Goodbye to loose pages.

Perfect spine: How to glue a book binding

Learn how to glue a book binding below. You’ll be able to fix an old classic or bind your own book from loose pages. Turn your notes, stories, and musings into interesting keepsakes or wonderful gifts.

Making a book part 1: How to glue book pages together

Gluing book pages together involves attaching the ends of individual pages or sheets folded in half with glue. The cover of the book is then glued on and ties everything together.

It’s a fun project, and you’ll be proud of the results. Follow the directions below:

  1. Cut your paper to size if necessary. Use a paper trimming board for precise cuts.
  2. Next, make sure all the pages are in the right order, and line up the edges of all the pages by tapping the stack against the tabletop. Secure the stack with binder clips.
  3. Using a paintbrush or popsicle stick, apply a thin line of glue to one edge of the paper stack. Work the glue in to ensure it makes good contact and that there are no gaps or bubbles.
  4. Place the stack at the edge of the table with the glued part just off the end and carefully place a heavy book on top (make sure it does not come into contact with the adhesive) so that the paper won’t buckle or wrinkle as it dries.
  5. Once the glue is dry, use a razor or sharp knife to trim any excess adhesive from the edges of the book spine. This nearly complete book is now called the text block.

Making a book part 2: How to glue a book cover

  1. Prepare the cover of the book. Use thick paper, cardboard, or another sturdy material. 
  2. The cover material should be sized to become the front and back cover in one piece, along with enough material for the spine of the book. 
  3. Lay the text block on the cover material, aligning one edge. 
  4. Mark the top edge of the book with a pencil line. Score the cover material along the spine of the book with a sharp object but don’t cut through the material.
  5. Stand the text block on one end to score the other edge of the spine so that it will easily fold to a straight line.
  6. Lay the book on its other side, marking the top and the final edge with a pencil.
  7. Cut the cover to size following your pencil lines and fold the two scored lines to form the shape of a book cover.
  8. Lay the cover flat and apply glue to the inside surface. Insert the text block and fold the book closed. Place some weight on the book until the glue dries.

A traditional method of making books, especially lengthy ones, involves joining a series of signatures or sections of a dozen or more pages folded in half. With this method, the glue only reaches the outermost page, so it requires stitching the signatures together.

How to glue pages back into a book

Have some loose pages that have come out of a book? Here’s how to glue pages back into a book. 

  1. Open the book to where the missing pages belong.
  2. Spread a small amount of glue as far into the book’s spine as possible (a popsicle stick or knitting needle may work for this).
  3. Push the loose pages into place as firmly as possible. Ensure they are in the proper order.
  4. Close the book and place some weight on it until the glue dries.

If you want to repair an old book, here’s how to glue a book spine and give it many more years of life. Often you will find the cover separated from the text block. Sometimes some of the signatures or bundles of pages may also be loose. 

You can glue the pages of a book together with the cover in one step. 

  1. Lay the book flat and open the cover to expose the spine of the book and the inside of the cover. 
  2. Apply glue to the back of the text block and any area of the cover that had glue before. Allow it a few minutes to soak in and get a bit tacky. 
  3. Then close the book, making sure the glue is in contact everywhere it needs to be.
  4. Place some weight on the book until dry. 

Use the right adhesive to glue a book 

Your best choice for this project is a non-acidic binding glue, made specifically for bookbinding that will not deteriorate the paper. Acidic glue can damage the book over time causing pages to degrade and become loose, even tear away from the spine!

For a quick, long-lasting, and easy repair to a book binding or to glue pages back into a book, try Loctite Super Glue Power Gel Control. The unique rubber-infused formula is strong but remains flexible for those page turns and is ideal for hard-to-reach spots with its easy-grip squeeze bottle design. It dries transparent, so the repairs will be nearly invisible!