Bookbinding infographic

Bookbinding infographic

Binding your own books is a sure-fire way to add an incredibly personal touch to your novel, dissertation or photo album. An age old practice that has been recently re-adopted by authors and illustrators looking to take their novels and books to the next level.

The process is actually quite simple and once you have bound your first book you will soon start wondering why it isn’t a more common practice! All you need is InDesign, a computer and some stationary.

Through this guide we will show you how to make your publication pop. Just follow the steps and you will be on your way to understanding how to bind your own books.

Step one

You need to create your cover image in InDesign. Don’t be scared, InDesign is incredibly intuitive to use. The hard part is thinking of what the cover will look like! I always think that it’s best to go for something simple but effective. Try a large, one colour title on a plain white background. If you use good materials and colour, the quality will make more of a statement than anything else ever could.

When setting up your template it’s important to remember that the standard book page size is six inches wide and nine inches tall. You also need to add an extra ten millimetres to the inside margin. Otherwise you won’t be able to stitch the book together!

Step two

Now that you have designed the front page, it’s time to print the book pages! Make sure you do the following

  • Export the document to the PDF format
  • Marks and Bleeds > check ‘Crop Marks’ and ‘Use Document Bleed Settings’
  • Printer Settings > Check ‘Print Double Sided’
  • Print!

Step three

Once you have printed all of the pages for your book, start to cut through the crop marks that are labelled on the document.

This task is probably the most laborious part of binding a book, you have to cut every page! However, you can make it a bit easier for yourself if you cut a few pages at once.

Step four

To stich the pages together – mark a line from the top to the bottom of the page and make sure that it is at least five millimetres away from the spine. Put evenly spaced dots from the top to the bottom of this line.

Make sure the paper is nice and tense, pierce through the paper using a bookbinding awl (cheaply available online). The straighter the paper, the easier it is.

Step five

Use a needle and thread to stitch the pages together by going through the holes you have made.

Start at the middle

  • Push upwards
  • Go around the spine and back up the same hole
  • Go to the next hole and apply the same
  • Continue until the spine is completed on both sides
  • Go back to the middle hole and cut off the loose thread

Step six

To glue the spine you need to make sure that the book is steady. This can be achieved by placing the book in-between a couple of books. Once this is done, you can start painting the spine with a layer of PVA glue.

Let it dry for about twenty minutes. Once it has dried, trim off all the excess paper and glue. The book should now technically be ‘pressed’.

Step seven

You need to line the spine with a ‘fraynot’ in order to stop the sewing tearing through the paper.

‘Fraynot’ is a spine liner and is available from all good stationary shops

This can be done by pasting and positioning over the stitching, then wrapping it around the spine. Make sure that it fits the book and paint over it with the PVA glue.

Step eight

Open up your front cover pdf and print it out. After it has printed, cut around the crop marks and get it ready. Put your pages inside of the freshly cut book cover. Attach the cover to the pages glue and press.

Your pages are now attached to the cover, your book is complete!

We hoped you enjoyed this quick guide on how to print your own books. To find out more about other printing techniques please visit

Peter Wallace

Peter Wallace

Author Bio:

Peter Wallace is the Managing Director of IPW1. Instant Print W1 is a bespoke printers based in London, UK. The company works with many independent businesses in the area, offering unrivaled service and expertise.

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