Thursday, November 01, 2007

Bookbinding 101 - Secret Fold Notebook Tutorial

These little books have a hardcover and the textblock is made with one piece of paper that is nicely folded up inside like some of the neat origami books that open up into fun shapes, except this just opens up into a rectangle! The paper used here is 8.5" x 14" (standard "Legal" size paper) and the finished book size is one-eighth of the original paper size. This is easy - might be fun to do with a group of kids.

So this is what you need:
  • one sheet of paper for the pages
  • binder's board for the covers
  • decorative paper for the cover
  • paste or PVA

Fold the paper in half, the long way. Crease the folded edge. Open it back up.

Fold in half in the other direction, and crease it. Do not unfold.

Fold back one quarter of the sheet as shown:

Flip over and fold back a quarter on the other side:

Open the last two folds and cut along the centre fold until you reach the halfway point. In the next photo, I’ve marked the cutting line in pencil. Cut along that line – through both halves.

Open the paper up completely.

Fold the sheet in half, the long way.

Holding the paper at both ends, push together so the middle opens up.

Let the middle flatten out to form two more pages.

Flatten the "pages" by creasing all the folded edges. Then it should fold into a nice little booklet.

Now you are ready to make the cover.

Cut two pieces of binder's board for the covers, the same width and length as the folded booklet (or just a tiny bit bigger, maybe add 1mm all the way around, but no more than that). Cut a piece of decorative paper that is big enough to cover both boards.

Apply paste to the back of the decorative paper, then place the two pieces of board side-by-side with about 1cm between them. The width of the space between the two covers depends on the thickness of your papers and boards so you might need to test it before you attach them here. But I find that it is usually about 8-10mm.

Trim the corners of the decorative paper. Turn in the edges of the paper starting with the two short sides, then the 2 long sides. Make it all smooth and neat with your bone folder and press it down into the spine area.

Apply paste to the first page of the booklet.

Place it onto one of the covers, completely coving the cardboard. Make sure the spine of the booklet is aligned with the spine gap on your covers.

Put a piece of scrap paper under the last page of your booklet, and apply paste to that last page. Remove the scrap paper, and then just close the book, pressing the back cover down onto the last page so that the last page is totally adhered to the back cover (apparently i neglected to take a photo of this step, but i think it should make sense without the visual...).

Put some pieces of waxed paper inside the book, one just inside the front cover and one inside the back cover. This will prevent the moisture on the covers from seeping into the other pages while the glue dries. Once the waxed paper is in place, close the book and set it under some weight until the glue dries. A large book or a brick will work fine as a weight. Let it dry at least 24 hours, longer if you can wait.

This little book appears to have just a few pages – but the pages open up into a large writing surface. But don't forget how to re-fold your booklet!


Cassie said...

Great Tutorial :)

Diane said...

What a neat idea!

Thanks for the tutorial :)

Anonymous said...

Very fun -- have just made one as a get-well-card for my grandmother.

DerekL said...

Rhonda, do you have this in a printable form somewhere?

MyHandboundBooks said...

Yes, I think I have a more printer-friendly copy of this...send me an email (see email address in my profile) and I'll email it to you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much! I just made two wonderful books using this tutorial! :)

MyHandboundBooks said...

That's great, Hagit!

MyHandboundBooks said...

Hagit, they look terrific! Thanks for sharing your photos.

Anonymous said...

you're full of awesomeness, you are. :) thanks so much for sharing.

Nancy Ward said...


Today I posted an entry on my blog wiht a link to this tutorial.

I'd appreciate your letting me know if that's OK.


Nancy Ward

Rosie said...

Very neat and would make an excellent birthday card - for that someone special! TFS!

MyHandboundBooks said...

Sure, Nancy, that's fine!

Unknown said...

nice blog..

Emilliani said...

wow... makes me wanna make one myself. inspiring yet full with creativity.

enid said...

Great please email me a copy of printable thanks
Enid lacob cape town

Pegfolly said...

Wonderful ideas! I have used this fold and cut "booklet" with children AFTER they draw a large self-portrait (or drawing to their liking) on the paper first. But we've never actually made it into a "real book" by adding the covers! Can't wait to try it - with or without the picture! (we usually added words / short messages on the pages after folding).

Unknown said...

Hi! I just found your site and I love this little book and the way you give it a "proper" cover. Please can you email me a printable copy? I'd like to teach my kids how to do this. Thank you!