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Forever Friends Bookbinding Tutorial

Scroll down for step-by-step instructions 
Materials Included: for two (2) books + embellishments! 

- you will just need a pair of scissors -

Let's get started!

Once you unpack your box, take a minute to neatly arrange your workstation. You don’t need a lot of room to complete this project but it’s nice to have some clear physical and mental space to work. In the video, I am sitting on a couch using a folding “tv tray” for spatial reference. We’re going to start with the interior of the book. In the video, I’ll be making two books at once so I’ll go through each step twice. You can absolutely choose to make the books one at a time or with a buddy!

Part 1: Bind your Interior

  • In your paper pack, you’ll find cream colored paper as well as repurposed book pages with content on them. Divide the paper into two stacks and arrange the interior pages in your desired order. I like to mix the pages up to give the book a little character and natural “breaks” as you flip through and use the pages. Once you organize your paper (no more than 14 sheets per book) fold each stack in half as a set. This creates a signature. Press down on the spine of the signature to make it as flat as possible. 

  • Take the smaller spine cloth and lay it on the outside fold of the signature with the cloth side facing in. Clip the cloth and the open book together and get ready to poke some holes!

  • You will need the chipboard folder from your kit as well as the thumb tack provided or an awl if you have one. Nestle the signature in the fold and use the sharp point to poke 3 holes about evenly distance down the spine. One in the middle and then one of either side. Make sure you reinforce each hole so that you can easily get your needle through. (see video ~3:40 min mark)

  • Grab your needle and thread, we’re going to bind the signature to that spine cloth! You might want to read these next couple instructions first before you try them, they can be intimidating but I think you’re amazing and I believe in you. (see video ~5:10 min mark)

  • You’ll start by entering the center hole, from the outside or the inside, depending on where you want to see the tie. 

  • From whichever position you choose, enter the signature through the center hole and pull the thread through leaving a half inch (or so) thread tail. Hold that tail down with your finger.

  • From where you are, move your needle to one of the holes on either side of the center. Enter and pull through. 

  • Now you’re on the other side. Skip over the center hole and enter through the opposite hole, making sure your thread is tight (but not too tight). 

  • Finally, enter through the center hole once more so that you end where you begin. Place the strands on either side of the long stitch and tie them together. Trim the excess thread. Now the signature is done, you’ve made the insides! Next, we’re going to make the cover.

Here is an example of what your interior should look like. 

Part 2: Spine & Clothes Cover

  • Find one of the spine cloths and lay it on the table with the paper side up (you should see corner marks).

  • Position boards to mimic a cover by using the marks provided

  • Spread glue on the edge of one board (about 1/2 inch), then place the board glue side down on the cloth, lining up to corner marks. Pro tip: Before glueing, mark your board where the cloth would end (see video).

  • Flip board over and use your nice clean fingers to push out any potential air bubbles.

  • Repeat steps 3 & 4 on the other side/board.

  • Fold two flaps of cloth above and below into the book and then glue down. Be sure the boards don’t move. Congrats! You have created a spine and the skeleton of your book!

  • Now let’s decorate your skeleton! Lay your cover flat down on the table, spine side up.

  • Using the random decorative pieces provided, arrange the pieces over the boards so that the entire board is covered. *NOW THIS IS IMPORTANT* You’ll need to let the decorative pieces hang over the edge of the board a little bit. You can decorate your cover however you fancy but it needs to have an inch overhang.

  • Once you’re happy with your design, glue the pieces down (glue pages provided) leaving that overhang of decorative paper unglued.

  • Once you have decorated the book and you’ve waited a sec for the glue to dry, miter all four corners which means you’ll cut each corner at a 45 degree angle, ⅛ in from the corner. I included a picture example. (see diagram)

  • Fold into the book the top and bottom edges and glue them down.

  • Next, fold over the sides and glue down, tucking in any extra paper at the corner. Now your skeleton is fully dressed! Your cover is done! Next, we’ll take the two parts and make them one. Friends forever.


This is the part where I would add my wax paper sheets and let the books set and fully dry overnight. But if you’d like to finish up now, that’s fine. Just give it a few minutes. This is a great time to go wash your hands and hydrate!

Part 3: Careful Harmony. Where it all comes together

  • Position your cover on the table, inside facing you. 

  • Grab your signature and also grab two pieces of scrap paper. Put the scrap paper between the signature and it’s spine cloth. Basically in front of the first page and behind the last page with the spine cloth on the outside of it all. This should prevent you from getting glue all over the first page of your book.

  • This next step is gluing the outside spine of the signature to the inside spine of the cover. Brush glue on the outside spine of the signature and position it to the center of the inside spine. Make sure there’s even space between top and bottom.

  • Quickly smooth out the glue and close the book, making sure the scrap papers are still there. 

  • Manipulate the book to be set in the ideal closed position. If you need to adjust, do it quickly before the book dries. With the book on the table, carefully open the book and adjust and press the spines together again.

  • Keeping the scrap paper in between the signature and cover you’ll want to let it dry for a moment. 15 mins or so. I take this time to clean my hands of any residual glue and pat myself on the back. We’re almost done!

  • The last step is to apply end pages to the inside of the cover. Lay your book with the front cover open. Position the paper in the center. Apply a small amount of glue to the end page and place on the board. Smooth it out, allowing any air bubbles to exit. 

  • Replace the wax paper between the cover and pages and press the book overnight under something heavy: other books, your mattress, bricks, the person from that Beatles song. In the morning recycle whatever scrap paper you used and look at your new book in awe. I’m so proud we went on this journey together. 

You now have two brand new books. What will they become? Let me know on instagram by tagging @formerhousewife and using the hashtag #newbookwhodis
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