Now that we have made our paper, decorated our covers, and trimmed our pages, it’s time to get binding! There are many options out there, and I’ve chosen what I consider to be the easiest and fastest. There is always the option to staple your signatures together, but I found this to be bulky during the end process.
What is a signature? A signature is a grouping of pages that are bound together, and then the signatures are bound for the final piece. If you look at the closest book to you, you will notice that the first 10, 15, 20, etc. pages are folded in half together, with multiple of these groupings making up all the pages of the book. Those individual sections are what we refer to as signatures.
- Book pages
- Tape (optional)
- Needle threader (optional)
- Scissors *not pictured
The first step in this process is to create a bundle of pages for your signature. Work with the type of paper you are using to see what feels the best. For my brown paper bag pages, five pages seemed to be a great number.
Step one: Place your needle through the middle of the stack of pages.
Step two: Go back through the pages roughly half way between the middle and the end of the pages.
Step three: Return through the middle of the pages.
Step four: Place the needle through the top portion of the page. Roughly halfway between the middle and top of the page.
Step five: Return through the middle of the page.
Step six: Place the needle through the bottom sewing hole.
Step seven: Tie the loose ends together to close the binding.
Step eight: Cut as close to the knot as possible without breaking the knot.
There you have it! A completed signature! Repeat this step for as many signatures as you need for your book. You can also mix and match the color of string used to sew the pages to create an extra layer of personalization!
Implementing this as an activity in your library:
- I highly suggest investing in needle threaders. Not only do they save on time, but they will save your patrons lots of frustration.
- Rather than buying large spools of thread, purchasing smaller spools allows for more patrons to work at the same time, rather than waiting for someone to finish with a spool.
- Have children be supervised by parents if they wish to partake in binding!
- Create print outs that show the figure-eight method used here so that visual learners can have something to look back on when working.
- Have staff available who have tried this method before to help patrons who need assistance.
Graduate student in Masters of Library and Information Science programming trying to save the world one book at a time.