Introduction: DIY Mini Book With Long Stitch Binding | How to Make a Tiny Bound Book

About: Multi-crafter, jewellery maker, card designer and frequent procrastinator.

This miniature bookbinding tutorial involves 'long stitch binding', and although fiddly at such a small size, it is fairly straightforward. I love all things mini, and tiny books just have such appeal for me. And they barely need any materials to make, so are cheap too!


  • Metal ruler
  • Pen/pencil
  • Scrap cardboard
  • Paper; I just used regular white printer paper
  • A piece of stiff card; for the template
  • Bulldog clips, heavy book or a flower press
  • Beading needle & thread; or other fine waxed thread
  • Push pin
  • PVA glue & cocktail stick
  • Small pot
  • Scissors
  • Safety pins
  • Craft knife/utility knife & cutting mat
  • Small piece of leather
  • Strong clear glue (like UHU all-purpose glue or E6000 glue) & a length of suede cord if you want to add a strap
  • Bone folder (optional)

Step 1: Make a Template & Start Tearing Paper

First, cut out a template from stiff card that measures 1.25" high and 2" wide. I used greyboard.

There are 2 options for the paper; either straight smooth edges, or ripped edges. I chose to have ripped edges.

If you want smooth edges, the easiest way is to use a guillotine or paper cutter if you have one. Otherwise, cut an A4 sheet into 3 strips lengthwise; each strip being a bit (around 1/2") wider than the template. Fold each strip into a concertina, with the first fold being about ½” more in height than the template. Place the template on top of each concertina, then cut around it with scissors.

Or you could even cut the pieces out individually with a craft knife. It's up to you.

To get rough ripped edges, I first lightly marked 1/2" from each edge of the paper with my pencil. Then I folded along each edge, making them nice and crisp with my fingernail or a bone folder. I then ripped along these fold lines.

There are 2 options for tearing; use water, or use a ruler (or 'tear bar' if you own one).

Most of the time, I wet my finger with water and ran it along the fold quickly to make the fold slightly damp. You don’t want to soak the paper at all – just dampen it along the fold. Then you should be able to easily tear along that fold.

Otherwise, you can hold a metal ruler along the crease and rip the paper against it. Make sure to do this a little bit at a time.

The water method is a little more time consuming perhaps, and makes a fuzzier edge. The ruler method is more convenient but I find it easier to rip the paper in the wrong place. Either works!

Step 2: Tear Strips

Once the outside edges are torn, you can then tear the sheet into 3 strips. These strips need to be the width of the template, so use that to mark light pencil lines on the paper before tearing.

Then rip along these lines with your chosen method.

Step 3: Make the Folios

Tear the strips into individual pieces the same size as the template. I used the ruler method for these shorter tears.

Then fold these pieces in half so you get 2 pages 1" wide.

Each of these folded pieces is called a folio, and you're going to need 20 folios.

1 folded piece = 1 folio = 2 leaves = 4 pages

Step 4: Make the Signatures

Place 5 folios inside each other to create a signature. You need 4 of these signatures altogether.

Use a pencil to mark where the holes are going to be made on the edge of each signature. These marks need to be 3/16” and 3/8” from each end.

Then take the outer folio (which is the one with the marks on) off each signature, reverse the fold, and then place it inside the same signature. This is so you can see the pencil marks on the inside of each signature.

Step 5: Punch Holes

You will need a push pin and a folded piece of scrap cardboard to make the holes.

Simply push the pin through the signature, from the inside, where each of the pencil marks is. Then pick up the signature and push the pin all of the way through each of the holes to make sure they’re large enough for a sewing needle to get through later on.

Repeat this for all 4 signatures

Step 6: Prepare the Cover

Cut out a piece of leather that's larger (by at least 1/2") than what you'll want the finished cover to be.

Transfer the same markings on the signature to the centre of the cover material (using the push pin).

Then make 3 more holes next to each of these holes you've just made, so they're in a line. Make these holes as close together as you reasonably can.

Then push the pin fully through each of these holes, and also mark where the holes are on the inside of the cover, using a pen. You might struggle to find them otherwise.

Step 7: Prepare for Binding

For the thread, I'm using Nymo beading thread, which is a fine Nylon thread that is slightly waxed. You need something fine enough to go into the eye of a beading needle, and ideally be waxed.

The diagrams show how I will refer to the holes as numbers. I will refer to the 4 holes in each signature in the same way - as numbers 1 to 4. You'll add 1 signature first, then the next, then the next, and then the last one. The method is basically the same for all of them, although the first one is added slightly differently.

The later diagrams above show how the thread will look on the outside of the cover as you go along. You'll make a loop at each end to start with (which you'll hold in place with a safety pin), and in the centre will be the long stitches - which is why this method is called 'long stitch binding'.

Step 8: Bind the 4 Signatures Onto the Cover

First, feed a length of beading thread into the eye of your beading needle. Perhaps around 16" of thread.

Take your first signature and feed the needle out of hole 1, leaving a thread tail of at least a couple of inches inside the signature. Go out through hole 5 in the cover, and then go back in through hole 5, leaving a loop on the outside. Put a safety pin on this loop and tighten the loop around it.

Go out through hole 2 and hole 6, in through holes 7 and 3, out through 4 and 8, and back in through 8, leaving a loop on the outside of the cover. Keep this loop in place with a safety pin.

Then add the 2nd signature, taking the needle in through hole 4, out through holes 3 and 10, in through 11 and 2, then out through 1 and 12. Take the needle through the first thread loop you made on the cover, and remove the safety pin. Then go in through hole 12 and into hole 1 of a new (the 3rd) signature.

Out through 2 and 14, in through 15 and 3, out through 4 and 16. Take the needle though the thread loop on the cover, remove the safety pin, and then go back in through hole 16, and into hole 4 of the last new signature (the 4th).

Out through holes 3 and 18, in through 19 and 2, out through 1 and 20, take the needle under an adjacent stitch on the cover, then back through hole 20.

Take the needle back into the 1st signature again (hole 2) and tie the ends of the thread together to secure. Feed the ends out of the signature to hide them, and cut off the excess.

Note: Keep pulling the thread tight as you go, whilst making sure you keep the thread tail intact at the beginning. When you pull the thread, make sure you pull it parallel with the stitches.

Step 9: Glue for Stability

I used a cocktail stick to add a little PVA glue along the edges of the signature (between the signatures and the cover), being very careful to not stick the pages together so that they can't then open.

The aim here is to make sure the signatures are kept in the position you want them in, relative to each other and the cover. Because the cover is soft, they otherwise have a tendency to become misaligned easily.

Sandwich the pages in scrap cardboard and press them together (in my case, with bulldog clips), until the glue dries.

Note that the alternative way to add stability would be to glue a piece of card to the centre of the cover (on the inside) to become the 'spine' of the book, before binding. You would then put holes through this card and the cover and bind the signatures on in the same way as detailed in previous steps.

Then use glue sparingly to attach the first and last pages to the cover. Make sure the book can still open and close without issue, then leave the glue to dry.

Step 10: Trim the Cover

Use your ruler and a utility knife to trim the leather cover to the size you want. Do this carefully, as errors can't really be fixed at this point.

Step 11: Finished!

And your mini book is complete!

I hope you enjoyed this project :)

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