Undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in Book Building courses here at UNCW learn how to design, print, and bind their own chapbooks. They can use our perfect binder (cranky as she sometimes is), which holds pages together with hot glue, or they can stitch their books together with needle and thread. You probably don’t have a perfect binder like we do, but maybe you can think of a loved one who deserves a handmade book just the same. So we thought we’d share this step-by-step guide for creating your own chapbook and using the three-hole pamphlet stitch to bind it (sans, of course, the sentiments you will use to fill its pages–that’s up to you).
Supplies you’ll need:
- Paper for the interior: As many sheets and any type of paper that you want, but know that the more pages you include, the harder it will be to thread. I’m using 20lb white letter paper.
- Paper for the cover: One sheet the same size as your interior paper. You can decorate the cover with stamps, stickers, photographs, or anything else you like. I’m using 110lb white letter paper so the cover is heavier and thicker than the interior paper.
- Needle: Any size will work just fine
- Thread: While the Pub Lab prefers waxed thread, you can use any thread you’d like. The thread will be visible on the spine of the book, so think about how the color will complement your cover when you’re picking out thread.
- Bone folder
- Paper trimmer
Step 1: Folding the Paper
Fold all of your paper in half. You can fold each sheet individually, or fold them all (including the cover) together. Folding each sheet separately gives you a crisper fold, especially if you use a bone folder to make a defined crease, but folding all of the sheets together will create a nice nested look for the pages while rounding out the spine. For this book, I folded all of the interior pages together, but folded the cover separately.