BOOKBINDING Instructions

Knotty Kneat Stuff

I’ve got a rather unique hobby: I make books … Hardbounds. I originally learned to do this to create a custom hardbound edition of the unwieldy tome that I wrote myself. Then I went nuts making custom hand-bound editions of various works (ie, classics downloaded from Project Gutenberg). They make fantastic gifts, and often get quite a reaction from friends and family when they open it up and see a personalized inscription printed right into it. You can’t buy that in any bookstore! But, the best thing is to print up and bind your own creative work product. A veritable trophy for the coffee table.

Anyway, I’ve started to write up a guide any of you good people who may be inclined to try it. I apologize if my hastily drawn instructions make it look more complicated than it really is. Please advise of any gaps or unnecessary repetition. What you see below is Part I (creating the document to be bound … in MS Word). Printing, Binding Prep, and Binding & Covering will follow shortly. However, I did furnish the full list of items needed from start to finish.

I hope you enjoy. And, if you do try it, please do not hesitate to respond with your questions in the Comment Box.


BOOKBINDING (Basic Hardbound)

What you need:

  • Electronic Text (any format)
  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Paper (20/24lb): Total Book Page Count divided by 4
  • Slightly heavier paper (preferably bond, colored or uncolored) for top & bottom sheets
  • Cover Boards (2)
  • Cover Skin (Colored Cover Stock or Heavy Bond Paper/Fabric/Leather)
  • PVA Glue
  • Glue Spreader (small strip of thin wood w/ squared end (i.e., popsicle stick w/ round end snipped off)
  • Permanent adhesive Mounting Film (HIGHLY recommended over glue for applying Cover Skin to Cover Boards)
  • Awl/Leather Punch/Steel Pin (Strong & Sharp)
  • Backing for Pin-Punching (Thick Rubber Mouse Pads work well; Best: Wood Strip w/ pre-drilled narrow holes to receive awl point under paper being punched, see below for hole spacing)
  • Sheet of Paper, same size as text sheets (i.e., 8½ x 11) with punching guide holes, see below for hole spacing)
  • Sewing Needle (fairly heavy duty and more than 1” long)
  • Light-Colored Thread (Recommend Dental Floss (Basic UNWAXED Light-Gauge String-Type (NOT Ribbon))
  • Steel Straight-Edge (Ruled)
  • Sharp X-ACTO Knife (& Sharp Scissors don’t hurt to have handy; paper cutters are nice too)
  • Cutting Mat (Not the Cutting Board from your Kitchen)
  • Plenty of Flat Surface Area (w/ room for a mess)
  • Thick Hardwood Boards (2) (at least ¾” and NOT Warped; Recommend Oak, Mahogany)
  • Strong Clamps/Vises (at least 2)

Text Formatting & Printing (MS Word):

Page Layout:

  • Landscape Orientation
  • 11” width x 8.5” height (for 5.5” x 8.5” full-size book); 8.5” width x 5.5” height (for 4.25” x 5.5” half [pocket]-size book)
  • 2 Pages per Sheet
  • Margins: Up to you, but always make “Inside Margin” wider than others. Inside Margin should be at least .6” – .8” in any book with any appreciable thickness. Just use common sense.
    • You might wish to use “Widow & Orphan Control,” and “Keep Line with Next” functions.
  • Apply to THIS SECTION. This enables you to leave Headers & Footers/page numbers off the Title, Copyright & any Inscription pages.
  • Also click DIFFERENT ODD & EVEN if you use alternating Headers (eg, “George Orwell” in Left Page Header, “1984” in Right Page Header. You can still allow Page Numbers to run uninterrupted through text in Left & Right Footers.
  • Paragraph & Line Spacing: You’re the Boss.

Table of Contents:

  • MS Word can create an Auto Table of Contents (may be found in the INSERT Menu), capturing all text typed in the HEADING 1, HEADING 2 and HEADING 3 Styles.


  • For Title, Copyright & any Inscription pages:
    • Be creative (fonts, sizes, &c.)! You can even create a logo for your own home publishing company and paste it at the bottom of the Copyright and/or Title pages.
  • For Body Text:
    • Start NEW SECTION (Next Page).
    • Add Headers (opt., for Author & Title, Chapter Info, &c.) & Footers (typical page number location)
    • Remember to click DIFFERENT ODD & EVEN if you use alternating Headers.
    • If you also identify specific Chapter, Section, &c. in the Header, you need to start a New Section for each successive Chapter, Section, &c.

Now, paste your work (a COPY) in there and arrange as you wish.

Note: To avoid a bunch of blank pages at the end, try to fit you book neatly within a total page count that is not only divisible by 4, but also divisible by a larger number that is also divisible by 4 (ie, 100 total pages: evenly divided by 20, which is evenly divided by 4. This will lend itself nicely to a 5×20 text block [5 signatures/leaflets, each containing 5 sheets folded in half]).

[Stay tuned for printing instructions, next Post]

About Knotty Puppet

I'm the rather slight fellow you see dangling in the cave, center stage on the cover of THE GODDESS & THE DEVIL, a most unique and provocative multi~genre creation. It's a ton of real, thoroughly researched history called upon by our fictitious players arguing about good & evil (&c., &c., ...) who happened to find themselves in one Hell of a bind one night in Salem, 1692.

Posted on November 9, 2012, in Knotty Kneat Stuff and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: