Nathan Hwang

DIY Book Binding

As Maker Faire is fast approaching, I happen to be in the making spirit. Actually, that isn’t the reason why I decided to try out DIY book binding, but no matter. The fact of the matter is that propaganda sometimes takes on long forms, and sometimes getting people to read things on the internet is a pain.

Surprisingly enough, doing the binding yourself isn’t hard: time consuming, perhaps, but not difficult (and even the time aspect is mostly because I had no idea what I was really doing). I followed the helpful instructions from diybookbinding.com, which essentially boils down to “tap the pages so they line up, and then slap glue on the spine”.

Some things I learned:

  • White glue (Elmers, PVA, what have you) seems to be working just fine. A bunch of sites swear by gorilla glue, but it cost 4x times more, so I decided to make this first batch with Elmers and see how they survived.
  • Dicing up everything without folding it first makes gluing the spine much easier: if you try to fold all the pages over into something that looks bookish (8.5″x5.5″ format), the cutting tends to go one way or another, and you end up with an uneven spine. If I had an even spine, then everything would have been hunky-dory.
  • If you use a dedicated paper cutter (and you should), then cutting fewer pages at a time will make the cuts more accurate: too many pages lets the top pages slide around, so the spine is again uneven.

Honestly? It took around 4 hours to do 3 books. However, now that I know what not to screw up, I think the next batches should go faster.

And I’ll post some pictures of my very diy efforts soon.

EDIT: and now there are pictures! I’ll add more as I make more batches.

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