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How to Bind A Scrapbook With Removable Pages

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What You'll Be Creating

There are many reasons why a scrapbook should have removable pages. Maybe you want to scan a page to share with friends, or perhaps you ran out of space and need to add more sheets. 

Whatever the reason, you don't have to settle for an expensive scrapbook with metal screw posts, custom refill inserts, staples or plastic bands. All you need is a spool of ribbon. This tutorial will show you how to make a lovely scrapbook with removable pages and none of the bulky hardware.

Supplies

  • Two 23.5cm x 24.13cm (9¼in x 9½in) short-grain pieces of binder’s board (what is short-grain?)
  • Two 3.18cm x 24.13cm (1¼in x 9½in) long-grain pieces of binder’s board
  • 1 scrap piece of binder’s board
  • Two 23.5cm x 26.7cm (9¼in x 10½ in) short-grain sheets of colored card stock
  • 25 sheets of 22.8cm x 30.4cm (9in x 12in) drawing paper
  • Book cloth
  • Ribbon
  • PVA glue
  • Large glue brush
  • Small glue brush
  • Pencil
  • Bone folder
  • Hole punch tool
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Triangle

For the text paper, I took a 9in x 12in Strathmore 400 series drawing pad, removed the spiral binding, and cut off the perforated edges. Book cloth can be found in art stores or on the internet, but you can also make your own. Learn how to make your own book cloth here.

1. Prepare the Pages

Step 1

Take a sheet of drawing paper and make four score marks parallel to the paper grain: one at 2.5cm, 6cm, 6.6cm, and 7.2cm (1in, 2 3/8 in, 2 5/8in, and 2 7/8 in). 


Step 2

Repeat this step with the rest of your paper stack.

Step 3

Fold each piece of paper at the first score mark and rub down with your bone folder.

2. Create a Hole Punch Guide

Now you need to figure out where the holes go. It's important that the holes match up for all of the pages, as well as the cover, so that the binding process goes smoothly. If the holes are too far out of line, your pages will rip. A punch guide can really help here.

Step 1

Select a sheet from your paper stack to be your punching guide. With your pencil, and ruler, mark the center of the folded edge.

Step 2

Make another mark on the folded edge 2.5cm (1in) from the left side and a second mark 2.5cm (1in) from the right.

Step 3

Pencil in two more marks at the midpoints between the center mark and the two side marks.

Step 4

Draw a line down the center of the folded flap, parallel to the fold line. Your holes will be punched where this line and each mark meet up.

Step 5

Take your hole punch, center the tip on one of the cross sections you drew with the pencil and punch a hole straight through the folded paper. Repeat this step with the remaining four cross sections to get five holes in your guide.

3. Punch Your Pages

Step 1

Match up your punch guide with another sheet of drawing paper.

Step 2

Punch all five holes through the guide and the new sheet.

Step 3

Repeat this step until all pages are punched and ready for binding.

4. Punch the Spine Pieces

Step 1

Take one of the thinner pieces of binder's board and center the punch guide on top of it. Line up the end of the folded flap with the edge of the board piece.

Step 2

Punch all five holes through the guide and the binder's board. 

Step 3

Repeat steps 1 and 2 with the second strip of binder's board. These will make your spine pieces.

5. Prepare the Ribbon for Binding

Step 1

Cut a piece of ribbon to 150cm (59in), trimming the ends on a diagonal. 

Step 2

Dip the ends of the ribbon in a bit of glue so that it does not fray or tear. Set the ribbon aside to dry.

6. Cover the Back of the Board Pieces

Step 1

Lay the book cloth face down.

Step 2

Arrange one spine and large board piece onto the book cloth with the holes closer to the larger board. Leave a 1/2cm (1/4in) gap between the two pieces, and at least a 1cm (1/2in) border of book cloth on all sides.


Step 3

Mark the placement of the boards so that you remember where they go when you glue them. 

Step 4

Remove the larger board piece and apply an even coat of glue to the back with the large brush. When glueing, start from the center and work the glue out to the edges.

Step 5

Position the glued board back down on the book cloth. Apply pressure with your hands.

Step 6

Flip the book cloth and rub the back of the glued area with a bone folder to remove any air bubbles.

Step 7

Glue and rub down the spine piece to the book cloth.

Step 8

Draw and trim a 1cm (1/2in) border of book cloth around the glued board pieces.


Step 9

Use the scrap piece of board to measure and trim one board thickness away from all four corners of the glued cover pieces. Do not trim the corners too short. To be safe, you can always trim further away from board and fold the book cloth over to make sure it’s covering the corners of the board.


Step 10

Cover the second set of board pieces and trim the corners like you did in Steps 1 to 8.

7. Glue Down the Sides of the Cover

Step 1

Glue the left and right flaps of book cloth with the smaller glue brush.

Step 2

Fold over and rub the flaps down with your bone folder.

Step 3

Work the cloth around all four corners of book board.

Step 4

Glue and fold over the top and bottom flaps. Rub them down with the bone folder.

Step 5

Work the cloth into the gap between the spine and cover board pieces.

Step 6

Tap the corners of the cover with the flat side of the bone folder. This will ensure that the cloth is adhering to the corners.

8. Punch Holes Through the Book Cloth

Before lining the inside, punch all five holes through the spine piece and the book cloth.

9. Line the Inside of the Cover

Step 1

Glue the back of one of the pieces of colored card stock.

Step 2

Center the liner face-down onto the inside of one of the covers. Apply light pressure with the sides of you hands, moving in sweeping motions from the center out. Then rub the paper down with the bone folder.

Step 3

Slowly fold the spine piece back all the way, making sure not to tear the liner paper. It is important to do this step now before the glue on the liner paper dries.

Step 4

Punch the holes one more time through the liner paper to finish the cover.

Step 5

Repeat steps 1 to 4 to line the second cover.

10. Bind Your Book

Step 1

It's finally time to bind your book! Lay out the finished covers and punched pages like an open book with the pages on the right side. We will be doing a simple shoelace binding to tie the book together, much like how you would tie your own shoelaces.

Step 2

Thread one end of the ribbon in through the bottom hole on the front cover. The end should be on the inside of the book.

Step 3

Continue to thread the same end of ribbon through the same hole on all of the pages. It might be easier to thread through 1 to 3 pages at a time.

Step 4

Thread the same end of ribbon out the bottom hole of the back cover.

Step 5

Now thread the other end of ribbon through the same hole in the opposite direction, starting from the outside of the back cover and moving through the pages to the outside of the front cover.

Step 6

Take the end of ribbon that is sticking out of the front cover and thread it through the next hole up on the back cover. Continue to thread it through all of the pages.

Step 7

Just as you would tie your shoelaces, take the opposite end of the ribbon and thread it through the next hole up in the front cover.

Step 8

Pull the ribbon all the way through the holes and flip the book over. You will see an 'X' stitched in ribbon. Just like a shoelace, right?

Step 9

Continue to weave the ribbon through all of the holes, making a repeated X pattern until you reach the top.

Step 10

One you've reached the top, you can loosen the ribbon and close the book. Straighten out any twisted stitches.

Step 11

Pull the bottom stitch over the corner so that it is perpendicular to the other stitches. This will help keep the covers and pages from sliding around when viewing the finished book.

Step 12

Tighten the binding from the bottom stitch up. You will want to keep it moderately snug to keep any pages from tearing out. Make sure the two ends of ribbon are about the same length.

Step 13

Tie the two ends of ribbon in a neat bow.

You've Made a Book!

That's it - you're done. Look how you've transformed a pile of paper and board into a functional work of art!


This tutorial shows that you can make a lovely scrapbook without bulky screw posts, and still have the option to re-arrange or remove pages once it's filled with all your fondest memories.

Need to Remove a Page?

No problem! Just unravel the binding and, when you have your pages in the order you like, tie it back together again. If the ribbon gets too wrinkled, try ironing it on a low setting before re-binding your book.


After something a little more challenging? Take a look at our other bookbinding tutorials

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