We decided to reuse whatever materials we could find in our studio to make some new sketchbooks. After all, every creative artist needs a place to keep their greatest ideas safe! We decided to keep it simple, so all paperback sketchbooks were made using standard office staples as binding. For the hardcover books, however, we chose to take a different approach. Here, we'll discuss the different processes of book binding and how we did it ourselves.
Not all books are made the same. There are various bookbinding techniques, with each having a distinct process to bring the book to form. Some may be sewn together with needle and thread while others require patience and glue.
TERMS TO KNOW
Leaf - Different than a folio, a leaf is typically two pages of text and/or images, front and back, in a finished book
Signature - a section of a printed book containing text
Folio - Used as a common method of arranging sheets of paper, may also refer to the size of a finished book
Trimming - Separates the leaves of a bound book, Deckle Edge books are left untrimmed, adding texture to the pages and may be of special interest to collectors
METHODS OF BOOKBINDING
1. Case Binding (Also known as edition or cloth binding) - Typically the most common form used for binding hardcover books, the pages are bound by glue and attached to a cover or case usually made of cardboard covered with cloth or other material.
2. Oversewing - Loose pages are held together while small vertical holes are punched through the left-hand side of the signatures. Lock-stitches are used to keep the signatures assembled to form a text block. Oversewing is one of the strongest methods of bookbinding, though when completed, the margins can be reduced and the pages will not lie flat when the book is open.
3. Smyth Sewing (Sewing through the fold) - Signatures are folded and stitched through the fold, then sewn and glued together at the spine to form a text block. Through-the-fold books can have wide margins and will allow for the pages to lie flat when the book is opened.
4. Double-Fan Adhesive Binding - Two signatures of loose pages are pressed with a roller, to "fan" the pages, allowing for a thin layer of glue to be applied to each page edge. The two signatures are then perfectly aligned to form a text block and attached to a piece of cloth lining to form the spine. Similar to Smyth Sewing, this method allows for wider margins and book pages to lie flat. Depending on the material, however, this method can become loose over time, as some papers do not hold adhesive well.
5. Perfect Binding - Generally used for paperback books, this method allows for various sections with a cover of heavier material to be glued at the spine. Notches are applied to allow hot glue to penetrate the spine of the book while the other three sides of the pages are trimmed.
6. Saddle-Stitching (Stapling) - Most commonly used for comic books and magazines, the pages are held together by staples through the centerfold.
Of course, these are only just a few examples of all the many bookbinding techniques. We encourage you to explore and even try a few for yourself. We want to see what you've made! Email us your work at firstname.lastname@example.org.