How to bind a book

An easy method for beginners

How to bind a book - a simple method for beginners

In this article I’m showing you how to bind a book using whatever paper you have at hand and just a few tools that most people have at home.

I don’t claim in any way to be a skilled bookbinder – this is just a simple technique I know that works perfect for making smaller notebooks without much effort. I was even able to teach my young nieces how to do the stitching, so I’m sure you’ll be able to bind your own book as well.
How to bind a book - materials

You will need:

  • Paper for the pages
  • Leather, cardboard or another sturdy and foldable material for the cover
  • Scissors or a rotary cutter
  • Ruler
  • Pencil (and a light marker in case you use a dark cover)
  • Bone folder (optional)
  • Awl or other pointy object for making holes
  • Sewing needle
  • Thread – I used normal sewing thread but for more stability I would work with a thicker waxed flax thread or similar

Start with cutting out your cover to the desired size. In my case I was limited to the shape and holes in the scrap leather piece I was using.
How to bind a book - cutting cover
Measure the cover to cut the pages to a fitting size. Preferably cut the pages a couple of millimeter shorter than the cover in each direction.

This is especially important if you’re using a thick cover material and/or if your book has many pages. The quickest way to cut the pages is to put a few of them on top of each other and cut with a rotary cutter, else you can just draw up the lines on each page and cut them with scissors.
How to bind a book- cutting pages
Find the middle of the cover and mark out the points where you want to make your stitches. Since I was making a book with few pages and in a small format I chose a rather wide distance between the holes. For thicker books and to give more stability, sew with more stitches closer together.
How to bind a book - marking stitching holes
Fold all your pages in half. I smoothed out the edges with the help of my bone folder.

Place the pages on top of the cover and mark out the stitching points with a pencil on the crease.
How to bind a book - marking holes on pages
Open the pages again and punch holes through the marks. Do the same for the cover.
How to bind a book - punching holes with awl
Thread your needle with enough thread to sew through your holes and back again (two times the length of the book should be about enough). I worked with double thread to get a bit more stability.
How to bind a book - first stitch
Put the pages inside the cover and start stitching from one of the inner edges. Leave a bit of thread since you will need it for tying a knot at the end. Push the needle all the way through and let it enter in the next hole from the outside.
How to bind a book - stitching
Work your way through up and down until you reach the edge. Then work your way back to where you started.
How to bind a book - finishing stitch
Tie the threads together with a double knot and cut them off. You now know how to bind a book!
How to bind a book - back stitches
I decided to give my book a simple autumn theme by painting a golden acorn on the cover.
How to bind a book - golden acorn on cover
The #creativeoctober challenge starts on Saturday & the Facebook group is open from today already! Join and craft and do other creative projects during the month of October using only tools and materials that you already own. In case you missed it, the Creative October challenge is a no-buy challenge where we focus on trying to find ways to pursue creative projects without having to buy anything new. Work with what you have or trade with friends instead. Read more about it here.

Click the image below to join the Facebook group:

If you happen to live in the Pforzheim/Stuttgart region in Germany you’re welcome to join the crafts evening I’m organizing at home on the 12th of October (2016). Contact me if you want to participate.

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Veronica is the founder of With one foot in the past and one in the future she takes inspiration from older aesthetics and ideas to apply them in updated form today. She is passionate about teaching timeless skills and believes that the world needs more polymaths.

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