Handmade Books


  • Plan layout based on 16 page signatures (4 sheets folded in half).
  • Make all pages.
  • Collate and fold signatures.
  • Stitch face up. First signature head to toe, second toe to head, etc. so when they are done they zigzag on top of each other and lay correctly.
  • Fold end papers and place one set on each side of book.
  • Stand edges down in 'press'.
  • Use wood piece and a hammer to flatten the spine.
  • Spray spines with water.
  • Bead on carpenter's wood glue to within inch of top and bottom. Spread with fingers or brush and move out to edge. Top with thin cloth 1" wider than spine. Press into glue.
  • Dry 6 hours.
  • Trim cloth from top and bottom.
  • Remove from press.
  • Lay down flat. Open end paper away from pages. Run small bead of glue to within " of each end. Close. Turn book over and repeat.
  • May stack books at this point with spines alternating left and right.
  • Cut cover boards. Width is same as width of pages, Height is " larger than height of pages. Spine board is also same width as spine and " taller than pages (Should be out of thinner material than cover boards).
  • Cut cover cloth 2" taller than boards and 3" longer than all boards lined up.
  • Lay spine piece in the middle. Center end boards on either side leaving " gap. Use temp tape to hold and test fit around book.
  • Adjust as needed. Lay out flat and draw around boards.
  • Use rubber cement to coat all boards and insides of cloth. Carefully lay boards on cloth.
  • Coat inside of flaps and on boards where they will overlap.
  • Turn in corners, then sides.
  • Lay cord across top and bottom spanning the spine and gap. Then fold over top and bottom. Press to set.
  • Coat inside boards and gap (not spine) with rubber cement.
  • Coat BACK end paper with rubber cement trapping spine cloth against end paper.
  • Set front in correct placement and rotate up onto spine. When all is aligned correctly pull back end paper down and affix to the cover.
  • Coat inside front cover and gap with rubber cement. Coat front end paper trapping spine cloth against end paper.
  • Place book back on spine and pull end paper down to the cover.
  • Use bone folder to make the spine crease.
  • Place rods in crease.
  • Stand in book press.
  • Spray spine with starch.
  • Use wooden board and hammer to flatten spine.
  • Spray again.
  • Dry overnight (12 hours) in press.
  • Attach cover art and/or dust jacket.
  • DONE!!!