How to Create your Own Hard Cover Book or Journal
It is possible to make a hard cover book just using tools you probably already have at home. Some people in the process have made some beautiful, decorative covers for their prized self-publications and craft projects.
There are several methods to use when doing this and a vast array of tools and equipment that can be used in order to make your book just perfect. This how-to article is meant to instruct you how to create books and booklets with a smaller number of pages.
Determine the size: This is one thing you can experiment with as you take pieces of inexpensive paper and fold them in different sizes. When done, you can then stack them. It is recommended that you start out with half-folds of regular printing paper and then graduate down to making smaller books.
Print the pages: Ideally, it is best if you print them front to back double-sided. You will need to set your printer to make sure the pages run the right direction when you put them in your book.
Some printers have a setting that automatically lets you print book style. Otherwise, perhaps if you have a desktop publishing program you can set it to print the pages the way you need them printed. Microsoft Publisher might work well for this purpose.
Stack the pages: When doing so make sure they are all even. If you have a paper jogger that will help. Otherwise, just push one end of the stack of papers hard onto a hard, flat surface such as a table. You might then need to grip the papers tightly so none of them fall loose while you attempt your binding job.
Fold the pages exactly in half: It is very important when doing so that the edges of the paper are perfectly aligned. Otherwise, your book will not open or close properly. If you are doing this for the first time it is best if you start out with about 5 sheets of paper for the first time. You need a firm crease, so press the papers down firmly when making your fold.
Punch tiny holes evenly along the fold: Ideally, if it is a half-fold paper you would probably need to punch at least four holes up and down the crease using the puncture tool. These should be spaced evenly. The tool you use is a sharp object with a handle like a screwdriver and a head that is not much thicker than a pin.
Sew the sheets of paper together: Make sure you use enough thread for this in order to be able to tie the sheets together from the outside center of the fold. If you fold has four punched holes in it, you would first start from the second hole.
Then you would the needled thread through it from the back of the folded pages to the inside and up through the top hold and back through the inside center.
You would then make your way through the second hold from the bottom to the back and then from the back through the bottom hole to the center hole again and out. The end result is to have two strings through the back which you can then tie.
Note that this process will take some practice. Again, it is best if you create smaller books to start, as thicker hard-covered books might have too many pages and you would need to apply a different binding method.
Decorate the front and back covers: You need to measure your front and back cover paper as well as the spine paper just right so that you have enough room to fold over the edges during the gluing process.
About a half into to an inch larger than each piece you use to make the cover. This paper is then glued over both pieces that you would use to make the front and back of your hard book cover.
You can use any designer stationary paper or even wrapping paper for this purpose, or one of your own design. Photos and computer graphics often look great when used as a book cover design.
By the way, you should cut the corners of the paper that folds around the front and back cover boards. You should cut it at a slant close to the corner edges of the illustration boards.
Decorate the spine: You can use the same paper you used for creating the front and back of your book. You would lay the paper flat on a surface such as a table and then place the illustration board on top of it, as centered as possible.
You might need a ruler to make sure that it is directly in the middle yet leaving enough space to place the front and back covers. Equal room should be left on both sides of the spine on which you would then place the two larger pieces of decorated illustration boards.
Place the front and back covers: These would be placed leaving a gap on either side of the spine. This is to allow room for the pages.
The size of the gap for 10 to 20 pages probably would be a half inch or so on either side, but you may need to experiment and watch videos until you get this right. Practice makes perfect.
Secure the pages to the front and back covers: The easiest way to do this is to leave the book cover that you just created lying flat on the table.
Then, you spread glue over the inside of both the front and back of it, but not the spine. Then you place the spine while pressing it firmly to make sure it holds in place.