15 August 2021

Adventures in Book Binding

Hi guys! How are you today?

I was at the library and this book presented itself to me:

chai latte, Modcup, Modcup Coffee
It's called "Craftfulness" and I absolutely agree with the subtitle, "Mend Yourself by Making Things." Crafting has been a constant anchor for me especially in the lowest points of life. It has helped distract me from loneliness after loss and kept me focused during periods of anxiousness. Even as a child recuperating at home from a long sickness (like the measles), I would turn to crafting and it helped me get better.

"Craftfulness" gives scientific proof that crafting is beneficial to one's emotional well being. It's a form of therapy and the process is as rewarding as the results:

"Process, not product, is the soul of a craft practice. Whether you knit, crochet, sculpt, weave, quilt, tat, draw, or bind books—working toward small, attainable goals gives us a sense of purpose, accomplishment, and control that is proven to positively impact our mental health and happiness."

The book also has a bunch of crafty tutorials like this one for a Stitched Pamphlet Book.

Let me show you how I made it.

I selected some pretty scrapbook paper for the cover. 

awl, needle and thread, self-healing mat, ruler, scissors, pencil, bone folder, craft materials
Here are the other tools I used: a self-healing mat, awl (a bookbinding tool used to make holes in paper and leather; a thick needle can do the job, too), thread and needle, ruler, pencil, scissors and a bone folder (this helps reinforce the creases when folding pages; an expired  gift card works just as well).

self-healing mat, card stock
For the inner pages, I chose card stock (this is 8.5 inches by 11 inches).

self-healing mat, card stock, bone folder, how to repurpose an expired gift card
I folded the card stock in half and ran the bone folder/plastic gift card tightly along the fold to make a good crease.

self-healing mat, scissors, card stock
I cut the paper in half, using the crease as my guide.

self-healing mat, card stock, bone folder, how to repurpose an empty gift card
Then I folded each one in the middle, and reinforced the crease with a bone folder/plastic gift card.  

self-healing mat, scissors, card stock, bone folder, how to repurpose an empty gift card, craft materials
I kept repeating the process until I had the number of pages I needed (8 pages made from 4 sets of card stock).  

self-healing mat, scissors, card stock, scrapbook paper, craft materials
I trimmed the scrapbook paper to make the cover. It's about the size of the inner pages with a quarter inch added to each side so that it covers the pages when the book is eventually folded.  

self-healing mat, card stock, scrapbook paper, craft materials
Stack the pages on top of each other and end with the cover, neatly lining up the edges together.

card stock, self-healing mat, craft materials
Open the book to the centerfold.

pencil, ruler, self-healing mat, card stock, craft materials
Using a pencil and ruler, mark the center and add two more dots on each end, about half-an-inch from the edge.

self-healing mat, awl, card stock, craft materials
With the awl or a thick needle, make a hole on each mark, making sure the needle goes all the way through the cover page.

self-healing mat, scrapbook paper, needle, thread
Bind the pages together with a needle and thick thread. Start from the outside (cover page) leaving a long tail on one of the corner holes.

self-healing mat, needle and thread, card stock, craft materials
Then bring the needle inside, connecting the dots together with the thread.

Bring the needle back outside, ending in the corner hole opposite where the initial tail can be found. Make a few knots and finish with a bow.  

And here is our handmade book...TADA!

This is another version made from blue card stock.

In the book Craftfulness, filmmaker Lisa Gornick chooses drawing as her craft. She says:

 "Advice to people who want to start drawing? Buy a lovely sketchbook, ink pen. This will be your secret place, your special gift to yourself. Perfectionism is not required, make any mark, fill up that book, keep it a secret to yourself. Don't stop 'til you finish that book. Whatever is in your head. Nothing is wrong, no judgement. At the end of the book then ask yourself again what you think about drawing." 

I think I'll do just that with my new notebooks -- playfully draw in them!

sewing, bookbinding, security envelopes, how to recycle paper, blue notebooks
Here are a few more booklets I made using the paper scraps. I also used empty security envelopes for the covers and played around with the binding patterns. 

graph paper, notebook paper, how to recycle paper into small notebooks
For the inner pages, I used the leftover empty pages from my notebooks and turned them from blah to TADA!

scissors, thread, pencil, awl, paper, craft materials, security envelopes, sewing, bookbinding
How about you, have you ever tried your hand at bookbinding? And do you agree that crafting can be healing?

Don't miss my future blog posts! Please subscribe here


  1. I have made little books before. It's so fun and makes you focus (like all crafting) while keeping your hands busy, so I do think book binding is a tool for healing. I made a little love book for my husband for Christmas one year. That was probably my most rewarding bookbinding project.

    1. That's so sweet and thoughtful, Priscilla! What a wonderful gift idea and way to say "I love you." Your husband is a luck man!


Your comments are very much appreciated!