Monday, December 20, 2010

Tutorial: Book Binding: Creating the Pages

Awhile ago I learned book binding as a hobby, a way to express myself, and as an alternative to expensive store bought journals. I would like to share with you the knowledge that I've gleaned so that you too can create great looking journals. Enjoy!

Skill Level: Intermediate

  • Paper
  • Corner Punch- optional
  • Something to crease folds such as a bone folder
  • Pencil and Ruler
  • Something to punch holes with such as an awl
  • Large sharp sewing needle
  • Strong Thread such as book binding thread or hand-quilting thread
  • Glue and Paint Brush
  • Wax Paper
  • Binder Clips or something to hold the journal pages together

  1. Begin by using the corner punch to create decorative corners. I'm using a plain rounded corner punch but craft stores and online stores have all kinds of different options. You can also make different sized pages and journals by cutting them in half length or height wise. I am using a full sheet of 8.5"x11" paper for this journal.
  2. Group the pages by any number, for this journal I grouped 10 pages. Fold the pages in half and crease with your bone folder so there is a nice sharp crease through all the pages. Each group becomes a signature. For this journal I have 10 signatures for about 200 pages.
  3. Using the ruler and pencil, mark a dot 1 inch in from both edges on each signature. Depending on the size of your pages, you will need a total of 4 dots per group for the stitching. On my journal I have 2 groups and after marking the first dot I marked subsequent dots 3/4ths of an inch apart towards the center.
  4. Using your awl or sharp tool punch holes through each dot on each signature. I find it easiest to unfold each signature and pinch the pages together as I punch the awl through.
  5. Now comes the sewing! Thread your needle with the string thread and tie a knot 2-4 inches from the end. You'll need the long tail to secure your stitching. You'll be working with just 2 signatures at a time and works best when you have an even number of signatures. Once you learn the sequence the sewing becomes pretty quick.
  6. On your first signature go in #1, out #2, in #3, and out #4. Place your second signature below the first. Go in #5, out #6, go in #7 (also # 3 on the signature above), go out #8 (also #2 on the signature above), go in #9 on the second signature and out #10. Tie a knot with the string at the end of #1.
  7. Grab your next signature and place it underneath your previously completed pages. Go in #11, out #12, in #13 (also #9 on the signature above), out #14 (also #6 on the signature above), in #15, out #16. String the thread through the loop that was created between #4&5 on the signatures above.
  8. Grab your fourth signature and place it underneath your previously completed pages. Go in # 17, out #18, in #19 (also #15 on the signature above), out #20 (also #12 on the signature above), in #21, out #22. Tie a knot with the string from the end.
  9. Continue this sewing pattern until all your signatures are sewn together. Keep your string tight and squeeze the signatures together as you go so your binding isn't loose.
  10. When you are finished sewing apply a thick layer of glue to the spine and stitching. This will secure everything.
  11. Wrap the spine wax paper and clip closed with several binder clips. Allow to dry for at least an hour and overnight if possible.
And this concludes the first post in my book binding series. In the next few weeks I'll show you how to create the cover and put it all together.

I'd love to hear from you! Leave me a comment!

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