DIY bound books

DIY book binding - open book

Book binding can seem intimidating because it usually requires specialized tools and costly supplies. This is an easy and inexpensive way to bind books—and it requires minimal specialized tools. Plus you can make these books any size you want. Many thanks to Jessie for helping me refine the design!

How to make mini bound books


  • 12- by 12-inch decorative sheet of paper (or fabric, wallpaper, etc.)
  • cereal box
  • glue stick
  • string or embroidery floss
  • ribbon
  • at least 5 sheets of white paper
  • one sheet of heavyweight paper (cover stock or card stock)


  • tapestry needle
  • 1/8-inch round hole punch
  • scissors or paper cutter
  • ruler
  • bone folder or X-Acto knife
  • pencil

1. Compile the pages of your book. I cut mine 4-3/4 inches wide by 4-1/4 inches tall, so each sheet of letter-size paper would hold four pages.

2. Punch holes along the left edge—about every half inch or so. Punch only 5-10 sheets at a time.

3. Cut two more pages each from your heavyweight paper and decorative paper. Glue the heavyweight pages to the back of the decorative pages. These will be your first and last page. With the heavyweight paper facing out, add them to your stack of pages. Punch holes in these as well.

4. Using your tapestry needle and string, sew the pages together using a whip stitch. No knot is needed at the beginning. Just leave a longish tail, and whip stitch around it to lock it in place. Stitch all the way down and back up. Tie off your string by running your needle under one of your stitches, then back through the loop you created, then repeat. Cut off the excess string.

5. Cut a piece of cardboard from your cereal box to make the cover. I made mine 1/4 inch bigger than the pages all the way around, plus I added spine allowance. My spine allowance was 1/8 inch, so the final measurements of my cover were 10-1/8 inches by 4-3/4 inches.

6. Cut a piece of decorative paper about 3/4 inch larger all the way around than the cardboard. Glue the cardboard to the back center of the decorative paper.

7. Fold and glue the corners down.

8. Then glue the sides down.

9. Measure and mark where your spine should fall. Using a ruler and bone folder (I used the back end of an X-Acto knife instead—remove the blade so you don’t cut your hand) score both edges of the spine, then fold along the scores.

10. Place your sewn pages of your book inside the cover. Glue down the back page to the back inside of the cover. (See step 12 if you’d like to glue your ribbon to the inside cover first.) Then glue the front page, and close the cover. Press down.

11. Before attempting to open your book, score the outside cover about 1/2 inch from the binding, then fold all the way back along the score. Repeat on the back side.

12. Tie a ribbon around it to keep it closed. You can tie it loosely like I did, glue it down and tie it on the side, or glue it to the inside cover before gluing your front and back pages.