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Bookmaking: How to make a hard cover book part 1


Books are pretty simple to make. There are thousands of ways to make books and that means there really is not much of a wrong way to do it. So long as you are pleased with the results a book you made is still an amazing object to have and hold.

This is the first part of a series of tutorials on how to make a book, the way I do it. In this, first, I will show the big step, making the cover. Through the series I will show how to cover a book in fabric and how to bind a book and finish making a book. The content of the book is up to you. You might even just use these guides as a way to learn how to make your own hard cover journal. Don't forget to move on to part two when you are done with this.



You'll need some paper to act as the pages of your book, but that is not covered here. You'll also need some materials to make the book cover itself. I went to a book making and paper store and bought some hard board stock, a tub of PVA glue, and some paper backed fabric. You'll also need some brushes to paint the glue on, a nice sharp xacto knife or similar blade.. some scissors, a ruler or straight edge, artists tape (masking tape will do) and some other stuff..


First I measure the board and cut it slightly larger than the block of pages that makes up the content of my book. How much larger depends on your personal taste, I do one quarter of an inch. Then I cut the fabric so that its much larger than the board, about 1 inch on 3 sides (the 4th side will be covered so it needn't be longer).


Here we mock up the fabric on our board to make sure the size is right. This also actually serves a utilitarian purpose. Making the folds in the paper backed fabric will make it easy to position the fabric when its time for gluing.


Make sure that the folded over edges are even as you'll be able to see this folded over fabric later on.


Mock up the fabric that joins the two covers. Make sure its even.


Join it all together, there will be room for adjustments later.


Put your paper block in to mock it up and make sure the fabric that joins the two covers is even.


Make sure it is even and looks good.


Once it is even and looks good to you use a Pencil to mark the edges of the boards in the middle so when you finish gluing they go back in the same place you had when you mocked it up.


Remove one of the covers and paint on glue to the paper backing of the fabric as well as the board.


You should work briskly, but not too quick as to make mistakes. There is time to do it carefully before the glue starts to dry.


With both sides glued put them together.


Make sure to carefully press out any air bubbles.


Paint the glue on to the edge flaps.




Wipe away excess glue making sure to avoid getting it on any of the fabric as it is VERY hard to remove.


Repeat the process on the other half of the cover.


Now, on to the piece that joins the two covers.. You'll be placing the thin vertical block in between the pencil lines you made earlier, again remembering to put glue on both the paper backed fabric and the board.


As the outside of this joining fabric will be exposed make sure to fold the edges in, along with some glue, to make it look nice.


Edges glued and folded on both sides with board glued in to place.


And finally we have reached the end of the book making tutorial part one. At this point leave your two covers and the middle joining piece to dry overnight. The board may warp and bend slightly with the very moist glue but left overnight things should be dry and you'll be ready for part two.

Move on to part two now.


Come back for Part Two of this tutorial where we join the two covers together and finish covering the book with fabric.

Have any questions? Leave a comment, maybe I can help.

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