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Tuesday, 4 September 2012

How to make a hard bound book cover (as promised)

Well, as promised, I've got the instructions here for how to make a hard bound book cover.  I'm re-making the one I did for the little 3x3 mini I posted pictures of a week ago, but with different papers.  I took pictures all the way through the process and now I'll do my best to explain each step.  Let me know if you need any clarification or help.  Also, I'd love to do a class in town "all about minis" let me know if you'd like that!

First the supply list (and of course I forgot a couple in the picture.
- Outside cover cardstock - 8.5" x 4"
- Inside cover cardstock - 7.5" x 3"
- cardboard (whatever thickness you'd like) - 2 pieces 3.25" square and one 3.25" x .75"
- acid free glue
- small foam brush
- clear ruler (like the awesome CTMH one)
- bone folder
- scissors

Step 1 - Without glue, get everything laid out.  Take the 8.5x4 outside cover paper and lay it good side down, then using the ruler for spacing, lay out the cardboard pieces.  The outside edges are all 3 small squares on the ruler (or 3/8's of an inch) and the spacing between the 2 larger pieces of cardboard and the spine is 2 squares on the ruler (or 1/4 of an inch).  Leave the ruler sitting on the project like this and use it as a guide when you start gluing, it really helps a lot!

Step 2 - spread glue all over the first piece of cardboard.  Depending on the type of glue you have you may need to move pretty fast, I used a fast drying so I had to move really fast, a slower drying glue is ideal, but I didn't have any. It's best to hold the cardboard off the surface, so you don't make a huge mess and you can brush right to the edges.  Try to make it smooth, to avoid bumps on your cover. Also, don't totally saturate your paper in glue, that will make the whole project curl as it dries. In the next picture you can get a good idea of what is enough glue.

Place the glued piece of cardboard on the cover stock using the ruler as a guide and rub/press it down all over using LOTS of pressure to be sure it's totally stuck down on all the edges and everything.  Again, quickly before the glue dries. I use my bone folder for the this and even flip it over to press on the "good" side of the cover to ensure it's all stuck down well.

Continue for all three pieces of cardboard, doing the spine second.

Step 3 - Once you have all three pieces glued to the outside cover, we need to get it ready for wrapping.  To make the corners cleaner and easier to fold, chop off all four corners, leaving about 1/4 of an inch of paper at the corner (see the picture).

Step 4 - Using the bone folder, run it along all the edges to create a fold line.

Step 5 - Now fold up the edges, again using the bone folder is the easiest way to do this. Fold them all up first without glue.

Step 6 - Starting with the shorter sides, use your foam brush and some more glue to cover the flap with glue and then use the bone folder and lots of pressure to fold over and stick down the two short sides.  Do NOT do the long sides until after you've done the next couple of steps.

Step 7 - The next three pictures all describe this step, it's hard to explain so I hope the pictures help. They are the before, during and after pictures.  This is where you are going to "wrap" the corners so that you end up with a nice clean corner in the end.  Using the bone folder press in the corner kind of like what you do to wrap a present. It takes some practice to get this right, but don't worry, it's not that hard once you try!

Step 8 - Once you have all 4 corners wrapped, then you can glue down the flaps on the long sides. Use your fingers to make sure that you press down on the paper in the cracks of the spine, to be sure that the flap sticks there also.

Step 9 - Glue the inside cover on (which covers up all the glue and other messes you've made while folding and gluing. I use the foam brush again for this, to spread an even coat of glue all over the paper, right to the edges.  Then use the bone folder and lots of pressure rubbing all over to get the paper stuck down well.

Step 10 - (I know, I switched papers...) When gluing on the inside cover, be sure to use your fingers to really press down hard on the valley's in the spine to get the outside and inside covers sticking to eachother.  You will end up with it looking like this picture if you do this well.  Once everything is glued down, before the glue is 100% dry and brittle work the spine a bit by opening and closing the book.

Now it's time to add your inside paper, however you've created your inside papers, now is the time to add them, there are so many options and ways for this....I'd love to show you some of the more complex stitch bindings that we can do, but not today!

The mini that I created this cover for (which was posted a week ago) the inside pages were a maze book and I simply glued the back page to the back inside cover and voila, there's the book. Click here to see that project.

I hope you've found these instructions helpful!!! Happy crafting!


  1. LOVE your tutorial, Dorothy, esp the step-by-step photos. I'm going to store this one away for future projects. I like the idea of making the book whatever size and colour you wish. Thanks very much for sharing this!

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