How To Bind A Book for Smaller Projects

6:20:00 PM

After endlessly searching for printing locations to print book projects I have created in the past couple of months. It seems that I can not find such place in proximity that can do such a thing, or at least correctly. So I had to learn to bind my own book for smaller projects or small booklets. I am using this for traditional sewing materials. It is recommended that you use binding materials, which I will own soon. You can find binding materials at art stores, Amazon, or Ebay. One recommended site is Shepherds London.


Set up your book's template in InDesign by creating a new document. It depends on how you want your book to be set up to determine your page size, columns and margins. Add an additional 10mm to the inside margin (to accommodate the stitching), and a 3mm bleed if you plan to print to the edge of the page. Check "facing pages" box to view your design as a spread.


When you're ready to print, export your document as a PDF. Under "Marks and Bleeds", click "Crop Marks", and Use Document Bleed Settings. The pages need to be printed double-sided - either via your printer settings, or by manually printing all odd pages, then all evens.

Put your pages in the correct order, draw a line on the top page to mark the top and bottom between the crop marks, and use an Xacto knife to cut through the inner page crop marks closest to the spine. If you have multiple pages, you may need to cut in sections because it may be too thick to cut at once.

STEP 3: 

Along the line of the done, poke holes beginning from the edges of the marked spine and work your way to the middle. Depending on the size of the book, you may need more holes. Make sure the holes are spaced evenly.

To stitch the pages, use a bookbinding needle and linen thread, four times the page height. Thread your needle like you would if you was sewing. Starting at the middle hole, push the needle up through the back of your pages, leaving a little loose thread remaining. Go around the spine and back up through the same hole, holding the loose thread to keep the pages tight.

Go to the next hole in either direction, thread your needle down, around and back up through, then along to the next hole. Repeat this process to the end, then weave the thread back along the length to the center, ensuring it runs along the length of the spine on both sides.

At the middle hole, repeat this process along the second half of the book. You should end at the middle hole and tie off using the loose thread. Cut off any remaining thread about from the knot.


Place your book between two clean boards or two heavy books to lay the pages flat. With a paintbrush, glue the spine together with a fine layer of PVA glue.  When the glue is dry, trim any excess off the edges. Afterwards, cut a piece of frayknot or thin piece of scrap paper to line and cover the spine. It should be the same length as the spine. Make sure it wraps around the spine and use a bone folder to press against it.


Create a new document in InDesign for the cover design, set to the height of your pages and four times the width (plus the measurement of your spine), with a 3mm bleed around the edges. Drag two guides towards the center to indicate where the spine will be, then measure the width of a page out from either side of this to show where the gatefolds will be. As before, when you are exporting the PDF, don't forget to include crop marks and bleed. Print out the design and measure where the central spine folds. Make sure all of your measurements are correct. If you use double the size of your book pages, then it should wrap around your book smoothly. The final result turned out better than I thought it would. Practice this a few times and you may waste a lot of paper, but it will save you in the long run trying to get a professional print for your smaller projects.

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