Binding a blank book yourself – with toilet paper rolls, tetrapaks, cardboard& co.

I love being creative and making things myself. For some time now this also includes: Binding books yourself. The first time happened out of necessity: I really wanted a book to write down ideas, but I couldn’t find a blank book made of recycled paper in any store.

After doing some research, I came across the method of the Coptic Binding Bumped up against the books to bind themselves. And since then I have been a fan! Because the method is really simple. And the book cover can be made with cut-up toilet paper rolls, tetrapaks, cardboard or shoe boxes.

Ideas for blank books

The longer I think about what you can use blank books for, the more I think about it! Here are my ideas:

  • Journal – Write down what is on your mind or burning in your heart.
  • Happiness diary – Write down every evening the moments you were grateful for that day.
  • Book Calendar – Make your own calendar.
  • Sketchbook – For sketching and drawing.
  • Idea book – Collect your ideas on paper to free your mind for new ones.
  • Notebook – Make notes that won’t get lost.
  • Garden book – Write down every year what you have sown where and when, when you have harvested how much and thus learn every year.
  • Todo book – Instead of lists that always disappear, write your todos in a book.
  • Recipe book – Collect and share your favorite recipes.
  • Address book – Write down the addresses of your friends.
  • Poetry album – Is that still available nowadays? If so, a homemade poetry album is the most beautiful anyway.
  • Guestbook – Have your guests leave messages for you.
  • Appreciation Book – Write down what you like about yourself and what others like about you. It will pick you up on a bad day.

Why make it yourself? You can also buy them!

There are really beautiful blank books for sale. So far I haven’t found one that was purely made of recycled material. This was the reason for me to get involved with this topic in the first place.

Now that I know how easy it is to bind books myself, I have even less reason to buy them.

For me, though, DIY has another important effect: DIY empowers! Everything I can do myself, I don’t need to buy anymore – I don’t need to earn money for that either. Doing it myself makes me feel like I can do something. This applies in small ways, z.B. for book binding or gardening, as well as in the big z.B. in political activism.

And also: Homemade books are a wonderful gift idea!

This is how it works

Cardboard book covers

Shoe boxes and cardboard boxes from packaging in general make great book covers for your self-bound book. For an A5 book cover, take an A4 paper folded once as a size template and put approx. add 5mm. The book cover is a little bigger than the pages. Cut out one book cover for the front and one for the back.

Book covers made from toilet paper rolls

For an A5 book cover made of toilet paper rolls you need a total of 8 rolls for front and back and a glue stick.

  • Cut up all the toilet paper rolls, unfold them and put them under a heavy book.
  • After a day they will be reasonably flat and you can glue them up.
  • For this, it is best to use an A4 paper folded once as a size template, so that you know how big the cover has to be. Remember that the cover is always a bit larger than the book pages.
  • Place the toilet paper roll cardboard overlapping on the template so that they are the right size and glue them together.

Book cover made from tetrapaks

It’s even easier with tetrapaks. You need 2 pieces, z.B. from plant milk.

  • Empty out the Tetrapak completely and cut the top and bottom off.
  • On the back is usually the edge where the tetrapak was originally glued together. Cut it at this point and unfold it in the.
  • Rinse the tetrapak and dry it.
  • Take a folded A4 paper as a template and cut around it. Remember that the cover is always a bit bigger than the book pages.

Making book covers beautiful

You can use anything that looks pretty to stick on the cardboard, Tetrapak, or toilet paper roll lids:

  • Wrapping paper from last Christmas
  • Old calendars
  • Old magazines& Magazine
  • ..

Binding your own book with the Coptic Binding technique

You’ll need for an A5 book:

  • Colorful cotton yarn
  • Book cover (2x)
  • A4 recycled paper (25x)
  • Needle and scissors
  • Optional: a printing template for lined or squared paper

Print template for lined book (A5) (download PDF)
Print template for checkered book (A5 and A6) (download PDF)

Here’s how to prepare your materials:

  • Optional: print 25 pages double-sided squared or lined
  • Make batches of 5 sheets each and fold them together in the middle
  • Measure with a ruler and mark where you want the binding to be. You can do this individually, but there should be at least 6 bindings so that it holds well.
  • Use a needle to pierce the markings.
  • Measure also on the cover where the binding should be.
  • Stitch with a needle ca. 1cm from the edge into the lid, where the mark is.

Now follow the instructions in the video. The video is in English, but you will understand the technique quickly anyway. The author demonstrates everything.

This is what finished blank books made from toilet paper rolls or tetrapaks look like

My previous blank books stacked

Do you like to make things yourself? If you are inspired to now bind a book yourself: What will you use your first self-bound book for?

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