October 11

Binding a Hardcover Book (Pop-Up Version)

This tutorial covers the basics of creating a cover and binding a pop-up book, modified from a previous tutorial I had done on the full creation of a hardcover book. These changes have been made to make the cover creation more specific to binding pop-up books, as requested by instructor Michael McGinnis of Santa Rosa Junior College for his Art 5/3-Dimensional Design course.

Notice: While this tutorial is for binding pop-up books, photos will depict a book block featuring sewn signatures rather than a pop-up page block. This is simply because this is what I had available at the time. The process remains mostly the same.

Version 1 Notes: While all instructions are present, I am currently missing photographic examples of a couple of steps (namely the measuring of cover boards). Will add as soon as possible.

Materials Needed

  1. Scissors and Craft/X-Acto knife with sharp blade
  2. Cover Material (Decorative paper, the cover material provided in class, or fabric*)
  3. Cover Board (Heavy chip board, “Bookbinder’s Board”, or scrap framing mat**)
  4. Ruler/Straightedge (something long enough to measure your whole book) and a pencil for marking
  5. Glue***
  6. Foam Brush or piece of scrap mat board/chip board (for spreading glue)
  7. Bone Folder for rubbing air bubbles out of glued surfaces and creasing folds.
  8. Optional: Binding jig (for ensuring your pages are perfectly aligned when gluing them together. This part will not be covered, as I do not have access to one at home. There is one available for use in class.)
  9. Optional: Several of those heavy old-edition math and science books you can’t sell back because publishers keep bringing out new ones ;) These will be used to apply pressure to things while glue is drying.

* If you opt for fabric, use a heavy cotton that has been treated on one side (so glue doesn’t seep through) OR fabric made specifically for binding books. Bookbinding fabric can be found online or at Riley Street Art Supply.

** Chip board comes in various thicknesses/sizes and is basically super-compressed cardboard; very similar to “Bookbinder’s Board”. Chip board can be found online or in craft stores such as Joann, Michael’s, and Beverly Fabrics, either by the sheet or in larger packs. Bookbinder’s Board can be found online and at Riley Street Art Supply. DO NOT USE CORRUGATED CARDBOARD. It’s not made to withstand repeated stress and your cover will eventually get floppy and fall apart.

*** If you want your book to last, I highly suggest using a bookbinding glue such as the PH Neutral PVA glue from Books By Hand (found online and at Riley Street). It is archival quality and remains flexible after it dries. This is the glue used in this tutorial. The “Elmer’s Glue-All” we use in class will work fine, but I can’t attest to its longevity. DO NOT USE “ELMER’S WHITE (SCHOOL) GLUE”. It is not meant for this purpose and not only is it not flexible when it dries, it will eventually yellow and crack, causing your book to fall apart.

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