when a book is well-used and loved.

Accidents will happen when a book is well-used and loved.

Fixing a Torn Page Is an Easy Repair to Make

One of the most common disasters to befall a much read and loved book is having a page torn or ripped. Thankfully, this is one of the simplest book repairs that you can do yourself.

Children, and even some adults, can be hard on books and sometimes damage them accidentally. Yes, a lot of you might read books digitally on a Kindle or other e-reader, but most of you secretly still love to hold a real book in your hands. I have several books that I have saved from my own childhood. If you take care of them, these precious books can last a lifetime or more.

The Peter Spier book about Noah's Ark that you see to the right was enthusiastically loved too much by my young grandson. Scroll down to see how I fixed this book using an appropriate glue and waxed paper. It was easy and you can make this repair easily, too. Keep in mind that this book had several torn pages, but I made sure to only repair one damaged page at a time.

Book Repairs Can Be Easily Done. On the job repairing "Make Way for Ducklings".

Book Repairs Can Be Easily Done. On the job repairing "Make Way for Ducklings".

What You Need

Torn pages in picture books occur quite innocently. Little children can love a book so much that they accidentally cause damage. Yes, sometimes anger can hurt a book, but mostly it is too much love.

To fix a torn page, you will need:

  • A thin paintbrush or a toothpick. This is essential to apply the glue to a torn page. It's fine to buy inexpensive brushes for a book repair project. Remember to clean the brush with mild soap and warm water when you finish applying the glue.
  • Adhesive or glue that dries clear and in a flexible state. I like using Elmer's Glue because meets these criteria.
  • Separate container for your glue. I like to use a small paper plate to squeeze a dime-sized dab onto so I can dip my brush. This way, I can keep the glue in the jar or bottle from drying up. A jar lid or even a piece of waxed paper will do just as well. Just use what you have on hand.
  • 2 sheets of waxed paper, torn to a size that you need to fit the book
  • Other books to act as weights

1. Examine the Torn Page and Pay Attention to the Details

Torn page in a child's picture book.

Torn page in a child's picture book.

Carefully examine the tear and make sure you can match up the edges and the details of the page. This will be your "dry run" for gluing the page back together. Pay attention to the details so the page will appear "like new" after you apply the glue and let it dry. Line the words or pictures up as best as you can.

2. Put Waxed Paper Behind the Torn Page to Protect the Other Pages

how-to-repair-a-torn-page

Put a sheet of waxed paper behind the page that needs the repair. You do not want to glue the pages together, just the torn pieces of one page.

3. Apply Glue to Torn Edges

apply glue to torn edge of book's page

apply glue to torn edge of book's page

Using a thin brush or toothpick, carefully apply the glue to one torn edge. Turning the brush as you move it along the tear helps in the application. See a helpful video below to watch this method for making this kind of repair.

Watch How to Make Simple Book Repairs

I find the method used to apply adhesive to a torn edge of a page quite interesting. The "artisan" uses a "repair stick" to apply the glue instead of a brush. The video also has instructions for tipping in a page and a signature of a book that has come loose. The last repair is fixes a tear on a page. The instructor is a pro and has some special equipment - like a real book press!

4. Apply Gentle Pressure

GENTLY press the glued torn pages together

GENTLY press the glued torn pages together

Gently press the torn edges together. You can use a soft cloth to wipe up glue that oozes out if you want.

5. More Waxed Paper!

2nd sheet of waxed paper to protect the page on top of the repair you made

2nd sheet of waxed paper to protect the page on top of the repair you made

Place your second sheet of waxed paper on top of the glued torn page.

6. Close the Book and Apply Weight

allow the repaired books to dry

allow the repaired books to dry

I use other books to apply the needed pressure to hold the repair in place long enough for the glue to dry. Sometimes 30 minutes is enough, but I like to let the glue sit for a day just to make sure. See, you do not need a professional book press to make this simple repair. See the Peter Spier book that I just repaired above?

The other books in this picture have been repaired and are drying, too. I used my tool tub on top of the books to add weight to the top repaired book. You could even use a can of soup.

Thank you for visiting this tutorial on how to repair a torn page in a book. I used a children's picture book for this lesson, but you can apply the method to other books as well. Are there any other book repairs you would like me to show you how to make? I will be glad to try to help you if I can.

Questions & Answers

Question: What do you do with the wax paper after a day when repairing a torn page in a book? Do you peel it off?

Answer: Yes. Wax paper will not generally stick to the glue.

© 2013 Mickie Gee

Did You Find This Tutorial Helpful? What Other Repairs Do You Need to Make to Your Precious Books?

Richard on October 01, 2019:

Museum Paper Conservator here: Please don't use Elmer's glue for repairing books and paper. Reversible wheat starch paste is used in libraries and museums for repairing paper, supported by thin Japanese paper on the back. If these can't be sourced, simple flour paste (flour and water) thinned to the consistency of milk will do the job, and lens tissue (for cleaning camera lenses) can be used on the back. A couple of small pieces of blotting paper (or similar absorbent paper) either side of the waxed paper will stop any distortions in the adjacent pages.

LoveGame on June 26, 2019:

Thanks for this article. For a while I had felt hopeless that there was a way to repair ripped paper without the result looking horrendously ugly and noticeable. I have a bookmark that I made by hand in senior year that is more or less my prized possession. Years after I made it, it suffered a nasty tear down the middle, but I managed to preserve it enough that it didn't completely rip in two. I held it together with a small piece of tape, but it looks so ugly and ruins the look of the bookmark. It's a small thing, but I was devastated over this, so this tutorial really helps me!

Margaret Reid on January 03, 2019:

I am always collecting and repairing used books. Recently I picked some up that had come out of their covers. They were originally stapled in. I tried to fix some torn pages, too. (Didn't have waxed paper, though!) Have you any idea how to get library ink stamps off books?

Nancy Sheppard on April 11, 2018:

Yes,Thank you I have a Mary Poppins book from 1943.You we’re very helpful.

Gene Plummer on January 13, 2018:

Local public library volunteer and have repaired stained pages. Will use this info for torn page repairs.

Thanks for providing it.

Nataly G on November 29, 2015:

My little one torn two pages from my new bible, will this method work for those thin pages? The pages are almost see thru :(

Deborah Lofton on July 20, 2015:

Do you have any advice for a book which the front cover has been completely torn off?

anonymous on May 28, 2013:

thanks for posting. i never thought to use waxpaper

Mickie Gee (author) on May 28, 2013:

@TapIn2U: So glad to be of help. Make sure you buy the correct glue!

TapIn2U on May 28, 2013:

So helpful! I have accidentally torn a page of my favorite book. Now I know how to fix that problem. Sundae ;-)

Mickie Gee (author) on May 23, 2013:

@Rosetta Slone: Thank you. I hope you will let me know how your repairs turn out. Send pictures!

Rosetta Slone from Under a coconut tree on May 22, 2013:

I have a toddler and several torn pages in our favourite books. This is a great tutorial!

miaponzo on May 21, 2013:

Boy!!! This is REALLY helpful!!!! Thanks for showing us how to do this!!!

Cynthia Davis from Pittsburgh on May 19, 2013:

Thanks for the tutorial on the proper way to repair a torn page. I always used tape and needless to say, it looked horrible.

Mickie Gee (author) on May 19, 2013:

@gilsoffthehook lm: You are welcome. It is my pleasure to help readers repair their beloved books.

NuttSoRuff on May 19, 2013:

I still do read paper books sometimes and there are some books you just like to always go back to so this will be really helpful because you never know when you might accidentally tear a page of a beloved book.

gilsoffthehook lm on May 19, 2013:

Very helpful, Thanks!

Mickie Gee (author) on May 19, 2013:

@DLeighAlexander: If you have or plan to have children, then you will have to repair a book.

Mickie Gee (author) on May 19, 2013:

@Klinetka: Tape is best when used to wrap a gift, not to repair a book.

Mickie Gee (author) on May 19, 2013:

@Hairdresser007: Yes, it pays to take time when repairing a book.

James Jordan from Burbank, CA on May 18, 2013:

WOW! So simple. It's just about being precise and paying attention to the details.

anonymous on May 18, 2013:

Very nice information and tricks, my nephew surely love these tricks, I'll aware him of this.

Klinetka on May 18, 2013:

This is a great tip. I usually use scotch tape but this is much better

DLeighAlexander on May 18, 2013:

Very helpful information, thanks for sharing your knowledge. Am sure this will come in handy sometime in the future.

Itaya Lightbourne from Topeka, KS on May 18, 2013:

Very well done tutorial! I love my books and many of them are old. I'll definitely keep these instructions in mind if I need to repair a torn page in one. :)

Mickie Gee (author) on May 18, 2013:

@Cynthia Haltom: If the book is not one that you want to keep forever (or at least for years and years), then a tape repair is fine. There are special tapes that professionals in the library use on torn pages. That kind of tape is a bit expensive for us ordinary people, so a glue is the best option.

Mickie Gee (author) on May 18, 2013:

@MariaMontgomery: Thanks, Maria! I appreciate the positive review.

MariaMontgomery from Central Florida, USA on May 17, 2013:

Mickie, this is a great lens. It is definitely worthy of a purple star or even LOTD!

Cynthia Haltom from Diamondhead on May 17, 2013:

What a great way to repair a torn page. I usually just use tape this looks so much better.