Home & Garden

'Nuts n' Bolts' no-sew scrapbook

'Nuts n' Bolts' no-sew scrapbook

Author: Canadian Living

Home & Garden

'Nuts n' Bolts' no-sew scrapbook

On a chilly February afternoon a group of women gathered. It was Sunday and they joined for their monthly "Church" meeting. At this meeting they learned how to make a good book — a book for holding mementos and precious pictures. This was a meeting of The Church of Craft's Toronto chapter.

The Toronto Church of Craft meets monthly at various locations. It's a small (and growing) grassroots crafty collective of individuals who share a common interest — making things makes them happy.

Recently Leah, a Church of Craft organizer and the owner of Coldsnap Bindery, taught participants how to make their own hand-bound scrapbooks. Here is an adapted version of Leah's beginner bookbinding lesson.

You need:

  • 4 (or more) pieces of construction paper*
  • 1 piece of heavy stock construction paper
  • scissors
  • a shoe knife or a bookbinding knife for cutting and creating a soft feathered edge (optional)
  • Xacto knife
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • bone folder, a cobbler knife, or any utensil you can use to score folds
  • screw punch tool or a one-hole punch
  • white glue or whatever craft glue you find best for paper
  • 2 nuts
  • 2 bolts
  • creative materials, such as oriental paper, fabric scraps, buttons, interesting pictures or anything else you find appealing, to decorate the cover.

    *(Note: This will be used for the book's interior pages, so the number of pieces required and the size you will cut them will depend on your own preferences.)

    To order bookbinding tools online click here.


    To get step-by-step images click on "See all steps in this craft" (under the image above).

    1. Decide what size you want your memory book to be and the number of pages you want it to have. In order to make managing large pieces of construction paper easier you may want to cut the full sheet in half before you decide what size each interior page will be.

    On the construction paper* use a ruler to measure out the length and width dimensions of each interior page. Mark the measurements with a pencil. Repeat this for each interior page, creating guides for as many equal sized pages as you want for the inside of your book. (Note: One full-sized sheet of construction paper will cut about six pages for a medium sized memory book or four pages for a large book.)

    2. Fold the paper along the marks you've just measured. Score the folds using the bone fold, cobbler knife or even the edge of a ruler. The scored folds will act as a guide so that you can cut equal sized pages for the inside of the book.

    3. Cut the folds with a shoe or bookbinding knife if you want a feathered edge or with regular scissors if you want a straight edge. Make sure that all of the pages you have cut are of equal size. If they are not you will have to re-measure each page and cut them again.

    4. Decide what edge you want the spine to be on and then measure 1/4-inch in from the edge of the paper on both the top and bottom of the page. Mark the measurement and then score from top to bottom with the bone fold. Fold the scored edge in the opposite direction and score it again. This process creates a thicker spine so that you can add your mementos and photos to the scrapbook without it becoming too ‘full.'

    5. Now it's time to work on the book's cover. On the heavy stock construction paper, measure the same length and width dimensions as you did for the interior pages. Mark these measurements. Now, using these as guides measure an additional 1/4-inch onto the spine edge and an additional 1/8-inch onto the three other sides. Mark these measurements. This will create a cover that is slightly larger than the interior pages. The additional space on the spine will allow for the added density of the spine folds for each interior page.

    Fold along each measurement and then score with the bone fold. With either a paper cutter or scissors, cut along the folds.

    On the spine side of the cover sheet, measure 1/4-inch in from the edge of the paper. Mark the measurement and then make a fold and score it using a bone folder. Fold the scored edge in the opposite direction and score it again.

    Repeat this process for the back cover. You can use the front cover as a measuring guide, but be very careful and double check your measurements before cutting.

    6. Returning to the interior pages: Fold the scored spine edge in. Along the spine fold, measure 1-inch down from the top of the page and 1/8-inch in. Mark the spot. Then, measure1-inch up from the bottom of the page and 1/8-inch in. Make a mark.

    Front and back covers: Fold the scored spine edge in. Along the spine fold, measure 1-1/8-inch down from the top of the cover and 1/8-inch in. Mark the spot. Then, measure 1-1/8-inch up from the bottom of the cover and 1/8-inch in. Mark the spot.

    For both the interior and cover pages, fold the spine at the scored edge. Now, where the edge of the paper touches the page make another fold and score it with the bone fold. Fold this scored edge in the opposite direction and score it again. Now every single page should have two scored folds on the spine edge.

    This double fold will allow the book's pages to be easily turned in each direction. Without the additional scored fold on the spine it would be difficult to turn the pages.

    7. Keep the spine edge folded down. Take a screw punch and, at the two spots you just marked, punch through the folded spine. Repeat this process, one at a time, for all of the interior pages and for the front and back cover. You should now have four holes in every page.

    8. Now, with each page and cover sheet punched, you can get creative.

    Decorate your front and back (optional) covers with anything you find appealing. Try gluing on some handmade Oriental paper, or sew on a few interesting buttons. Why not try sewing a colourful geometric design onto the front cover and use up those annoying bits of thread in your sewing kit. Cut out pictures or designs of decorative fabric and glue them on. Decorate your cover any way you feel, just make sure it represents you, your style or the mementos it holds.

    9. (Optional) If you would like to cover the book's spine then measure and cut a scrap of fabric or heavy paper to the same height of the book and whatever width you desire. On the front cover glue around the spine. Leave enough of the paper for the spine cover hanging off the edge of the front page so that, when you bolt all of the pages together, there will be enough material to cover the spine and the same amount of the back cover.

    10. Now it's time to put it all together. Take your nuts and bolts and, with the front cover's spine folded in along the scored edge, push one bolt through the 2 holes on one end of the spine. Take your second bolt and push it through the two holes on the other end of the folded spine.

    Repeat this process with each interior page, adding on one page at a time. Make sure that you fold the spine edge on each page before you push the bolt through the holes.

    11. Push the bolt through the back cover's folded spine.

    If you decided to cover the spine with paper or fabric then, before you screw the nut onto each bolt, glue the back cover where the excess material from the spine cover will go. Fold the extra material over the spine and puncture the material with the bolts so that the excess material rests directly on the back cover where you have just glued.

    12. Screw the nuts onto each bolt and, if you have access to metal cutters, cut the extra length off of each bolt.

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    'Nuts n' Bolts' no-sew scrapbook