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Repair your Old Book Binding

Posted in Printing Tips and Tricks on 19 December 2013

Most of us possess books that we have read a thousand times and many are blessed to have been introduced to that one special novel or prose collection which is never allowed to gather dust at the back of a book case. Soulful books are never forgotten and we can create a special kind of bond with books that have aged alongside us by means of book binding.

As we get older so can our books and the need to repair the torn binding of the texts becomes very urgent. Correctly repairing a book binding will not only allow you to read with ease (without the stress of holding loose pages together!) but will make sure that you are able to pass on a favourite tale to a loved one knowing it can be enjoyed regardless of what life throws their way! Follow these quick and easy steps below to repair your book binding:

You will need:
* Single Stitched Binder Tape
* PVA Glue
* Good Scissors
* Needle
* Rubber Bands (optional)
* Heavy Waxed Thread
* Bone Folder (optional)
* Tyvek tape (optional)
* Clear Tape

  1. Choose a brightly lit room and clear space to work. Once you have done this use the needle and heavy waxed thread to re-sew the signatures in your book. Basic sewing skills will suffice as you can just follow the previous sew lines that have snapped. However, in certain places you may find it very difficult to re-sew due to the poor condition. In places like this it is advised to use a layer of Tyvek tape to pull the torn places together and then continue to sew. Once this is complete be sure to knot the ends of the wax thread tightly and then use PVA glue on the edges of each signature to reinforce the binding strength.


  • Allow the glue to dry and then use your scissors to cut strips of the single stitched binder tape. The length of the strips should be the equal to the height of the book. The single stitched tape should have a centre sewn line which should be placed at the spine edge of the pages that you feel have become loose. When you have done this press down the two sides of the tape – one should be pressed onto the page and the other onto the spine. It is necessary that the stitched tape should be used for the front and back pages; the middle part of the book depends on where you believe it is needed. Use a bone folder (or a similar heavy/smooth object) to smooth out any creases or bubbles for a professional finish.


  • Finally, if the exterior part of the book needs attention then simply use some clear tape. Apply the clear tape to the spine joining it to the cover. To expect a secure joint between the spine and cover make sure that the overlap of the gutter (the spine dip) and cover is approximately one inch. Smooth down properly and use rubber bands to keep the book together until it dries completely. If you do not have rubber bands a heavy object usually does the trick!

Remove the rubber bands/heavy object from the book (It is advised not to remove the rubber bands/heavy object for at least twelve hours) and take pride in the new strength that the book has gained so it can be enjoyed for many years to come!

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