Things You'll Need
- Sheet of scrap cardboard (corrugated or chipboard)
- Bone folder
- Sheet of decorative paper, larger than desired cover size
- Sheet of decorative paper, same size as cover
- Craft glue
- Sponge brush
- Paper for journal pages
- Paper clip
- E6000 or other brand of one-part epoxy
Even as we move faster toward an electronic world, nothing can replace the joy of capturing your ideas and sketches on paper. With a few materials and some patience, you can bind a blank book for yourself at home, customizing the size, cover and thickness. Or you can go green—aside from the binding materials, the covers and pages of your book can come from scrap paper, cardboard and junk mail you may have piling up, waiting to be recycled.
Cut a cardboard base to the shape and size you like. Score a 3/4-inch spine.
Decide on the size of your blank book, and then measure and cut the piece of cardboard in the appropriate dimensions: Exact height of book by twice the width plus 3/4 inch.
Fold the cover leaving 3/4 inch as a spine. Score the folds by rubbing the bone folder down the fold to create a deep, creased fold.
Measure and cut the decorative outer paper so that it is 1/2 inch larger than the cover on all four sides: Height of book plus 1 inch by width of book plus 1 inch.
Squeeze craft glue over the outside of the cover, using the sponge brush to spread evenly. Press the decorative outer paper to the outside cover, centering so there is approximately 1/2 inch overhang on all sides. Use your fingers to smooth out any bubbles and allow to dry.
Fold over the overhang and glue to the inside of the cover.
Measure and cut the decorative inside leaf paper so that it is 1/4 inch smaller than the cover on all four sides: Height of book minus 1/2 inch by width of book minus 1/2 inch.
Open the book cover flat and spread glue using the sponge brush, evenly, over the inside of the blank book. Center the inside leaf paper and press into the glue. Use your fingers to smooth out any bubbles and allow to dry.
Cut paper pieces to form the inner pages. The paper should be about 1 inch shorter than the cover on all sides but wide enough to form 2 pages: Height of book minus 1/2 inch by width of book minus 1/2 inch.
Stack 6 to 10 sheets of these pages together and fold them in half to form a bundle of papers called a “signature." Score the fold with the bone folder.
Open the stack back out and lay flat, with the fold down. Staple about halfway between the top edge and bottom edge, along the fold line.
Repeat Steps 10 and 11 until you have about 6 signatures. Clip the signatures together along the non-stapled edge with a paper clip.
Open the cover of the book and squeeze a line of E6000 or other brand of one-part epoxy down the inside spine. Place the signatures into the spine, pushing their stapled sides into the epoxy. Make sure all signatures make contact with the epoxy.
Close the book carefully and allow the epoxy to dry for 24 hours.
Open the book, and glue down any loose signatures with a dab of epoxy, then allow to dry again before using.
A writer and professional lab assistant based in Seattle, Kate Bruscke has been writing professionally about health care and technology since 1998. Her freelance clients include "The Seattle Times," KGB.com, Reading Local: Seattle, Nordstrom and MSN/Microsoft. Bruscke holds a Master of Fine Arts from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.