Envelope Books: Cloth Binding How-To


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What You'll Need


  • Envelopes
  • Bookbinding tape
  • Bookbinding board
  • Bookbinding cloth or other fabric
  • Craft glue
  • Glue brush
  • Bone folder
  • Ribbon
  • Ruler
  • Utility knife
  • Scissors
  • Decorative scissors (optional)


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    To bind envelopes together, cut strips of bookbinding tape the length of your chosen envelopes, and 1/2 inch wide (3/4 inch if edges will be scalloped). Bookbinding tape is sold in various widths; the underside of the tape is marked with measured lines so that it is easy to cut the width you need. Lay two envelopes flush against each other, positioning the left envelope opening-side up and the right envelope opening-side down. Peel backing from tape, and affix to edges of the two envelopes, pressing down with a bone folder for a secure bond. Fold together as if turning a page in a book. To add other envelopes, first apply tape to the right-hand edge of the last envelope already bound. Then turn over stack completely so that the sticky side of tape is facing up. Attach the next envelope as below.

  2. a98478_1200_htbook2_xl

    To create the cover, with a utility knife, cut two pieces of bookbinding board (1/8 inch thick) 1/4 inch longer and 1/8 inch wider than bound envelopes. Cut a strip of plain paper to fit the spine of the bound envelopes. Cut a strip of bookbinding tape the same length but 1 1/4 inches wider. Peel backing from tape, and lay sticky-side up. Center paper strip on tape, and place boards on the tape 1/8 inch away from paper.

  3. a98478_1200_htbook3_xl

    Measure the length and width of the two boards plus tape that you have just assembled. Cut bookbinding fabric, adding 1 inch to both length and width.

  4. a98478_1200_htbook4_xl

    To add ribbon ties, center boards on fabric, and fold fabric flaps over the boards on each side; crease along edge with bone folder. Remove boards. In the center of each side crease, cut a slit with the knife as wide as the ribbon you will be using for the closure. Cut two pieces of ribbon 5 inches long, or longer if you want them to wrap around book; slip ribbon through cloth slit until 1/2 inch of ribbon is exposed inside the cover. Apply white craft glue to the central section of the cloth framed by the creases, brushing over ribbon as well; position boards on cloth, and press down. Allow to dry. Cut across the four corners of the cloth, 1/8 inch away from corner points of the boards. Apply glue to one flap at a time, and fold over. Smooth with bone folder, and allow to dry.

  5. a98478_1200_htbook5_xl

    To attach bound envelopes to cover, cut two strips of bookbinding tape to the length of bound envelopes and 1/2 inch wide (3/4 inch for scalloped edges). Place the bound envelopes between boards, lining up the spine with the paper strip. Apply one half of the tape to the left edge of the bound envelopes and the other side to the inner edge of the left board. Repeat on the right side. To line the inside of each cover, cut two rectangles of decorative paper to the dimensions of the envelopes. Glue paper to the inside of cover, making sure to conceal the tape edge and fabric seams. Smooth with bone folder.

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