How to Repair a Torn Page in a Book

Updated on January 10, 2018
Mickie Gee profile image

Mickie Gee is a retired librarian and a grandmother. She learned all her tricks on the job!

Accidents happen!
Accidents happen! | Source

Fixing a Torn Page Is an Easy Repair to Make

One of the most common disasters to befall a 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. Please note: several pages were torn in this book, but I only make only one torn page repair at a time.

All images belong to me, Mickie Gee, unless otherwise stated. You may use with attribution.

**Note: For antiquarian/old collectible books, you'll need specialist advice that is NOT covered by this article**

Book Repairs Can Be Easily Done
Book Repairs Can Be Easily Done | Source

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:

  1. A thin paint brush or a toothpick
  2. Adhesive or glue that dries flexible (it will say so on the label).
  3. 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.
  4. 2 sheets of waxed paper torn to a size that you need to fit the book.
  5. Other books to act as weights

My favorite glue to repair books:

Elmer's E431  Craft Bond Fabric and Paper Glue, 4-Ounce, Clear
Elmer's E431 Craft Bond Fabric and Paper Glue, 4-Ounce, Clear

I have used this glue to repair many books. Elmer's is a name that you have trusted your whole life, isn't it?

This glue meets my #1 and #2 priority: it dries clear and flexible.


Tools to Apply Your Glue

A thin, detail paint brush or toothpick is essential to apply the glue to a torn page. It is OK to buy inexpensive brushes for a book repair project.

Remember to clean the brush with mild soap and warm water when you are finished applying the glue.

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. | Source

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


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 | Source

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.

Simple Book Repairs on Video

I find the method used to apply adhesive to a torn edge of a page quiet 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 for 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 | Source

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 | Source

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 | Source

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.

The Glue You Choose Should Dry Flexible!

The most important quality of a book repair glue!

You want your pages to be a natural as possible.

Read the label of the adhesive you are thinking about using.

Thank you for visiting this tutorial about how to repair a torn page in a book. I used a child'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.

© 2013 Mickie Goad

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

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    • profile image

      Gene Plummer 8 days ago

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

      Thanks for providing it.

    • profile image

      Nataly G 2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Deborah Lofton 2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      thanks for posting. i never thought to use waxpaper

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 4 years ago

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

    • TapIn2U profile image

      TapIn2U 4 years ago

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

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 4 years ago

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

    • Rosetta Slone profile image

      Rosetta Slone 4 years ago from Under a coconut tree

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

    • profile image

      miaponzo 4 years ago

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

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 4 years ago from Pittsburgh

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

    • NuttSoRuff profile image

      NuttSoRuff 4 years ago

      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 profile image

      gilsoffthehook lm 4 years ago

      Very helpful, Thanks!

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 4 years ago

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

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 4 years ago

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

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 4 years ago

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

    • Hairdresser007 profile image

      James Jordan 4 years ago from Burbank, CA

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

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

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

    • Klinetka profile image

      Klinetka 4 years ago

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

    • DLeighAlexander profile image

      DLeighAlexander 4 years ago

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

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 4 years ago from Topeka, KS

      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 profile image

      Mickie Goad 4 years ago

      @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 profile image

      Mickie Goad 4 years ago

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

    • MariaMontgomery profile image

      MariaMontgomery 4 years ago from Central Florida, USA

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

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 4 years ago from Diamondhead

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