As the saying goes, don't judge a book by its cover … or lack of it. If you have a valuable book that just falls apart because the spine or cover is in poor condition, don't throw it away! Binding them at home is an easy way to repair your favorite books, and to keep them away from flames.
Method 1 of 2: Repair only the spine
Step 1. Remove the original spine
About half an inch from the spine, cut the fabric to bind both the front and back covers using a utility knife. Avoid cutting near the joints, as these join the covers to the book. You can take the folder and gently remove the spine of the book.
Step 2. Measure the tenderloin
You can measure the spine you just removed, or the space between the joints of your book. Cut a piece of cardboard or bristol stock that is the same as this measurement.
Step 3. Have the fabrics ready
Choose a stiff cotton or linen fabric that is the same as your book cover. Measure it to be the same size as the spine, then add an inch (2.5cm) more to the length and two inches (5cm) more to the width. Cut fabrics that way.
Step 4. Attach the spine to the fabric of the book
Cover the back of your spine with a book binding glue, and center it on the fabric. Cut the corners of the fabric at a 45 degree angle, and add glue to the bottom edge of the cardboard. Fold the top and bottom of the binding cloth and press them onto the spine.
Step 5. Remove the glue from the old spine
Using the utility knife, scrape as much glue as you can from the old spine of your book. You want the new spine to have a clean start, so make sure it sticks correctly by preparing the space where it will go.
Step 6. Prepare the book for a new outer spine
Lay the book with the spine edge up. Use a brick to hold it in place. Glue a book spine liner to the sheets of the book.
Step 7. Lay out the new tenderloin
Put the glue on the binding cloth of the new spine. Carefully cover the new spine over the book. Start from the spine, pushing the binding cloth over the cover. Use a folder to remove any air bubbles. Wrap the binding cloth around the top and bottom of the original cover.
Step 8. Let it dry
Place the finished book in the book press overnight to dry. Put a piece of wax paper on the inside of the cover to prevent the leaves from sticking together.
Method 2 of 2: Replace the entire cover
Step 1. Remove the old cover
The current cover of your book must be mostly glued or it may be hanging by a thread; Regardless of its condition, carefully remove the entire cover including the spine of the book. Use an exact or precision knife (scalpel type) with a new blade to remove excess glue, torn pages, or threads sticking out of the book.
Step 2. Take the measurements
Measure the covers and spine you just removed, or measure the book itself. If you choose to do it last, add an extra 3/8 inch (0.65 cm) to the height.
Step 3. Cut out the new covers
Use the measurement you just took to cut out the three bristol cardboard pieces. You should have two pieces for the covers and one for the spine.
Step 4. Prepare the binding cloth
Choose a piece of cotton or stiff linen to serve as your binding cloth. Lay the three pieces of bristol card stock on the binding cloth, leaving 3/8 inch (0.95 cm) between each cover and the edge, which has 1 inch (2.5 cm) more margin around the entire cover, and cut the fabric onto the rectangular shape.
Step 5. Create the cover
Add a thin layer of binding glue to the back of the cardboard cutout, and put them in the same place they were when you measured the fabric. Cut the corners of the fabric at a 45 degree angle, and fold all the edges of the fabric over the inside of the corners. Add more glue to bind the inside, and use a folder to glue the fabric in place.
Step 6. Sew the final sheets
A new cover requires end sheets for the cover to stick to the book. Use a sturdy paper (one of those stored ones) for the end pages. Use a needle to thread the final new pages together with the old sections of the book.
Step 7. Add the new cover
Put a layer of solid glue on the inside of the front cover, and put the book on the back cover. Fold it over the final cover page, and use a folder to smooth and fix the glue to the front cover. Repeat the same process with the back cover.
Step 8. Let the cover dry
Place the book in the book press overnight to dry. Put a piece of waxed paper between the end pages and the book to prevent the pages from sticking together.
- You can cut the title from the old spine to paste it onto the new spine. This will help you identify the book.
- If you only have one book that needs to be bound, you can take it to a professional because of the large number of specialized materials that you will have to buy, such as binding cloth and a book press with bookplate (or rubric).