DIY HARDBACK BOOK OR HARDCOVER BOOK part 1
BUILD YOUR OWN HARDBACK BOOK OR HARDCOVER BOOK
The art of book binding is an ancient craft, but actually it is not very difficult to do and with almost no practice you can finish it. If you are on the lookout for fun craft projects or quick ways of making nice presents and gifts, then this maybe a good idea for you.
I know that there are other Instructions on hardbound book binding but this one is a simple and quick project that will give a very acceptable finish, and a book that looks like it has been professionally made, yet without the need for any special equipment.
All you need are:
Minimum 32 (a multiple of 4) A4 or US Letter sized sheets, to make a half A4 (half US Letter sized book), although smaller books can be made as can ones with more pages. You can use tracing paper, thick or thin paper and of course colored or even preprinted or written on paper.
You will need PVA (Elmer's White glue) or a rubber fabric adhesive (in the UK that is called Copydex, perhaps someone could tell me what it's called in the US), (a glue gun if you have it, would help with one of the stages, but is not mandatory).
Some stiff cardboard or corrugated (fluted) cardboard, as usual the printing factory adopts grey board
Some fabric or leather
Any old stuff will do for the cover, as usual the printing factory adopts leather, PU,PVC, special paper and other material. I have used the fabric from some old pairs of trousers that were being thrown out (actually nothing gets thrown out in my house, just put to one side for later use). But you could use a bit of leather, some old curtains, cushion covers...etc etc, I'm sure you get the idea.
Step 1: Stack Your Paper Neatly in (at Least 4) Piles of 8 Sheets
You are going to be binding your paper in eight sheet folios. Of course you could do more or less. I have found eight sheets to be a good number. (the printing factory use 16pages,the end stack may be the other number or with blank pages)because you are folding it in half each sheet is going to make four pages of your book, so this eight sheet stack is going to make 32 pages.
Your book should have at least four of these eight sheet folios which will therefore make 128 pages. (Apologies to all the maths wizards out there).
You can use just plain paper or paper upon which you have already printed a header and footer (remember to get this the right way round and remember that there will be 4 headers and four footers per sheet of paper.
If you want to mix in different papers then remember that they will appear further into the book as well. (don't worry, this all becomes obvious as we go through the project).
Step 2: Fold Each Stack in Half
As neatly as possible and keeping the paper as lined up as possible, fold each pile of eight sheets in half cross-wise.
Step 3: Unfold the Paper and Turn Over
Making sure you keep the paper nice and straight, unfold each stack of eight sheets, and turn over.
Step 4: Staple the Pages Together
I have a long arm stapler ("bully for you", I hear you say), but if you don't have one of those, then no worries, just do the following:
Open out your stapler
Place the upturned paper stack on top of an eraser (positioned where you want to staple - which will be about two inches (5 cm) from the edge of the page exactly on the crease) and slowly but firmly push down on the stapler until you have stapled through the pages.
Turn the pages over, pull off the eraser and then fold over the staple ends with the blunt end of a dinner knife or your thumb nail, being careful not to break it / stab yourself.
Repeat at the other end of the crease so that each page has just two staples in it.
If you, like me, have a long arm stapler, simply staple the eight sheet stack in two places... I knew there was a good reason for borrowing that thing from work.
Step 5: Glue the Binding Onto the Folios
You are now going to make the heart of the book. You have made at least four of the eight sheet / 32 page folios and they need to be stuck together.
Firstly, cut a piece of thin fabric to the same length as the page height and about five times the thickness of all the folios held together.
Hold the folios tightly together and all lined up. Either get a friend to help or clip the folios together using giant paper clips or bull dog clips (or even a rubber band I guess).
When they are all nicely aligned apply glue to just the spines of the folios. You can use white glue for this (this was what white glue was originally made for BTW) but you must be careful not to let it drip down in to the gaps between the folios (maybe painting the fabric would be better.) Alternatively you can use hot melt for this part. Again, hot melt is used in industry for book binding, so it is perfect for the job.
Before it has a chance to set, quickly turn over the wad of folios and glue them to the piece of fabric so that some fabric sticks out each side (i.e. so that not all of the fabric is glued to the pages)
Step 6: Trim the Bound Folios
As Fugazzi has pointed out, you may be able to get your bound pages trimmed by a proper guillotine at your local one stop print or copy shop. Failing that read on...
If you want (and you don't have to) you can trim the folios a tiny bit. Beware that the first time you do this you might end up making more of a mess of the edge of the paper than if you just left it. It takes a bit of practice and a sharp craft knife or scalpel (definitely NOT something for children to do on their own).
If you want to trim, then the most important edge to trim is the edge opposite the binding, because when the paper is folded over all the pages get to be slightly different lengths depending on where they are in the folio stack.
The trick is to hold the rule very steady and take many repeated cuts being careful to cut in the same groove and try to make sure that at each cut the paper on at least one layer is cut from edge to edge. (BTW I know that the drawing I have done to illustrate this step does not show this method of trimming multiple sheets, but it is meant to be a bit figurative anyway).
If you have access to a proper guillotine that can cut through paper stacks (i.e. at work or at school) then this is the time to use that, it will give you the most awesome finish).
Trimming is by no means necessary.
Trimming or not, you have now finished the paper part of the book and it's time to move on to the cover...
Step 7: Mark and Cut Out the Cover Boards
Place the bound folios on a piece of stiff card so that the bound edge lines up with one straight edge and then draw round the paper allowing about a quarter of an inch / 5 mm border on the three other edges.
Cut the card out and then cut a duplicate.
Corrugated card is fine as the cover, as is thin foam core (foamboard), but the best kind of card is the stiff card that is used as the backing for drawing and sketching pads.
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