If you’re a self-published author and you dream of seeing your own work in print, you need to learn about DIY book binding. Creating a book through the art of book binding takes fragmented pages and ideas and turns them into a single object that can be easily distributed and used to drive your brand forward and attract a fan base.
In this guide, we’re going over everything to know about DIY book binding, including various book binding techniques and how to get started. DIY book binding
What Is DIY Book Binding?
DIY book binding is the process of creating a bound book yourself, without relying on a professional printing or book binding service. It can be a rewarding and creative way to produce your own customized books. Whether you want to craft a unique journal, cookbook, or photo album, DIY book binding lets you tailor your book to your specific needs and style.
3 Steps for DIY Book Binding
There are many different methods for making books, some of which can be accomplished with just a few special tools and a few hours of your time. However, if you want to scale your bookmaking, it’s best to work with a company that has the team and tools to create hardcover, softcover, or spiral-bound books.
Step 1. Decide on a DIY Book Binding Technique
The binding method you choose may depend on the size, content, and purpose of your book. For the most part, the three most common book binding techniques are saddle stitch, perfect binding, and saddle binding. Each technique produces a different type of book spine. Take a look.
Saddle stitch binding involves folding a stack of pages in half and sewing them together along the fold. It is a cost-effective and popular technique that works best for thinner books or booklets.
Saddle-stitched books are cost-effective and quick to make, though they don’t last as long as other book types. The finished product is lightweight and can stay flat when opened, which is suitable for cookbooks, calendars, catalogs, and even comic books.
You’re likely quite familiar with the look of perfect binding, which is another way of describing softcover or paperback books. Perfect-bound books are also relatively inexpensive and offer an attractive way to display your work. However, the spine and cover of perfect-bound books can be damaged.
This method works best for thick books with a higher page count, such as paperback novels, coffee table books, or instructional manuals. The finished product has a professional look and can lay flat, making it easy to read.
Spiral binding or wire binding, uses a wire or plastic coil that is threaded through a series of punched holes along the spine of a book. This bookbinding method is easy and low-cost to print, even in small amounts. This technique works well for notebooks, sketchbooks, journals, and manuals as it allows for easy page-turning and folding. Saddle binding also provides a durable, long-lasting binding that can withstand frequent use.
Step 2: Gather Your DIY Book Binding Supplies
When you’re setting out to DIY book binding by hand, there are a few standard instruments you’ll need to have around. You may consider purchasing a book binding kit or looking into each tool on its own. Either way, these items tend to be easy to find, and some book binding tools may even be available on Amazon Prime!
- Glue — Glue could be used to attach the cover of your book to the spine or create the cover itself. Many opt for pva glue along with a glue brush.
- Ruler — Look at any book you own, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find any part of it that isn’t precisely measured and cut. You can make sure your own homemade book looks just as precise by having a quality ruler that’s sturdy enough and long enough for your book project.
- Paper Cutter — An awl, and bone folder are helpful tools for achieving clean and precise finished products. An X-Acto knife is another tool that can allows you to get accurate cuts.
- Cutting Mat — To save your tables and counters from damage, you’ll also want to invest in a cutting mat that’s made to protect anything it’s lying on top of. Self-healing cutting mats are helpful as they’re specifically designed to withstand lots of use.
- Pencil — A pencil is great to have on hand to indicate where you need to cut or create holes.
- Paper — You can’t make a book without paper, so you’ll need to have a good amount of it. If you’re creating a blank notebook, you can use just about any paper, even patterned varieties. If you’re binding your own work, you’ll need to have it in a printed format.
Step 3: Different Techniques for How to Bind a Book
The process for DIY book binding can vary depending on the type of book binding technique you’ve chosen. To keep things simple, we’ve broken down how to bind a book according to 3 different methods.
For a saddle-stitched book, you’ll need most of the common items reviewed above, plus an awl or another tool for cutting holes, a needle and thread, binding clips, and wax. With your materials gathered, here is the general process:
- Compile all the pages of your book into one bundle and top them with the cover.
- After making sure the stack is neat, secure all the pages with the clips.
- Next, mark the spine of the book right down the middle of the stack of paper.
- With your pencil, create five marks on the line you just created and use your tool of choice to puncture holes on each of these marks.
- Take thread that you’ve already waxed and insert it into your needle before sewing through the holes you created. You’ll use a saddle stitch for this step.
- Finally, fold your book in half along the spine you created and sewed. Cut off any excess paper on your book if desired.
View this full tutorial and learn how to do a saddle stitch on Bookbinding Workshops Singapore.
In addition to some of the common materials mentioned earleir, you may need some bookbinding clips and a bone scorer or bone folder, which is a tool that helps you fold paper.
- The first thing you’ll do is assemble all your pages by folding a larger piece of paper in half and cutting them to make individual pages. This step is where you’ll use the bone scorer.
- Once you have all your pages, you’ll secure them together with your clips.
- Next, apply glue all over the side of your book that will be the spine. Spread multiple layers as needed and let dry completely.
- You can create the cover as the glue is drying. For a stiffer cover, use cardstock or another heavier paper. You will need a back, a front, and a thin piece of material to cover the spine.
- You’ll use these pieces, along with more decorative paper and some blank endpapers, to make the whole cover.
- Once the cover is assembled, you’ll glue your book inside, placing it under something heavy as it dries.
Spiral-binding books is easier with a machine, but it can be done by hand, as this tutorial shows.
- First, make the cover out of cardboard cut to desired dimensions. Leave the cover bare or cover it with decorative paper.
- Next, assemble your inner pages, keeping the total number to around 40 pages maximum for the best quality.
- Using your ruler and pencil, indicate a line that you’ll use as a guide for punching holes.
- Use a hole-punching tool to create closely-spaced holes along this line on all of your sheets of paper and the front and back covers.
- Once your pages are all hole-punched, gather and align all the pieces and clip them firmly on all sides but the spine.
- Create a spiral of wire by coiling it around a pen or another long, thin implement.
- Lastly, weave your pages together with the wire and fold over the ends of the wire to secure it.
For more detailed instructions, view this tutorial on wikiHow.
How to Print and Bind Books with Print Bind Ship
When you’re ready to scale your book production beyond just a few handmade items, you can reach out to a company such as Print Bind Ship to explore printing and book binding services.
Print Bind Ship is an experienced third-party logistics provider (3PL) that offers businesses a range of services from printing and book binding to packaging solutions and global shipping.
For self-published authors, in particular, Print Bind Ship can help to boost your brand, improve customer loyalty, and increase sales opportunities through hardcover and softcover book printing, custom packaging, subscription boxes, and more.
Book Editing, Shipping, and More
With a company like Print Bind Ship, you can have a partner in the entire process of book creation, including formatting, printing, binding, and beyond.
The book creation starts with your completed, edited manuscript. While proper formatting is a best practice before you send your work to a printer, a company such as Print Bind Ship can assist with formatting and work with you to finalize the product before printing.
You’ll have multiple options for binding your book, including some of the methods we’ve discussed in this article, but the company you work with to bind your book should be able to advise you on the best strategy for your project. Print Bind Ship is here to do exactly that!
Plus, if you work with a company that only does bookbinding, you may need to handle the distribution yourself. When you work with a 3PL like Print Bind Ship, books can be printed on demand and shipped globally.
Custom Packaging and Subscription Boxes
Think of famous authors and the branding of their book series. You’d recognize the Harry Potter branding a mile away—and the same goes for many other popular authors. This is just one reason it’s crucial for you as an author to have a solid brand that extends beyond just the covers of your books.
Custom labels and packages that coordinate instead of clashing with your brand can make you stand out in a crowded marketplace. When people receive a package from you with custom printing on it, they’ll begin to associate your brand with an attractive design. Not only that, but your customer’s friends and neighbors will also notice and begin to recognize your branding.
Print Bind Ship: Your Expert Resource for Bookbinding
Taking yourself seriously as a self-publishing author is a big step. Ultimately, becoming a self-publishing author means investing in products and partnerships that will further your personal brand.
If you’re still wondering how to get started, Print Bind Ship has experts that can help. You can discuss your bookbinding, how to bind books, and your printing needs as well as other services that could promote your new project.
Take advantage of our free consultations and get in touch today. Happy publishing!
There are numerous types of paper you can use for DIY book binding. Regular copier paper, construction paper, gloss paper, matt paper, handmade paper, and more. The possibilities are endless and the choice is up to you!
It’s best to wait at least a couple of hours to ensure the glue is fully dry before moving on to the next step in the DIY book binding process.
You’ll need paper, a measuring tape or ruler, glue, x-acto knife, cutting matt, and pencil. You should be able to find all the materials you need for DIY book binding at your local arts and crafts store.