How to Leather Bind a Book

How to Leather Bind a Book | Step by Step Guideline

To be honest, making a leather-bound book is somewhat intimidating for me. It takes all your determination and severe attention during the whole process. Today, I'll go a bit different than my other how-to articles.

I would like to share some practical knowledge despite not being able to be the greatest in this sector. Don't worry; we together will find the best way of binding books and how to leather bind a book particularly.

How to Make a Leather Bound Book

Now we are about to learn the exciting hacks of turning a normal paperback book into a leather-bound masterpiece.


Write down the dimension of your paperback book: the height, width, and depth. In my case, I normally take some eight-and-a-half by 11 pages and fold them to make my leaves for the book. I do five of them, and each one has five pages. Then I quickly figure out the size of my cover, make my edges straight, and then eyeball how much overlap I want for the cover to the pages. Now I give it another quick eyeball for the width of the pages when they're all in the book cover itself; then, I'll square everything up and cut the last two sides of my cover.

Figure out the holes

I match both sides so that I can draw a line. There's the spine of my book in the middle of that paper. Now, remember that's not where your pages are going they're going to go inside that line that's where the fold is for your cover.

Grab papers great for figuring out your holes for your pages. There are three stitches that I run through all five sets of pages, and so I mark 10 holes at the top, 10 holes at the bottom, 10 holes in the middle. And that's where I run my stitches. So this just makes the pattern, and that'll help us put the pattern on the cover and the pattern on the pages. Notably, if you want to follow a different pattern of tunnels, you can.

Transfer holes to the pages and cover pattern

We just punch all your holes, and then what we're going to do is transfer one line of those holes to the pages and then all of those holes to the cover pattern. I use a ruler just to make sure my holes don't waver a little bit. Sometimes, you think you're punching in a straight line, and it really isn't at all.

So I just use one of the rows down the spine or down the centerfold of the pages, and we get to match up. We throw some holes in them, and we throw some holes in all five.

Complete the cover pattern

This style of the book is really pretty simple to do. I was looking on YouTube, and it seems like there's a lot of more intimidating books if at first glance, so I figured if somebody wanted to make a book for the first time, this would be a great way of doing it. It's got minimal tools, and it doesn't seem very intimidating, and it looks pretty cool too in the end.

All right! Now just eyeball it because that's what you do throwing the holes onto your cover. Now, you'll punch all these, and then that'll be your completed cover pattern.

Bevel a side or both

The leather I used for the first time was, I think it was seven-ounce budget item. Use a little thinner if you want.

Now, you should bevel only one side of this because you can put some other leather on the backside to make smooth inner covers. You don't necessarily have to do that so if you're not going to do the leather on the inside, then just bevel both sides.

Carve leather

Alright! Once you've got this far done, then all you need to do is carve leather. And it'll be great.

Now, set up the lines for the V gouge, which is the device that cut lines into the cover and makes it, so the pages and the cover folds easier.

So just follow your pattern and draw some lines, then get the V gouge to work there. It is pretty simple. It's got a groove; it's adjustable. But be careful with it. You could just go right through your entire piece of leather and ruin your cover really quickly. So take it easy; do it out; check it off, and make sure you're not going all the way through, especially after you've carved it.

Just occasionally fold it see how your covers are doing until you're happy with it. Obviously, again be careful. Now, you are going to prep your inside cover. I recommend making it bigger than I made it for the very first time. Make it big enough so that it's got some overlap when you glue it down, and then when you cut it away, it'll be a nice crisp edge instead of trying to guess your way along.

Prepare the outer surface

I made that a little bigger at the bottom, but it was not really enough. Just like the main cover, you want to make sure you're only beveling one side of these. So when you glue it together, there is no obvious separation between the inside cover parts and the outside cover. I like Pro die. It dries nice and even. It works fine even if you want it instantly to get a base color on your cover. Moreover, it is fairly light.

I used my Angeles die pens to color. And because of that, the whole image was going to end up a little darker than it would if you were to use an acrylic paint. I was not really worried about being messy because I used a stain to fix it all up in the end.

If you really want your design to pop, use acrylic paint and then apply a resist and then, use some antique finish.

I personally want the cover darker and aged looking. You can even apply a finish to it that will act as the resist so that you can put your antique on it. Because I've used just die to color the cover that resists permeating a little bit and darkens everything.

Again it's a personal preference. There is nothing related to your binding quality and so. I've used more paint there to make everything a little brighter.

Have you saddle lac before? It works great. I never used Angela's Matt finished before, so I decided to try it, and it worked out. All right! I love using the spray gun, by the way, if you have an air compressor, grab a spray gun.

So you will see everything that will be going to darken up there. Then you just need to add a JAL antique and wipe it away. And it's going to make everything pop a lot better.

Make-up for the inner cover

Now just for continuity, we've got to do the same technique to the journal inner cover. So put a finish on it and then put an antic stain on it to get the same color. You could apply finish over the whole body. It's never really been a problem, but if you are going to reply finish over it, you probably have to spray it on.

No matter what if you wipe it on. You can use pretty smeary super 77, and don't forget to wear a gas mask. The tape should be a perfect fit. Now, remember that you've cut gouges in for your cover folds. When you glue your inner cover on, you can't have it covering that gouge because when you fold it up, it's going to be on the inside, and it'll block it from folding all the way.

So make sure it's just a little bit outside that gouge. So you can still see the gouge. It's the easiest way of describing it.

The final touch

Now, we go flatten it down, cut away from your excess, and then just do a little final hammer to make sure everything's seated pretty well.

Quite often, I will machine stitch the edges of the books, but I've decided to just see how it'll hold up without stitching it. We also need to hit the edge with some dye again as well.

So after we've hammered it down, hit the edge with some dye, we're going to apply some beeswax to the edge of the book and burnish the edge.

Little beeswax- it'll help smooth out the edge with your burnisher. Most people have the same burnisher to grind away at the edge, and it'll smooth it up with some friction in time, but I prefer just to use anything like a burnisher, which is a lot easier.

Stitch pages into your book

So hopefully, your cover is done. Now it's time to meticulously stitch pages into your book.

A few things here, make sure that you're not pulling too hard and make sure your holes are lined up pretty well because if they're not, you're going to get tearing in your pages. So whenever you've done a stitch, snug it down, put them briefly on it because you made two other bridges.

There's a few different patterns so you can do to make these fancier, but I follow a pretty straightforward pattern. That is just kind of an X pattern when I'm done.

Just go down through the center up through the center down through the center and back. Oh, and the threat I've been using in recent days is some wax threat from Tandy. That is some of the lighter wax cut that I've used.

And I like it more than the heavily wax threat.

I'm not sure how to describe which throat that I used. Though it's been sitting in my box for a while and blend needles. You don't need to jab or anything.

Now the one thing that I don't end up doing on my book is any kind of closure or wrap around the book. You can experiment with different things. A lot of people will stitch a 1/2 inch 3/4 inch wide strip of leather into the spine, and then it just wraps around the vocal poset. Sure there are lots of options you can find, but sometimes you don't even need it purely.

Definitely, if I put any rap on that book, that would certainly cover up the pretty not work I put on that. So make a decision on what's more important to you.

Now since we're working on the pages right now, it's a good time to remind people that you should definitely have clean hands when you do this.

Final words

Thanks for reading! I hope this article would have increased you in knowledge and information about how to leather bind a book. This is not rocket science binding a book thyself, yet some techniques and tricks might make a huge difference to it. If you yet don't like to make one yourself, you can get yourself the best hardcover notebook. Good luck!                  

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