DIY Guide: Hardcover Made Easy

In this guide we show you how easy it can be to bind your own hardcover book. With our detailed step-by-step instructions including a video we want to inspire more people to discover the world of bookbinding. This guide is the first major project of our new staff member Julia, who is not a trained bookbinder herself and thus learned a lot while creating this guide. To go with the guide, we also offer all the materials and tools as a set.

1 Material and tools

We need the following materials for our hardcover book:
  • Cover material (Bookbinding cloth, cover paper)
  • Bookbinders grey board for front and back cover as well as spine
  • Book block blank (bound book block with attached endpaper)
  • Headband
  • Bookmark
In addition, we need the following tools:
  • Sharp knife, e.g. cutter knife
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Brush
  • Glue (we recommend using a universal bookbinding glue such as Planatol BB)
  • Bonefolder
  • Casemaking square (practical tool, is not absolutely necessary)
  • Corner cutting tool (practical tool, is not absolutely necessary)

DIY set you can configure yourself

Our DIY set configurator contains all the necessary materials and tools (the tool set is optional) and allows you to design your own individual notebook at the same time. You can decide whether it should be a notebook with gilt edges, which cover material you want to use and which colours the headband and the bookmark should have. We will then send you your individually configured set in the quantities you need.

Go to diy set
DIY-Set Schmedt
1+
× Book block blank

Pre-bound book block with attached endpaper (with or without gilt edges)

2+
× Universal brush

Especially for bookbinding work (optional in the tool set)

3+
× Corner cutting tool

3D printed tool from iBookBinding (optional in the tool set)

4+
× Tailored cover material

Choose from many colours and materials.

5+
× Case-making square

3D printed tool from iBookBinding (optional in the tool set)

6+
× Bookmark (Page-marking ribbon)

Choose between different colours.

7+
× Headband

Choose between different colours.

8+
× Cardboard blanks

Greyboard cut to the correct dimensions.

9+
× Bonefolder

Essential for bookbinding work (optional in the tool set)

10+
× Planatol BB

Universal bookbinding glue (optional in the tool set)

× Book block blank

Pre-bound book block with attached endpaper (with or without gilt edges)

× Universal brush

Especially for bookbinding work (optional in the tool set)

× Corner cutting tool

3D printed tool from iBookBinding (optional in the tool set)

× Tailored cover material

Choose from many colours and materials.

× Case-making square

3D printed tool from iBookBinding (optional in the tool set)

× Bookmark (Page-marking ribbon)

Choose between different colours.

× Headband

Choose between different colours.

× Cardboard blanks

Greyboard cut to the correct dimensions.

× Bonefolder

Essential for bookbinding work (optional in the tool set)

× Planatol BB

Universal bookbinding glue (optional in the tool set)

2 Video-Guide: Step by step to your hardcover book

We'll show you how to bind your own hardcover book with our DIY kit in our video guide. Easy to watch and follow along.

Note: Enable subtitles for a description of the work steps.

3 Guide: All steps explained in detail

You'd rather read than watch a video? No problem, we have described the process again in detail in our step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Measure & mark board placement

Place the cloth blank in front of you with backside facing upwards. The width and height of the cover material is 8mm larger than the cardboard including the spine insert and the width of the joints (space between the cover boards and the spine insert). Place the boards on the cloth according to the illustration and mark the position of the boards on the cloth. With the Casemaking square you can make sure that you have the same distance on all sides and that everything is square.

Step 3: Cut the corners

Are all the cardboards firmly attached to the cloth? Then you can now cut the corners of the cloth at a 45° angle. To do this, carefully turn the book cover blank over again and place the corner cutting device against the corners of the cardboards. Use a sharp cutter (or knife) to cut off all four corners of the cloth along the corner cutting device.

If you do not have a corner cutter at hand, make sure that the cut is not made directly against the cardboard, but at a distance of 2mm.

Step 5: Attach the bookmark

For the bookmark, coat about 5cm of the spine with glue and apply approx. 5cm of the bookmark to the spine. Then add another thin layer of glue on top.

You can now cut the bookmark to the desired length. And if you want, you can use a lighter to carefully and briefly heat the tail end of the bookmark so that the tip is neatly closed.

To keep the bookmark out of your way during the rest of the process, you can open the book block after step 6 (attaching the headband) and place the bookmark inside the book. Turn a few pages over and fold the end of the bookmark into the open page. This prevents creases in the bookmark and keeps it out of your way.

Step 6: Attach the headband

Now you can add the headband to complete your book block. Apply approx. 1 cm of glue to both the top and bottom end of the book spine. Alternatively, you can also apply glue to the lower part of the headband if you would like, but it is normally easier to apply glue to the block. You can either cut the headband to the book block thickness before attaching it, or shorten it afterwards on the book block. Now we glue the headband over the bookmark ribbon. The coloured part of the ribbon should extend just beyond the head or foot of the book when it is applied. Once you are happy with the positioning, if you did not before, now is the time to cut the headband to size. Continue with the other side (where there is no bookmark).

How long both bookmark and headband should be is a matter of taste in the DIY space, but we generally can recommend the following:

  • 28cm + 5cm for the bookmark
  • for the headband: book block thickness + 1-2mm

You can colour coordinate the capital ribbon and the bookmark ribbon: Uniform in one colour or you can work with e.g. complementary colours.

Step 7: Position book block into the case

The book block blank is now placed in the cover. Insert the book block into the hardcover so that it has the same distance from all 3 open sides and fits directly against the spine board. Afterwards, place the closed book in front of yourself.

4 Even more creativity

Anyone who has ever used Washi Tape knows about the great haptics of this adhesive tape. It is particularly suitable for creative work around books and paper.

Washi Tape / Masking Tape | Matt
Japanese decorative tape made from rice paper
Colour: 44 - yellow

In stock, deliverable at short notice

€2.52*
Washi Tape / Masking Tape | Glossy
Japanese decorative tape made from rice paper
Colour: 01 - gold

In stock, deliverable at short notice

€2.52*
Washi Tape / Masking Tape | Glossy
Japanese decorative tape made from rice paper
Colour: 04 - pink

In stock, deliverable at short notice

€2.52*
Washi Tape / Masking Tape | Matt
Japanese decorative tape made from rice paper
Colour: 46 - turquoise

In stock, deliverable at short notice

€2.52*
Washi Tape / Masking Tape | Pastel
Japanese decorative tape made from rice paper
Colour: 23 - green

In stock, deliverable at short notice

€2.52*
Washi Tape / Masking Tape | Pastel
Japanese decorative tape made from rice paper
Colour: 28 - grey

In stock, deliverable at short notice

€2.52*
Washi Tape / Masking Tape | Pastel
Japanese decorative tape made from rice paper
Colour: 25 - blue

In stock, deliverable at short notice

€2.52*

5 Frequently asked questions

Laminating and bookbinding glue is a classic adhesive for laminating paper and cardboard, for bookbinding and for bonding with cloth. The adhesive becomes clear and matt after the drying process. As a universal bookbinding adhesive, Planatol BB is very suitable for most manual bookbinding tasks.
Endpapers (or endsheets) are two folded sheets of paper in the same format as the book block. They are the connecting element between the book block and the book case and are glued against the book block with a narrow strip on the one side and with the whole outside surface against the book case on the other side.
The head and foot are the upper and lower parts of the book respectively.