Book Making Part 3 – How to Assemble a Book



If you can sew with a needle and thread, you can make a book. The steps are very easy and simple to do. There are many resources online and my favorite site is, Vintage Page The owner of the site, Ali Manning is wonderful and has excellent tutorials. If you want to really learn book making, Ali has a subscription program with a new book tutorial every month. Another great resource is the book, Making Handmade Books 100 + Bindings and Structures & Forms, by Alisan Golden. I found this book second hand on Amazon –



  • PVA glue – Books by Hand –
  • Heavy chip board or book board
  • Waxed thread – available at craft stores. I found a great selection of colors on etsy – 
  • Needle
  • Scrap paper to make hole template
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Awl
  • Bone folder – my new favorite is a large flat teflon bone folder
  • Paper trimmer – my favorite is, Fiskars 12” ProCision Rotary Bypass Trimmer –
  • Kraft knife – Fiskers Soft Grip Detail Knife – or
  • Paper – Any type of paper can be used for the book pages

Optional Supplies


When I made my books I did not use chipboard or book board as the tin plates were thick enough to support the structure. Instead, I chose to use a heavy canvas fabric. I measured the cloth leaving enough room between the tin plates for the signatures (pages) to fit in. I also wanted the canvas to extend beyond the edges of the tin on all four sides, so I added that into the measurement calculations. Prior to assembly, I sprayed both sides of the the cloth with Tim Holtz’s Distress Sprays to age the cloth. I frayed the fabric by pulling loose threads.


Next I glued the canvas to the back of the tin making sure to leave a space between the front tin and back tin for the signatures to fit into the middle of the book.


Once dry, I flipped the book over to the front and glued a metal mesh screen to the spine.

To make the signatures, I used the collage paper (Part 2 of this series) I had made and measured to the length and height of the book (minus fringe). I folded the paper in half making a sharp crease with a bone folder. My pages were very thick, so I put them in a book press overnight. Make sure to leave your signatures under a heavy weight (a pile of books will work) overnight, or the book will not shut properly. I decided my book was a bit too thick with every page being collaged paper, so I inserted watercolor paper for some of the pages. I used four sheets of paper folded in half for each signature and made four signatures. I like the pages in my signatures uneven. If you don’t want uneven paper edges, trim with paper trimmer or kraft knife.


I used a template and made holes in the spine for the signatures.  Using the hole template use an awl to make holes in the signatures. A book cradle is a wonderful tool and worth the investment if you plan on making books. I got my book cradle from, Vintage Page

I sewed the signatures into the spine. Beads and fibers were added to the finished spine.

If you haven’t read Part 1 and 2, check out the articles!

Don’t forget to like, share and comment. Cheers!


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