Skip to main content

Get started with book binding

While digital tools offer us numerous possibilities to create wonderful things, as designers there's nothing that beats the feeling of crafting something purely physical. Producing something you can hold in your hand also gives you a much deeper insight into the design process in general.

Book binding is a great technique that you to produce beautifully customized handcrafted books and publications from a range of materials. Just as we recently explained how to create your own zines (opens in new tab), here we'll outline some of the basic concepts and principles involved in book binding, and some resources that will help get you started.

What you'll need

There's no one method of book binding but here's a basic breakdown of the materials that can come in handy:

  • Paper stock
  • Bone folder
  • Heavyweights/paper press for pages
  • Pencil
  • Craft Knife/guillotine
  • Ruler
  • Book binding thread
  • Needles
  • Double sided adhesive/PVA

You can also buy starter packs containing all you need from retailers such as J Hewit & Sons (opens in new tab).

Binding methods

Depending on the number of pages you want to bind, there are a range of different methods you can bind your pages. Each also comes with its own different options in terms of finish. Some popular binding methods include:

Preparing your paper

You'll need to make sure all your pages are flattened and perfectly cut out to align with one another. Beyond that, there are a number of different ways to prepare your paper, depending on the binding method you decide upon.

For saddle stitch binds, for example, you'll need to allow extra paper to cut down once you've folded your pages to the exact size you require - making sure the cover will be able to wrap around the body paper.

Online training

Bookbinding in pictures: a beginner’s guide to bookbinding (opens in new tab) - This online PDF offers a working guide to the processes used in bookbinding. It is illustrated with over 500 photographs showing
step by step the methods, equipment and materials used in rebinding and repairing books.

How to bind a book: a 10-step guide (opens in new tab) - This tutorial walks you through one method of binding a book using some cost-effective binding and stitching techniques.

Further reading

Words: Meryem Meg (opens in new tab)

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

The Creative Bloq team is made up of a group of design fans, and has changed and evolved since Creative Bloq began back in 2012. The current website team consists of six full-time members of staff: Editor Kerrie Hughes, Deputy Editor Rosie Hilder, Deals Editor Beren Neale, Senior News Editor Daniel Piper, Digital Arts and Design Editor Ian Dean, and Staff Writer Amelia Bamsey, as well as a roster of freelancers from around the world. The 3D World and ImagineFX magazine teams also pitch in, ensuring that content from 3D World and ImagineFX is represented on Creative Bloq. 

Topics