Bookbinding Techniques

...holding it all together.

Art 1600 / Greg Clayton

Basic techniques for binding pages


The history of the art and craft of bookbinding goes back many centuries, to Gutenberg and beyond. A lot of solutions have been devised by creative craftspersons. Today, despite or because of our rampant digital documents, the craft of bookbinding and bookmaking is thriving and expanding.

For your Nature Study project, you won't need to know the history of bookbinding nor be experienced with all of the options. You do, however, need to find some solution that suits your concept for your project.

Q: What's a good binding?

A: A binding is primarily functional. Any technique that provides adequate function and contributes to the character and unity of the book, is a plausible binding.

Q: What are those essential functions, anyway?

Sturdy, non-shifting pages:
The book needs to feel solid, rather than floppy. Pages that slide around due to a loose binding are not acceptable.
Are the pages secure?  
(do they slide around or shift position? can the fall out easily?)
The binding should not be loose enough to allow pages to move from side-to-side. 
( some students have tried using large rings as a binding method. These are much too loose to serve as a book binding.
Don't use loose rings for binding.

Pages do not tear or "grab" while turning — the book must open and close repeatedly without damaging the book or its contents.
Custom bindings are sometimes too tight. When pages turn, the paper tears and frays.
Pages should open wide for viewing -- ideally laying flat so that its easy to read and see all content. 
Pages should close easily without binding or catching.
Don't frustrate the reader or tear pages.  So a proper binding protects the pages and enables the book to endure despite use.
Your binding needs to allow the pages to turn without any distraction, difficulty or damage. You may need to score the paper in order to get them to fold correctly.   ( fold & score notes:  favecrafts  | paperandmore | )

Binding aesthetically complements the book's design.
The look and feel needs to support the books graphic concept. Make sure that there are formal relationships between any visible materials used in your binding, and the design of your book cover.

Binding integrated with book design.
Your binding is to be a part of your concept. Do not use standard report bindings with transparent sleeves.


Nature Study Project Bookbinding FAQ



There are several ways to assemble a book. The binding method is the main difference.

Buy a sketch book, then create your Nature Study on the pages of the sketch book.

Plastic Comb binding
Educational Resource Center (?) on the 3rd floor of the School of Education building. Self-serve binding.
a) Complete all of the pages of your book — including any protective plastic cover and/or heavy backing.
b) Figure out what size and color of binding you need. Bindings vary in length and in thickness, or diameter.
c) Buy it — usually a dollar, or so, from the Educ. Resource Center.
d) Use their specialized hole-punch to prepare your pages for binding.
e) Use their specialized binder to slip the plastic comb into your pages, binding your book!

Plastic Comb Binding



Wire binding
Quality Printing and possibly the HU Media Center offer wire binding options. They might be able to do the job while you wait, but plan on giving them at least a day. Cost is usually a few dollars for a single binding.
a) Complete all of the pages of your book — including any protective plastic cover and/or heavy backing.
b) Figure out what size and color of binding you need. Bindings vary in thickness, or diameter.
c) Arrange to have the binding done. Drop it off. Wait til it is done (patiently). Then pick it up.

Wire Binding





Sewn Binding
There is a long tradition of sewn book bindings — the best quality, leather-bound books are still sewn together.
Instructions/Tutorials on sewn bindings: sewn binding | intro | all things bookbinding (including several online (old) books on book-making | detailed traditional sewn binding | binding | Wikipedia | WikiHow | WikiHow Sketchbook | Techique w. hardcover | Extensive Videos on Bookbinding & Repair |
Nicely illustrated simple sewn binding | Several Illustrated Tutorials - Coptic, Longstitch |

Coptic binding




Creative Binding Options:
Twine, electrical wire, yarn have all been used. The goal of a creative binding method is to better express the book's concept — to create a "complete package".
Most any binding methods that address the following priorities is fine.


Traditional Bookbinding Techniques:

Perfect Binding Tutorial  
Uses glue (Elmer’s type PVA glue) instead of thread or staples

Saddle Stitch With Thread:  a very good tutorial video.
Saddle Stitch:  tutorial video   |   Stitched Pamphlet Book
Saddle Stitch Tutorial

Saddle Stitch With Staples:  tutorial video
(note:  the Advanced Graphic Design studio should have a long-armed stapler used for saddle stitching.)



Stab Binding Variations

Dos-a-Dos Saddle Stitched Book (OK video) for a book with sections facing in alternate direction.
Alt Dos-a-Dos binding   |  

Coptic Stitch Binding Tutorial:  Useful for books with many pages, OR for books with very few pages but very heavy paper.
PDF of complete traditional book-making steps.
Coptic Stitch Sketchbook Tutorial

Japanese Stab Stitch Bookbinding Tutorial: 4-Hole
(Try using a hammer & nail or a drill if you don’t have a proper bookbinding awl.)
Variation “Asa-no-ha Toji” (A Japanese Stab stitch with more decorative, elaborate stitch pattern.)
Make a bookcover from a recycled box
Japanese Stab Binding Toroise Stitch — very similar pattern to Asa-no-ha Toji



Accordion Book (below left)
The Hillman Group 30-Count #8 x 0.625-in Truss-Head Brass-Plated Slotted-Drive Interior/Exterior Binding Post Screws

Post Screws (above right) offer a simple solution for thick-stock books. 
Score a crease in thick pages so the page can fold properly, then cut or drill holes for screw posts.
Screw Posts for Binding. These are available at Lowe's in the aisle with endless screws, nuts and bolts.  They come in varied lengths.
Tutorial | Tutorial |


Articles and Links

LOTs of bookbinding video tutorials from Sea Lemon



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