Book Binding Made Easy

Updated on December 22, 2017
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MsMillar has been a writer on HubPages for five plus years. She enjoys the freedom Hubpages allows for her to explore her creative side.

Book Binding at Home

My first book binding.
My first book binding. | Source

A Real Author

I've been a writer for several years. I have written many eBooks. What should come next? My book in print! I thought it would be really neat to have one of my better selling eBooks in print. I used one of those online publishing companies that come up when you run a publisher search online. This particular company already had my eBook on their website, and were doing a great job of marketing it for me. I thought maybe they could do the same for a print copy. It was a mere click of a button to have my eBook turned into a print copy.

To have your book put into print form is an incredible feeling! Your name, your book title, the story you wrote, all bound together in a real book! It makes you feel like you are finally a "real" author.

My First Paperback Through Amazon

My first paperback through Amazon.
My first paperback through Amazon. | Source

You Can Do This!

They did a great job on the book. I like it a lot, but it comes with a price. Nearly half of the royalties will be removed to pay for the binding. I thought, "That really sucks. I bet I can make my own binding. And it won't cost half of my royalties to do it!" And so I did.

You don't need to be a crafty person to do this. Can you use a printer? Can you cut with an X-acto, or other sharp object? Can you paste? That's all you need! We can go through the steps, with photos as well, together. It's easy to follow along. Let's do this!

Bind Your Book

Here's what we'll do: Just below this paragraph is a list of tools and items we will need to complete this project. Below the tools list are photo's depicting what your manuscript should look like at every stage. Below the photo's are the step-by-step instructions we need to follow.

This Is Our Table of Tools and Items Needed

ITEM
EXPLANATION
Your Manuscript
Your book is referred to as a manuscript.
Glue
A good, strong, glue. I use Gorilla Wood Glue.
A piece of heavy cardboard (like on the back of notepads).
This will be the structure for the cover. Make sure it is bigger than your book. Ex. 5" x 8" book = 2, 7" x 10" cardboard.
Clamps (at least two)
The clamps will hold the book together as it dries.
An exacto, or heavy duty paper cutter.
This will be used to trim the pages so they are neat.

Step-by-Step Photos

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Step #1  Here you have your manuscripts. Stack your manuscript in the proper order, paying close attention to the edges staying flush.Step #2  Place your manuscript in clamps. Tighten the claps.Step #3  Glue the spine edge. I use a paint brush to make sure every page has the glue on the edge. Allow to dry thoroughly.Step #4  Cut a length of fabric.  It should be the length of the book with wings of about one inch more than the width of the spine.Step #5  Put a strip of glue down the cloth.Step #7 Place the cloth on the spine of the pages and let dry.
Step #1  Here you have your manuscripts. Stack your manuscript in the proper order, paying close attention to the edges staying flush.
Step #1 Here you have your manuscripts. Stack your manuscript in the proper order, paying close attention to the edges staying flush.
Step #2  Place your manuscript in clamps. Tighten the claps.
Step #2 Place your manuscript in clamps. Tighten the claps.
Step #3  Glue the spine edge. I use a paint brush to make sure every page has the glue on the edge. Allow to dry thoroughly.
Step #3 Glue the spine edge. I use a paint brush to make sure every page has the glue on the edge. Allow to dry thoroughly.
Step #4  Cut a length of fabric.  It should be the length of the book with wings of about one inch more than the width of the spine.
Step #4 Cut a length of fabric. It should be the length of the book with wings of about one inch more than the width of the spine.
Step #5  Put a strip of glue down the cloth.
Step #5 Put a strip of glue down the cloth.
Step #7 Place the cloth on the spine of the pages and let dry.
Step #7 Place the cloth on the spine of the pages and let dry.

Preparing the Manuscript

Here is how we put the manuscript together for binding:

  1. Print your manuscript. 5" x 8", 6" x 9", 12" x 15", whatever size you want. This is your baby!
  2. Stack the pages of your printed manuscript neatly. Edges flush to one another. Using your clamps, or a heavy book,secure the pages. Make sure glue will not be able to seep between the pages of the spine area. Leave the edge of the papers that will serve as the spine exposed. When you have the manuscript held in place, glue the edge of the pages of the spine. I use a paint brush along the spine of the pages to make sure glue gets on every paper edge. Allow to dry thoroughly.
  3. Cut a swatch of cloth the length of the book and 3x the width. Glue this to the spine edge, centering the spine in the middle of the cloth. Then set on end to dry. This cloth will serve to keep the pages together along with the glue you already applied.
  4. When it is dry, take a straight edge, or ruler, and your exacto knife, and cut along the edges of the manuscript, including any over-shot cloth, so the pages are all clean and even. If you have an industrial paper cutter that would work best.

Take a Break!

Right on! You've made it this far and things are looking good! This is a good time to take a break before we go into the final steps of the binding process.

The Cover

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Step #1 Place the spine of your glued manuscript against the edge of the cardboard and trace around the edge leaving 1/2" extra around the edge except for the spine area.Step #2  Cut out two identical pieces, one will be the front, and the other will be the back covers. Cut a piece the length of the book and the height of the manuscript for a spine.Step #3 Lay the covers on your book cover material. Cut out the material leaving a 1" edge. Make a diagonal cut at each corner so they fold nicely when done.Step #4  Glue the material to the card board, then flip it over and glue the inside edge.Step #5  Glue the long side of the material to the cardboard, then the short side.Step #6   When the cover is dry, it is time to put the manuscript into it. With the "wings" out, apply glue to them, but not on the spine! Just on the wings. Carefully set the manuscript into the center of the book covers. Flatten the wings out.Step #7 Here you can see the book with its front cover open and a sheet of paper covers the front cover and the first page. This inside lining covers the glue and cut edging.Step #8 Put something in between the manuscript and the lining so it won't stick. Do the same to the back cover.
Step #1 Place the spine of your glued manuscript against the edge of the cardboard and trace around the edge leaving 1/2" extra around the edge except for the spine area.
Step #1 Place the spine of your glued manuscript against the edge of the cardboard and trace around the edge leaving 1/2" extra around the edge except for the spine area. | Source
Step #2  Cut out two identical pieces, one will be the front, and the other will be the back covers. Cut a piece the length of the book and the height of the manuscript for a spine.
Step #2 Cut out two identical pieces, one will be the front, and the other will be the back covers. Cut a piece the length of the book and the height of the manuscript for a spine.
Step #3 Lay the covers on your book cover material. Cut out the material leaving a 1" edge. Make a diagonal cut at each corner so they fold nicely when done.
Step #3 Lay the covers on your book cover material. Cut out the material leaving a 1" edge. Make a diagonal cut at each corner so they fold nicely when done.
Step #4  Glue the material to the card board, then flip it over and glue the inside edge.
Step #4 Glue the material to the card board, then flip it over and glue the inside edge.
Step #5  Glue the long side of the material to the cardboard, then the short side.
Step #5 Glue the long side of the material to the cardboard, then the short side.
Step #6   When the cover is dry, it is time to put the manuscript into it. With the "wings" out, apply glue to them, but not on the spine! Just on the wings. Carefully set the manuscript into the center of the book covers. Flatten the wings out.
Step #6 When the cover is dry, it is time to put the manuscript into it. With the "wings" out, apply glue to them, but not on the spine! Just on the wings. Carefully set the manuscript into the center of the book covers. Flatten the wings out.
Step #7 Here you can see the book with its front cover open and a sheet of paper covers the front cover and the first page. This inside lining covers the glue and cut edging.
Step #7 Here you can see the book with its front cover open and a sheet of paper covers the front cover and the first page. This inside lining covers the glue and cut edging.
Step #8 Put something in between the manuscript and the lining so it won't stick. Do the same to the back cover.
Step #8 Put something in between the manuscript and the lining so it won't stick. Do the same to the back cover.

Putting It Together

Your manuscript is dry, has a spine with cloth glued to it, including wings on the cloth.

This is the fun part! You can choose whatever material you like for the cover and the inside liner. Leather, cloth, blue jean, what ever you want for your book cover. The lining inside is your choice as well. I printed a design for the lining of my book.

Moving right along:

  1. Lay your manuscript with the spine along the edge of the cardboard cover material. Trace the outline of your manuscript leaving about a half inch around the edges of the manuscript. The extra half-inch will extend past the pages like a normal hard back book does.
  2. Carefully cut two identical pieces from your cardboard. One will be the front cover, the other the back. Also cut a strip the width of the manuscript and the same height as the front and back cover. This strip will serve as the book cover spine.
  3. Lay the book covers and spine down on the cloth you chose. Leave a small space between the covers and the spine (Approx. 1/2") so it will close properly. Draw an outline on the cloth adding 1" along the edge. The 1" overlay will be folded over later to make a nice edge on the book cover.
  4. Make sure the covers and spine are placed straight, and slightly apart (Approx. 1/2"), then glue the book covers, and spine to the material. Allow to dry.
  5. Flip the book cover, with the now attached material, over. In order for the corners to lie nice, cut a diagonal line across each corner as shown in the photo's. Along the length of the cover, fold that 1" overlay material over the edge and glue. Then, do the same on the short side. Allow to dry.
  6. Take your manuscript, with the cloth wings hanging out like a bird in flight, and put glue on the front cover where the wings will lay, and on the back cover where the wings will lay, but not on the spine (See photo). Lay your manuscript into the cover, manuscript spine against book spine, and press the wings firmly to the book covers. Let the wings dry thoroughly.
  7. Now for the liner. To cover all that nasty glue, and cut material edges, we put a liner down. Whatever you chose for a liner cut it to the size of your book with it's front cover open. See photo #7 for this one.
  8. Fold your liner paper/material in half. Paint the inside cover and the first page with glue and lay your liner across the two. Set something heavy on it to dry flat. Do the same to the back inside cover.

YOU ARE DONE!

My Book

This is my finished book. How did you do?
This is my finished book. How did you do? | Source

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