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How to Bind a Book

Today most bookbinding is automated, so set your book apart by hand-binding it. The basic principles are easy to learn.


  • Step 1: Assemble the book pages Fold in half each of the sheets you want to assemble into a book. Open one of the folded sheets and slide a second one inside, slide the third sheet into the second one, and continue until all the sheets are inside of the first one.
  • Step 2: Add a cover Place the sheet of heavy cover stock over the folded sheets. Trim any overhanging edges from the pages with the scissors.
  • Step 3: Locate the binding points Open the book. With the pencil, place a dot in the middle of the centerfold. Add two more dots on the crease, one on either side of the center dot, each about halfway between the center dot and the edge of the page.
  • Step 4: Punch holes for the thread Punch a hole with the awl through all of the sheets of paper at each dot.
  • Step 5: Sew Thread a bookbinding needle with several feet of waxed thread. From the cover side of the book, push the needle through the center hole, leaving several inches of thread outside.
  • TIP: Thread from the inside of the book if you want the leftover threads to be on the inside.
  • Step 6: Finish sewing Push the needle through the bottom outer hole and pull the thread tight. Then push the needle through the top outer hole. Finally push the needle through the center hole again and remove the needle.
  • Step 7: Tie the thread ends Pull the two ends of the thread tight, and tie them together where they meet. Trim the excess thread with the scissors.
  • FACT: Did you know? Before 1820, all books were bound by hand, with leather covers wrapped around boards that had cords of pages sewn into them.

You Will Need

  • Sheets of paper
  • A sheet of heavy cover stock
  • Scissors
  • A pencil
  • A bookbinding awl
  • Waxed thread
  • A bookbinding needle

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