How to Bind Your Own Book Using Only Glue

This tutorial will instruct you on how to bind your own book using only glue for the binding. Other materials you will need are:

  • regular printer paper
  • very thick paper or cardboard depending on how strong you want your cover
  • PVA glue
  • glue brush
  • knife
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • paper for the cover

Step 1: Measure pages

You are going to need to first cut some paper to get the size you want your book's pages to be. For example, if you want a 15x10cm book, you need to add 1cm to the side where you want the binding to be. So for a landscape format book, you will measure 16x10cm.

Step 2: Making the inside of your book

Once your pages are measured, measure about 1cm to the left side of each page and mark this line with your pencil. Then take the knife and carefully score the marked line. Be careful not to cut off the small piece; you are just scoring the page so it's easier to fold the book's paper.

When all pages are scored, fold them on the marked line. You should have several single pages.

Step 3: Glue the pages

Now it's time to get your PVA glue. You can use regular glue if you can't find PVA, but the pages won't stick as well and your book may fall apart.

First, apply glue on the folded over piece of each page. You should really practice this first, because it is hard to get the right amount of glue otherwise. Too much glue makes your pages crinkly; not enough and you won't get them to stick.

Do each page one after another, starting with the first one, applying glue, and then sticking the next page on it. Make sure the outer two corners are aligned. Even if the binding doesn't line up that's okay because it won't be visible when it's finished.

Set aside some time for the pages to dry, so it's easier when you start sticking more pages on top of each other. Remember to always open the book up so you can make sure your pages aren't sticking together.

Step 4: Add front and back pages

For these front and back pages, you need to bring out the ruler again. Your measurements will probably be pretty close to what they were before, but ever millimeter becomes important at this point. For the front and back pages, you have to double the length of the book. In the case of a 16x14cm book, multiply 16 by two (the width stays the same).

Cut two pieces of paper in this size. You can use the same paper you are using for your interior pages, or new paper, if you like.

Once you have those two pieces of paper for the front and back, fold them down the middle. Then add your front page by applying some glue to the folded over narrow part of the paper, then put your front page on.

It's a little harder to do the back page since you won't have any guidance on how much glue you should apply, but a good trick is to imagine a 1cm line on the back where the binding is, apply blue, then stick the back page on.

Step 5: Prepare your book cover

While your glue is drying on the other pages, you can prepare the cover card. If you want a hardcover book, use cardboard; if you are doing a paperback, just use strong paper.

Using your measurements from the previous step, add 1cm to each side. 16cm becomes 17, 14 becomes 15, for example. Then, cut two pieces of card with these measurements.

Find the paper you want to use for your book cover, then place the two cover pieces beside each other, leaving a gap in between. The gap must have the width of the binding.

Place the card on the cover, using PVA glue (not too much so it doesn't crinkle). Leave roughly an inch of cover on each side of the card, and make sure it's completely covered in glue to avoid bubbles.

Then cut the edges off the cover, not too close to the card.

Finally, apply some glue to what's left of the cover material, fold the outer left and right sides over first, and stick them onto the card. Then fold the top and bottom over and stick them.

Now your cover is prepared, and set for connection to the book.

Step 6: Final book assembly

At this point you should take the inside of the book and turn it over, so you can start with the back page (that's easier).

Apply glue all over the back page, paying special attention to the corners. Then take the cover and place the spine in the gap you left earlier. Then stick the back page onto the inside of the cover and let it dry.

Apply glue to the front page, then take your cover, making sure the binding is very close. Fully close your book, stick the cover onto the front page, and carefully open it to make sure it fits. If it does, apply a little pressure to make it fully stick.

The last step is to go through your book and make sure no pages stick together.

Congratulations, if you have made it this far you have a fully handbound book you made all on your own. To simplify this process you can buy a bookbinding machine or make your own bookbinding machine at home.


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