With so much discussion of books lately, I've had an almost insatiable desire to make one by hand. . .
. . . from scratch. . .
. . . with just the right stitches. . .
. . . and a hand drawn book plate.
Because when one story is complete. . .
. . . it's time for another to begin.
Simple Cloth Bound Book:
- Book board (or cardboard from the back of a drawing pad)
- Sturdy thread or string
- White glue
- Ribbon (optional)
- A button (optional)
First, decide the size you would like your book to be. You can either cut your pages to the prefered size, or use a stack of ready made paper (or even the pages from a sketch pad).
Once you have the size you would like, cut out two pieces of cardboard or book board that are the same width as the paper but one quarter inch taller than the paper. After you have cut out those pieces, cut a 3/4" strip off of one side of each (see image above).
Lay these pieces out on top of your fabric so that they resemble the orientation of the pieces in the second image (above). There should be 1/8" gap between the narrow strips and the wider boards. The gap in the center of the two 3/4" strips should reflect the width of your stack of paper. When these pieces are laid out on the cloth, cut the cloth so that there is a 1/4" - 1/2" border along each side.
At this point you will need to make the holes in your paper and book board for the stitching. You can simply make three holes or you can make six as depicted above. To make the holes use a hammer and nail (make sure to have a piece of scrap wood underneath) . If your paper stack is shifting at all, try punching holes in smaller stacks of paper at a time.
Once you have your holes, lay out the cardboard/book board on your fabric again. Place a bit of glue around the edge and fold the fabric around the inside of the board like a package ( you are only folding the 1/4" - 1/2" overlap). If the small strips of board are not staying in place, you can put a thin layer of glue on the entire back side and stick them to the fabric before you fold over the edges.
After the fabric is glued to the boards, place your stack of paper inside the structure and fold the back and front bindings around it. With a needle and thread, feel for the holes in the board and sew through all of the layers in whatever pattern suits you best. If you'd like, once the sewing is complete, you can also wrap thread around the indentation (where the 1/8" gaps in the board are).
Once the boards are sewn to the paper stack, spread a thin coat of glue on the inside covers (one at a time) and close the book. This will glue the first and last pages to the cover, finishing off the book.
If you don't wish to have a ribbon closure you can stop here. If you would like to have a ribbon closure, sew your favorite ribbon to the center of the binding (see image above). Then sew a button onto this spot as well. Wrap the ribbon around the book and cut a small slit in the center of the ribbon where there needs to be a hole for the button. Reinforce the edges of the button hole by folding them under and sewing them down.
If you would like a book plate, you can either draw one specifically for your book, or you could download this template here and print it out.
Happy book binding!
*Last time in Crafts and Activities: The Fall Guide