A simple bookbinding tutorial.

by Peg and Awl

I have kept a journal of some sort for the majority of my life. I do it because I am an obsessive documenter, I don't like to be idle, I am full of ideas, I love the scritchy-scratchy sound of pen on paper and mostly because I always want a hiding place close by. My journals are on the top of my "if my house was on fire" objects to save list, though an obsession with making them began with a stolen journal (so even when all is lost, something better is generally found). Here I am attempting a simpler bookmaking process: A codex, or, a single quire book formed of bound leaves of paper.

You will need: Paper for cover + inside pages, a pencil, a ruler, needle + thread (thickish...), scissors and glue, (optional).

The books shown here are 4 1/2 x 3 and 12 pages with a cover. A folio is a folded sheet of paper. A quite (or signature) is a gathering of folios.

1. Find paper that you like. I prefer Strathmore drawing paper for its versatility. Fold it in half and tear and stop at a size you like. (I began with an 18x 24" notebook)

Make 6 folios of the same size and combine to form a single folio.

Next, mark 6 stitching holes. You can see the stitching, so the spacing is personal preference. My spacing is indicated on the next page.

Poke a hole through each mark, making sure you are going straight through the fold.

Once your folio is finished, lay them open upon your cover paper, and mark the corners slightly larger then the pages. (It is nice when the cover is just bigger then the inside!)

Then, using a ruler, connect the markings and cut or tear the cover paper. Fold it in half and center your pages in the cover. Poke holes through the cover using the holes in the pages as your guide.

The next step is the stitching! Measure your thread out to 1 + 1/2 times the length of the book's spine. Thread your needle and make a double knot on the end. (The knot must be big enough to not work its way through the holes on either end.) Begin at one end on the inside of the fold. Stitch in and out until you reach the end. Double knot the thread on the inside of the book. Use your needle to guide the knot close to the paper. This will assure a tightly stitched book.

This is what your book should look like when finished!

Sheets of gray paper from a neglected project turned cover, wrinkles and all!

Ink spill on paper turned cover! Red silk thread paired nicely here.

This was the wrapping around Trouve magazine. I love the wax seal and couldn't trash it. So happy I didn't!

Used wrapping paper from Sycamore Street Press paired with red thread.

These are such speedy little projects I couldn't resist making more.

Thanks to @food52 for requesting a book tutorial! I had fun with this simple project and cannot wait to do more. Instagram @pegandawl www.pegandawlbuilt.com #bookbinding #stellerdiy #bookbinding #pegandawlbinds #stellermaker

  • annamarie59

    I am a paper fanatic as well. Great tutorial for simple books. I've just made several with scraps of paper laying around. Great fun!

  • pegandawl

    Thank you @dgsage ! Have you tried binding?