simple book binding

Little Books to Give Away

Three Inch Square books

An artist friend of mine makes something each year for the children who come to the food bank in her community. Last weekend she came over and we worked out how to make a box that would contain items for the kids. After she left I started thinking about making little books to donate towards her efforts. It took awhile for me to come up with what kind of book I could make that was just the right balance of being not incredibly work intensive, while still being something that I am proud to offer.

3" x 11" paper strips
3″ x 11″ paper strips

These books began with some medium weight papers strips, cut 3″ x 11″. I used something kind of fancy because I have it around, but any kind of colored copy paper would have been fine to use.

Book Block paper 3" x 6"
Book Block paper 3″ x 6″

I’m using regular copy paper for the book block. This shows the paper separated into grouping of 12 papers, so the books will have 48 pages.

These papers for the inside of the book are cut to be 3″ x 6″. (Question for the grammar police: does the period go inside the inch symbol?)

I have a little guillotine cutter in my house that cuts piles of paper nicely. I paid $800 for it at a time when I barely had two nickels to rub together. It was so worth it. I see similar ones on the market now for $99.00.

Next, each cover got folded in half, then I lined the center up with the number 7 on my little paper-cutter.

A little wide of the 10 inch and 4 inche marks
A little wide of the 10 inch and 4 inch marks

These covers need to be just a bit longer than 6 inches so I made the folds at about 3 1/8″ away from the center, using the markings on my paper-cutter to show me where to fold.


Modified Pamphlet Stitch
Modified Pamphlet Stitch

I decided to use a needle with a  modified pamphlet stitch to for the binding so that I’d have to make only one hole in the spine (with my very sharp bookbinders awl). (I love my tools)

All done!
All done!

Here they are, all ready to go.

This was such a satisfying little project.




12 thoughts on “Little Books to Give Away

  1. They look great – love the covers!

    And since I’m a former copy-editor and perpetual grammar nerd – the period would go outside the inches symbol, but it might be better to actually write “3 x 6 inches” to avoid the problem. If those were quote marks, it would be a whole different matter depending on whether you’re in the UK or US – and there are strong opinions on each side!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Grammar police answering – you may already have had some others? Period (we call it a full stop in New Zealand) definitely goes outside the inches sign. It is the end of sentence mark!! Love getting your posts, such fascinating work you do. Keep it up – and compliments of the season from a rather warm Waikanae!

    Bronwyn sent from my iPhone



      1. Often English usage and American usage differ, and what you’ve seen and done most looks “more” right (and as always, consistency is a good idea). I checked the Chicago Manual of Style; they paraphrased E. B. White, saying all periods (or commas) go inside quotation marks except in (rare) cases where it would be confusing otherwise. I couldn’t find an example using single or double marks that meant length (in which case they are not functioning as quotation marks). So, as in so many things, it depends.

        Love the little books and thanks for pointing me to the paper cutter (Merry Christmas to me!).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s an interesting little problem, the fact that the inch marks look the same as quotation marks but are not bound to the same rules. Now I’m wondering if there is a technical name for the inch notation. Not sure of this, but if I were writing things out by hand I think I would use curved lines for quotation marks, but straight lines for the inch marks.


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