How To Make a Bookbinding Press

How To Make a Bookbinding PressMaking your own books, notebooks, and binders can be a great hobby. I love to create my own customized binders and journals. However to do so, I needed a good bookbinding press. Unfortunately, they cost at least $100 for a cheap one, and up into the thousands for a high quality press. Of course, being a typical DIYer, I decided to make it myself. If you want to be able to create beautiful books yourself, I can show you how to make a bookbinding press for just pennies on the dollar.

How To Make a Bookbinding Press – Materials…

To make this bookbinding press, you will need:

  • 2 equally sized pieces of MDF or plywood (dimensions should be 2″ more than your largest planned book).
  • 4 Bolts (I used 5″ bolts to allow for a thick book)
  • 4 wing nuts
  • washers

DIY Tear Away Notepads!

Easy DIY notepads. More details and free printables available.

DIY Tear Away Notepads

Posted by Queen Bee of Honey Dos on Friday, July 7, 2017

See it in action!

How To Make a Bookbinding Press…

To begin, take the 2 pieces of MDf and clamp them together. Make sure that they are aligned perfectly and are held tightly. Now, you need to mark 1″ from the outer edge of one corner. ┬áThen, make a mark 1′ in from the other side of the same corner, so that you have a cross mark. Repeat for the remaining corners.

Next, you need to choose a drill bit that is the same size as the bolts that you are going to use. You want the drill to be as close to exact as possible. If the holes are too loose, the press will shift when being tightened down. If the holes are too tight, you will have a difficult time getting the bolt through.

How To Make a Bookbinding PressOnce you have the correct bit, drill four holes all the way through both boards at each of the corner cross marks. Try to get the holes centered on the cross marks. The more precise the build, the more evenly the pressure will be.

After the holes have been drilled out, insert the bolts through the washers, and then through the four holes.

Flip the boards over and attach the wing nuts to the bolts.


How To Make a Bookbinding PressThe press can be kept flat during book making, or it can rest on any of its sides. I find that turning it on its side helps when working on bindings, and laying it flat works best to press books flat during drying.

But, more importantly is the technique for applying pressure. Make sure that you tighten the bolts so that even pressure is being applied to all sides. If you have, the gaps around the press will be evenly spaced. If you don’t, you could end up with a lop-sided book.


How To Make a Bookbinding Press…

How To Make a Bookbinding PressAnd there you have it. A simple and cheap bookbinding press. I have used mine for several projects, including making tear away notepads, journals, and binders. All of which I will be bring to you soon.

If you are interested in printables to use to make your own books/binders, I have a TON of free printables available to all of my newsletter subscribers. You read more about that here.

Final Thoughts…

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How To Make a Bookbinding Press

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My book press has been one of the most used items that I have in my craft room. It has paid for itself multiple times over. If you plan to do any binding, while you may be able to get by without one, it certainly is well worth the effort to throw one together.




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