Let’s get a spine! – Increasing the quality of our home-made books.

Some time ago I wrote about my experimentations with book printing and binding.

booksIn between, I’ve continued my hobby trying with other materials and techniques, even looking for advices and feedbacks from other home-made bookbinders like me and this time I write down how I obtained my favorite and qualitatively-acceptable way to bind a book.

From hot-glue to PVA glue

In the previous article, I wrote about my aptitude for using a fast-drying hot-glue to get all of the book’s pages firmly together yet maintaining a certain degree of flexibility for the book’s spine.

Actually, I’ve to admit that hot-glue is surely fast and clean but it is also a very short-term solution and, after some usages, pages start rapidly to detach.

On the contrary, I started experimenting with PVA and techniques used by other amateur book-binders with that kind of glue, until I finally found the right “recipe”.

Rag it, wet it, brush it, spine it

Here it’s my recipe:

  1. Get together all of your book’s pages, keeping them firm and aligned with a bunch of binder clips or better two A4-sized boards.
  2. Once you can figure out the dimension of your book’s “spine”, take a fabric rug (a cotton rug suits well) and cut it to cover the whole spine.
  3. Take a sponge, wet it (a little) and use it to wet the edge of the pages that will constitute the spine of the book. I recommend to do this step very carefully: too much water can spoil the whole work, too little prevents the glue from deeply permeate your pages .
  4. Get the PVA glue and make a mixture with water, usually I mix 4-5 parts of glue and 1 part of water.
  5. Now spread a generous amount of the mixture all along the book’s “spine” and gently apply the previously cut rug.
  6. Let it dry and you will be done.

The cloth will provide the right support to the book’s spine which will keep all pages together while letting it bend and open wide.

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