Making Hardback Book Covers – Video Tutorials

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So you’re wondering how to create a hardback book from scratch? Well this page is for you! We’ve pulled together the best YouTube video tutorials along with a transcribed written procedure (slightly edited) and a huge list of additional resources (which you can find at the bottom of this page) which will take you through, in a step-by-step fashion, many ways to make the hard-back book of your dreams!

Before you move on, don’t forget to check out our very own post on Making Hardback Book Covers, we’ve also got a tutorial on making Split-Cover Boards for Larger Books.

* Note that videos shown on this page are works of other book-binders and not the work of i BookBinding.

We would love to know what you think of the videos, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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For those of you who might like to skim read the first video tutorial whilst or before viewing the video, we’ve taken the time to transcribe the first video (it’s the most in-depth and a process we would commonly use):

Making Hard-Back Book Covers: A Step-by-Step Guide / Tutorial
Video created by Robin House.

  1. To measure the spine take your two covers and put them in place front and back.
  2. Lay this flat on the table, press the book down ever so slightly, measure the thickness of the book, in this case it appears the book is about half an inch thick.
  3. Cut the spine accordingly, one 1/2 inch by the height of the book. After the boards are cut you’re going to lightly sand the edges of the outside of the board – the book cloth will adhere more easily to a rounded surface than a hard edge.
  4. Now we are going to measure our book cloth. Roll out the book cloth with the cloth side down and the paper backing up. Draw a horizontal line about an inch-and-a-half from the bottom edge of the cloth.
  5. Place your boards in order along the horizontal line. Front and back cover to each side and the spine in the middle.
  6. Mark the position of the board on the right. Then, sandwich three small pieces of binders board to define space between the cover and the spine.
  7. Now mark the position of the spine.
  8. Using the same three pieces a binders board establish the space between the spine and the left cover. Mark the position of the last cover.
  9. Using a metal square extend the vertical lines approximately the height of the boards.
  10. Mark the height of the covers and draw another horizontal line.
  11. Draw a boundary line three quarters of an inch away from the book covers.
  12. Finally, measure one quarter of an inch away from each corner and draw a 45-degree diagonal line.
  13. Using an exacto knife, cut along the outside line and cut the corners on the diagonal.
  14. To place the cloth to the board you going to need a stack of waste papers.
  15. Place the book cloth on the papers with the cloth side down. Hold the book cloth in place while applying the glue with your large paste brush; always brush from the center to the out side edges.
  16. After applying the glue, slip out the used top sheet wastepaper and discard. Be careful not to get any glue on the cloth surface underneath. Next, carefully place your boards on the pasted book cloth making sure to stay within the drawn lines.
  17. From the back, rub each board to affix the glue. Next, starting at the bottom edge, turn over the book cloth and press it in place on the board. Continue with the other side.
  18. From here you’re going to fold the corners into the sides. First, press down the corners so they can form to the binders board (you can use a small device like a spatula or any pointed tool to manipulate the book cloth).
  19. Next, fold the extended cloth sides onto to the board.
  20. Place the cloth covered boards under a weight and let it dry overnight.
  21. Now it’s truly beginning to look like a hard-cover. To create that nice groove the hinge we’re going to open up the case and lay it flat on the table resting on a piece of wax paper.
  22. Now you can slip small wooden dowels under the case, putting them in the space between the front and back covers and the spine.
  23. Apply a bit of glue along the edge of the covers and spine, also apply a small amount of glue in the space between the board’s and under the fold in the book cloth.
  24. Next you can smooth out the glue with your finger. Place a piece of wax paper over the cover, on top of that, position three small pieces of wood – one on the spine and the others on the covers near the spine.
  25. Rest a weight or books on top the wood and let it dry overnight. In the morning you will have perfectly shaped hinges.
  26. The next step will be to attach the signatures and mull onto the hard-cover board. We will leave this for another tutorial.

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