Book Binding

Uncover Book Binding

Hobbyists! Hello! Happy February! 

First off, keep this month’s box! It will serve as a tool in this month’s hobby.

What is this month’s box, you ask? It’s bookbinding!

From the handmade paper to the beeswax, this box has everything you need to make your first coptic bound book and hopefully this tutorial will inspire you to keep learning and make even more books in the future.

Personally, I keep a daily and weekly “to-do” list and I was thinking my first book would be for just that. After making it, I was so proud that I couldn’t just use it for scribbles. I decided that I would instead use it as a photo-album.

The coptic-bound design stands apart from other designs because when open, it lays flat. This makes it great for sketching and doodling. I hope that you hobbyist get really creative with your uses. But below is a list of things I came up with:

-Recipe Book

-Photo Album

-Sketch Book

-Scrap Book

-Goal Tracking

-Daily Journaling

-Autograph book (Is this still a thing?!)

-Leaf/Flower Pressing

If you come up with something different please share with us and I’ll add to the list!

Bookbinding sounds great but are you wondering what in the world you are looking at inside of this New Hobby Box?

Let’s take a look……

  1. 4 round-point embroidery needles (size 18)
  2. Sheets for signatures (Signature: group of paper stacked together and folded)
  3. 3 sheets of craft paper (2 for inside covers, 1 for measuring template)
  4. Awl (Used for piercing holes)
  5. Bone folder
  6. Bookmark ribbon (Keep the sticker!)
  7. Glue brush
  8. 0.5mm cotton thread
  9. Beeswax
  10. Itsy bitsy little sticker you should keep!
  11. Glue
  12. 2 hardboards for covers
  13. Handmade paper
  14. New Hobby Box (Will be used as a cutting mat)
  15. Crinkle paper to play with!

Before starting… As always, I highly recommend reading through the tutorial before diving in. Good luck and have fun!

If watching a video is more your style, awesome! We’ve created one just for you:



Step one: Set up your bookbinding station!

Unfold your box and grab a pair of scissors. Put on some relaxing music and perhaps some tea…. Whatever puts you in the mood to learn and create.

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Step two: Making your book covers.

You have a choice here – either make one book cover at a time or make both at the same time. The steps are the exact same regardless of which path you choose.

Start by cutting your handmade paper in two.

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Next, apply glue to one side of your hardboard. I’ve found that a quarter sized glob of glue is the perfect amount.

Completely spread out the glue with your brush:

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Once the glue is evenly applied to the board, flip it over (glue side down) and press firmly in the center of one piece of your handmade paper- make sure it sticks!

Flip the cover over, grab one of the craft papers and place on top. Using the bone folder, smooth over the paper to remove air bubbles between the handmade paper and hardboard.

Cut every corner at a 45 degree angle (leaving 2 to 3 mm space between the blades of the scissor and the corner of the hardboard). 

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Apply glue to the overhanging paper and fold it onto the hardboard.

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Again, put paper over the area and use your bone folder to smoothe the glued area.

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Repeat this process with all four sides- until it looks like this:

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Now for the inside cover. This is where the other two sheets of craft paper come into play. Before glueing both inside covers, make sure to attach the ribbon with the small sticker to create a bookmark.

Apply glue to one side of the inner cover sheet. Carefully attach it to the inside of the cover by pressing the top left hand corner and the top right hand corner down first.

Make sure that the inside cover sheet is about 1mm away from each side of the cover. Do the same with the bottom corners. Once your corners are aligned, carefully smoothe the inside cover with your hand. Once again, put the scrap paper over the area and use your bone folder to smoothe it out. (See a pattern here?)

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Step three: Making signatures and holes! 

To create signatures you will fold the white sheets of paper in half and put them in 5 groups of 6. (We’ve sent you a extra sheets in case any of them have impurities such as folds or marks from shipping.)

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And then…. you guessed it! Smooth out the edges with your bone folder 🙂

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Now it is time to make a measuring tool. The measuring tool will be used to measure the areas where holes need to be punched.

Take the third piece of craft paper you’ve been using to smooth out areas with your bone folder and fold it in half. Using your awl, create 4 evenly spaced holes from the inside pushing out. Voila! You have made your “measuring template”

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Place the measuring template on the inside of each signature. Use the awl and pierce holes from the inside of the signatures.

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Do this with all of the signatures. Tip: Make sure that all the signatures are marked and pierced in the same position otherwise you’ll run the risk of your book turning out crooked.

Before piercing the covers we will need to alter the measuring tool. To do so, draw a line about a half inch to an inch from the fold and make new holes at the same width apart from one another as the old set.

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Take your front cover with the outside facing upwards and on the side where you want your book to be bound, place the measuring template with the old line on the cover’s edge. The newly drawn line will be  is where the holes will be punched. Make sure that the template is evenly placed and that the space between the top and the bottom of the cover is even.

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Take your awl and mark where you need to make the holes.

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Remove the template and make your holes! …Make sure to plan out how your covers will be arranged ahead of punching holes to prevent yourself from having your bookmark in the wrong spot.

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Step four: Coptic Binding! 

This is the most difficult yet rewarding part of the bookbinding process- binding your book!

There are many different styles and interesting ways to bind books and I hope after learning the “coptic” technique, you are interested enough to check out some other techniques.

Before I delve into the specifics… Please have a gander at the image below and notice how the bind looks ‘braided’. This is the desired look of the coptic stitch. I hope this image helps you figure out this technique because it can be tricky to follow. (Took me 4 times to get it right the first time)

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Grab your thread- we will be making two cuts. Each cut will have a needle on BOTH ends 🙂

Using your book’s cover as a measuring tool, make both cuts the length of the book’s front cover multiplied by the amount of signatures in the book, plus one.

Thanks to Kristina from Georgia, the formula for this is: [(length of cover x amount of signatures) + 1 length of signature]

Next, thread both ends through your needles leaving about a 10cm trail. (Do this for both lines of thread)

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Place your beeswax on top of your brush handle. Now stick the eyes of your needles into the wax!

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The desired outcome is to have little boogers clogging up the eyes so your thread stays in place 🙂

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Stack your first signature atop the front cover with the inside of the cover facing upwards. Make sure your holes align.

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Start sewing from the first signature in the book. Insert the first pair of needles into holes 1 and 2 from inside the signature. Then, insert the second pair of needles into holes 3 and 4. (The below photo shows holes 3 and 4). Close the first signature and pull the needles and thread lines through the holes. Even the thread lines to make sure they are equally long.

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Take each needle around the front cover of the book and insert it through the corresponding hole. Make sure the needle exits on the right (your thread line should be on the left of the needle).

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Now that you have bound the front cover to the first signature, it is time to align them. Carefully pull the thread tighter and make sure that the book is aligned.

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Place the second signature on top of the first signature. Insert the first needle through the first hole from the outside of the second signature. The needle should exit on the inside of the signature. Do the same with all the other needles. Pull the thread lines through from the inside of the second signature.

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Crossover the first needle through the second hole from inside the signature and carefully pull the needle from the outside of the signature through the hole.

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One important thing to remember – the inside needles go out and the outside needles go in.

Crossover the second needle through the first hole from inside the signature and carefully pull the needle from the outside of the signature through the hole.

Once you’ve finished the crossover binding, pull the second signature carefully in line with the first signature and the front cover.

Now to the part that creates the coptic/kettle stitch (the braided look):

Insert the first needle behind the first signature and exit on the right. Pull the thread line through and carefully tighten the bind. (Input on the left, exit on the right.)

Repeat this process with each new signature 🙂

In other words, after each new signature you add, you will go back one signature and complete a loop before moving on to the next signature. If you aren’t following my directions well, check out this blog: or this video that helped me learn:

Have you made it through the chain and tied off on the back cover? Time to tie off on the inside…

And then a quick snip-snip…..


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I encourage everyone to keep digging into bookbinding and research the different methods and materials you can use.

Here are a few links to get started:


How was your experience? Have questions? Please drop a line below!!

P.S…. Hobbyists that have been with us awhile, bookbinding pairs great with marbling and calligraphy 😉

Until next month,

Your friends @newhobbybox





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