Neefer Sews, Crochets, Crafts, Swims, and Blathers about Kids

Acorns to Oaktrees

January 29th, 2007 at 12:19 pm

My First Hardcover Book

in: Crafts

I started with the tutorial from Journals.

The tutorial started with, “I promise, if I can make one then you can too.” And she’s right. It is very easy to do.

Her instructions will make a journal that is 5 3/4″ x 4 1/2″, and mine will give you a journal that is approximately 9 1/4″ x 6 1/2″.


  • 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper and/or 9″ x 12″ paper
  • one large sheet of paper for the cover guide, approximately 9 1/4″ x 13 3/8″
    The size will be dependent on the thickness of your journal, so you may need one that is longer. I recommend starting with a sheet that is at least 9 1/4″ x 14″ and cut it down.
  • decorative paper for end papers (I used scrapbook paper: you will need 2 papers that measure 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ each)
  • cardboard
    • covers are 9 1/4″ x 6″ each
    • spine is 9 1/4″ x (width of pages; to be discussed later)

  • fabric (1/2″ wider than cover guide on all edges) try to use a medium weight fabric such as cotton, as a heavyweight fabric will be difficult to glue down and a lightweight fabric may show glue seeping through. you don’t need to iron the fabric (see below). – I used a fat quarter of quilting cotton.
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • glue
  • wax paper
  • clothespins/paperclips
  • ruler
  • sewing needle
  • strong thread (hand-quilting thread)
  • bone folder (*optional)
  • awl/stilleto (*optional)

Part 1: Sewing the pages

  1. Fold each paper in half, making a folio. Stack the folios in groups of five. Each group becomes a signature.

    The original tutorial used a bone folder, but I just used my finger. I used both 8.5×11″ and 9×12″ paper, so my edges weren’t even, and I had to be careful to get the spines all together.

  2. When all the papers are folded, squeeze the signatures together at the fold. Measure this width. You can now cut the spine cover at this width, but you might want to double check the dimensions of your signatures.

    I checked to make sure I had accurate width and height measurements for the signatures.

  3. With a book this size, you will need 4 sewing holes. Mark a vertical line 1/2″ in from either end of the page, and then mark two intermediary dots. I did not take pictures at this point. So you are going to have to make due with pictures from the completed book.
    I punched my holes 1/2″ from the edge of the smaller paper. This meant that I had to be careful and consistent when centering the smaller sheets inside of the larger ones. I centered my middle holes between the outer ones. I took measurements from the first signature and punched holes in the rest of the signatures using those measurements.

  4. Now comes the sewing. Write “top” on the top page to help keep your orientation of the signatures when sewing. Thread up your needle, knot it 2″ from the end, and here we go:
    go into #1, come out #2, go into #3, come out #4. go down to #5, come out #6, go UP into #7 (also hole #3), come out #8 (also hole #2), go DOWN into #9, and out #10. at this point tie a knot with the string end that is hanging at #1.

    *the blue lines indicate which sewing lines will be visible to you

    go into #11, come out #12, go UP to #13, come out #14, go DOWN to #15, and come out #16. string the thread through the loop that was created between #4 and #5, and carry on as before.

    **remember: you are only ever working with 2 signatures at any time. Try and keep the thread as taut as possible.

  5. When you are finished sewing, you should have something like this:

  6. Apply a layer of glue to the spine, wrap in wax paper, and clip in place with paperclips/clothespins. Allow this to dry for at least 1/2 hour.

    Again, I didn’t take any pictures at this point, and I’m not really sure what this step is for. I didn’t find that the glue added anything to the structure of the book, but perhaps it aids in the longevity of the book.

Part 2: Making the book cover

So I don’t know what my problem is, but I forgot to take pictures here, too. So I’m going to reference you to curiously crafty. Her tutorial is really good at this point, and I didn’t change anything. Here are the steps, w/o pix.

  1. Lay out your covers, spine, and cover guide. When the covers are laid on top of the cover guide, there should be 1/8″ space between the covers. If not, trim your cover guide.
  2. Glue the covers to the fabric, with the cover guide UP. Pull the fabric taut underneath to stretch out any wrinkles
  3. Glue down the corners. Okay, so I’ve got to make another book and take pictures, because I think they are essential at this point.
  4. Glue down the edges of the fabric, trying to make precise corners.
  5. Allow the cover to dry, pinning in place if necessary.

Part 3: assembling your book

  1. With wax paper underneath, apply glue to your first page.
  2. Press it to the front cover, leaving a 1/8″ margin on all 3 sides.
  3. Repeat steps 1&2 for the last page. push the signatures back into the spine.
  4. Fold your endpapers in half. – I didn’t do this because my endpapers were 8.5×11″ and my book was 9×12″.
  5. Apply glue to the inside of the front cover, and the inside edge of the adjacent page. Smooth endpaper on top. Repeat for the last page.

  6. with wax papers between covers and pages, place your book under a heavy weight and allow to dry for at least 24 hours.

  7. tada! admire your freshly made handbound book.


Category: Crafts

« || »

Comments are closed.

  • Historical Adventures of Neefer

    August 2020
    S M T W T F S
    « May    
  • Archives

  • My latest uploads to Flickr

  • Follow me

  • Connect with me