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Instructions for making a one signature hand bound book


Cover Board: Two pieces of chip board or illustration board. Size 7" x 5 3/4"

End Pages: Two pieces of paper generally of different color or texture than the inside pages. These pages will become the inside cover and first page of the book. Size 13 3/4" x 5 1/4"

Inside Pages: Three sheets of white or off-white paper (these will be the actual pages of the book). Size 13 3/4" x 5 1/4"

Binder Paper: One piece of brown paper bag. Size 3 1/2" x 3 1/2"

Cover Paper: Two pieces of handmade paper (or other nice paper- I would avoid cardstock weight paper as it is hard to fold). If you wish to decorate the cover paper you might want to do it now before you apply the paper to the cover board. If you do decorate it you might choose to stamp it, emboss, colored pencils, block print, etc. Size 7 1/4" x 8 1/2"

End Paper: One piece of paper that is applied to the end/spine of the book. You may wish to deckle this paper by either tearing or cutting with sculpted scissors. Size 6 3/4" x 3"

Needle: One with a large eye works best

Thread: 18" of thread or thin jute. You will see the thread when the book is open so choose a color that will look good against the pages or blends in (like white or of-white)

Pins: Three "T" pins or push pins

Glue: One stick of "UHU" brand glue or thinned white glue or spray glue (spray glue works very well but can be messy and smelly)

Ruler: For marking you need a 6" ruler but for measuring the paper a 14" would be perfect

Pen or pencil: You will only be making small marks with this so any will do

Artist Stuff: If you want to decorate the cover paper of this book you may want to use rubber stamps, embossing powder, ink pads, leaf printing, paint, colored pens and pencils, etc.

Step One:

Making a signature-

A signature is a stack of pages usually three to four sheets (folded 6-8). Books are made out of many signatures. The book you are going to make is a one signature book.

A. Take you Inside Pages and fold them in half.

B. Lay the pages flat one sheet on top of the other in a stack.

C. Fold the End Pages in half and then place them on top of the Inside Pages.

D. Take the binder paper and fold it in half.

E. Finally place the binder paper on the top of your stack. (See diagram 1)

F. Next take your ruler and make three marks with your pen or pencil. The first mark will be in the center of the binder paper (along the crease). The other two will be on either side of the center mark spaced 1 1/2" away from the center. (See diagram 1)

G. Take your three pins and press them through all the papers at the tree marks. Leave the pins in.

diagram 1

Step Two:

Sewing the book-

A. Thread your needle

B. Remove the center pin and pass the needle from the inside of the book to the outside of the book.

C. Then remove the needle on the left and pass the needle down through that hole.

D. Then come up through the center hole again.

E. Remove the pin on the right and pass the needle down through that hole.

E. Take the two ends and tie a knot. I like to use a square knot.

The sewing pattern is a figure eight. (see diagram 2)

Diagram 2
Start Here
Outside Of Book Inside Of Book


Step Three:

Putting the cover paper on-

A. If you want to decorate the cover paper now is the time to do it. If you plan on putting anything on that involves deep layering you will want to wait until after the book is finished as you will have to use your hands to smooth down the paper to get it to attach to the cover boards.

B. Once you have decorated the cover paper you are ready to apply it to the cover boards. First put glue all over one side of the cover boards.

C. Place the cover paper so that there is an even border on three sides and the fourth side is flush. It is important that it overhangs equally on all of those three sides. (See diagram 3)

diagram 3

D. Put glue on the inside of the cover boards in a strip about 3/4" wide on three sides (the three sides that have the cover paper sticking out).

E. Then fold in the two corners (See diagram 4) and then the three edges (see diagram 5).

diagram 4 diagram 5


Step Four:

Gluing in the signature-

A. Put glue on the outside of the binder paper (the brown bag paper). Then put the cover boards on allowing the back edge of the signature to stick out in the back. Be careful to center the signature so that there is even spacing on all three sides. If you have done this you will find that the signature will be sticking out the back past the cover about 1/4" (See diagram 6).

diagram 6

Step Five:

Gluing on the end paper and end pages-

A. Pre-Fold the end paper in half.

B. Then put glue on the inside of the paper (glue all the way to the edges).

C. Then apply it to the back of the book (the spine). Be careful to make sure it is centered and that it is well pressed down.

D. Open the book and carefully fold over the edges that are sticking out. Make sure that you press them down so that they really stick.

E. The final step is to glue down the end pages onto the inside of the cover board. To do this put glue onto the end page and press it down onto the cover board. Be careful to see that it is centered. Do this for both the front and the back.

F. Close the book and let it dry.

Samples of completed books


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