Art & Craft Blog

Starter tools for handmade bookbinding project | What tools are used to make books?

Making your own handmade book can be a really cool project to experience!

Many of my followers have been asking about how can they start make their own books and what essential tools do they need for the bookbinding projects. Since, i have not yet have a bookbinding kit ready on my Etsy shop, i decide that i am going to briefly write a blog and share these information right here on what you need to get started!

First of all, when you make your own book, anything would work for the cover. I mean you can just pick up a cereal box and make your own art journal, sketchbook, or notebook. I made some of my colorful junk journal out of cereal boxes too and they worked great believe me. These upcycle method can give you a really cool unexpected results, So don’t you worry about what right or wrong, but what you like and enjoy along your DIY journey. 😀

Okay okay! Let’s get started to what you really need if you would like to make you own book, whether a notebook, sketchbook or art journal.

#1 Paper

Yup, everyone know about this. We need papers for the book. BUT…, this is where it makes a different. Because the first thing that you need to decide is that what kind of book do you want to make and gather all the paper for your inner book signatures. This is why i put listed PAPER before all. If you want to make a watercolor sketchbook, you will need to get those watercolor papers you want. Or if you want to make a junk journal, what are papers you would like to put into? Newspaper, magazine or any vintage papers would work for me, however, I leave this up to you.

Recommendations: Arches watercolor paper, line papers, junk journal paper.

#2 Glue

In book making, we love using PVA glue for all the book making projects. Why? because they dry clear. They are couples of brands i love to use for my book projects, which i will list it in the table for you.

Recommendations: Lineco PVA pH Neutral Adhesive small, 1 Quart Lineco Neutral pH Adhesive, Lineco PVA Glue Adhesive Kit for Bookbinding.

#3 Thick Chipboard (Book board) or Cardboard

These thicker materials will be used for the cover. They are really useful when you would like to make a hard cover book. You can design them with colors or stick them up with some beautiful pattern paper as you like for your book.

Recommendations: Book board, Premium Chipboard.

#4 Bone Folder

You should get one of these when working with any kind of papers because they are so helpful, fasten and prevent you from hand soreness after folding only one or two paper sections. Bone folder will also help you create enough pressure when folding and make a clean folding line. Get yourself one of these! You are welcome 😀

Recommendations: Cattle Bone Folder, Bone Folder & Creaser set.

#5 Awl

Many basic book making will need to punch holes on papers and covers to be able to sew and bind them. An awl have from light to heavy duty, I would suggest you to get heavy duty one, because you can also use them for a lighter duty book project. However, this is only my suggestion for you to save cost in a long run.

Recommendations: Light work awl, Heavy duty awl – Lineco Wooden Ball Handle Awl

#6 Needles

We have basically two types of needles. One is that straight needle, and a curve needle. When i started practicing how to bind book i would prefer straight needle but since i do a lot of Coptic stitch binding. I preferably use curve needle. In short, both needles are great depending on how you like it and how you comfortable holding it in your hand, that including your binding method.

Recommendations: Lineco Book Binding Stainless Steel Straight Needles, Lineco 2.5″ Curved Sewing Needles.

#7 Thread

Cotton, Embroidery floss, linen or even polyester thread will work great for your project. It will be even better with bee-waxed. You can buy waxed thread or wax them yourself.

Recommendations: Cotton, Embroidery floss, polyester, linen waxed thread.

#8 Bee-waxed

Why bee-waxed or waxed thread can be useful? Because when you waxed the thread, bee-waxed can help strengthening the thread, also make it smooth and reduce the thread fuzziness at the same time.

Recommendations: Beeswax with Holder, Lineco 1 oz Genuine Beeswax Block.

#9 Cutting tools – Scissors or/and Cutter

You need this when you want to trim or cut papers into sizes you desire.

Recommendations: Cutter, Scissor.

#10 Ruler

This tool will be useful when you want to have a straight and clean cut.

Recommendations: 12 inch Westcott Stainless Steel Ruler, 18 Inch Stainless Steel Ruler with Inch/Metric

#12 Glue Brush

I should have put this next to the Glue but i forgot 😆. Well, i don’t use a fancy glue brush. I personally use a paint brush. I have two. One small, and one big size, so that i can use for both my small and big book projects.

Recommendations: Glue brush, Paint brush.

#13 Cutting mat

Get one of this if you don’t want to ruin your desk. You need the cutting mat for the punching and cutting process, otherwise your desk might turn into a coral.

Recommendations: Cutting mat 12×18, Large cutting mat 24x 36

These are the tools for starter that are used to make books! Good luck and have fun making your own books. If you feel like to support my handmade books, feel free to visit my Etsy shop at or more with journal supplies at

more about craft? –> CRAFT

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