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Best book binding kits: Make hand-bound journals, notebooks, booklets, and more

Bookbinding is the ideal creative hobby if you’re one to ooh and ahh over beautiful hand-bound books, journals, and notebooks.

Sure, you can learn this craft by sourcing resources on your own and watching a few online tutorials. But if you’re starting from scratch, book binding kits are your best bet. They include all you need, from tools and projects to step-by-step guidelines.

Better yet, if you’re familiar with other creative hobbies such as sewing, leather working, scrapbooking, and papermaking, book binding is a refreshing, creative way to put these skills and techniques to good use.

Here’s a list of our favorite book binding kits for all levels!

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Best book binding kits

Check out our top picks for the best book binding kits covering different book binding styles and approaches for curious hobbyists.

Bookbinding Kit by OurHands

Bookbinding Kits OurHands

At the top of our list is one of my favorite book binding kits: the all-in-one book making kit by OurHands. It’s the perfect introductory set for beginners looking to sample various binding and stitching techniques in a single kit.

Each kit contains three projects: a simple pamphlet with a soft cover, a Japanese-style bound pad, and a small travel journal. The set’s easy-to-follow guidelines will walk you through the specific methods and steps required per project, covering basic to more complex techniques.

Having this type of versatility will not only teach you the essentials but will help you figure out which approach inspires you most to keep pursuing this creative hobby. In addition, you’ll receive a set of high-quality, reusable tools: an awl, bone folder, thread, needle, linen tape, cover paper, rule, glue, and 50 sheets of A5 paper.

Note that these are small notebooks: this isn’t a book binding repair kit. However, newbies will benefit from experimenting with more straightforward projects at first. This seller also includes tips on customizing projects, whether in size, layout, or style. This is especially helpful if you’ve been wanting to craft left-handed notebooks!

You can find this product on Etsy and Amazon. Know that Etsy provides fewer delivery options (US and UK only) and sells this kit for a slightly higher price vs. Amazon.

Hardbound Journal Bookbinding Kit by Cleverhands

Hardbound Journal Bookbinding Kit Cleverhands

Another beginner-friendly option is this Cleverhands hardcover book binding kit. It’s packed with high-quality supplies and comprehensive instructions to guide you through your first hardbound journal project.

Unlike the previous book making kit, this bundle includes a single project. However, while less versatile, it contains a broader, more sophisticated toolset and materials to assemble an A6 (4×6 inch), 140-page hardcover journal. In this case, less is more!

Each kit includes a bone folder, glue, paper, cardboard, bookbinding needle, linen thread, book cloth, awl, book boards, mull fabric, book cloth, paper punching guide, signature paper, and more.

The highlights of this hardcover book binding kit? Its variety of first-rate book cloth options and patterned endpaper designs! Better yet, you’ll pay the same price regardless of your pick. Mind you, hues and shades may differ slightly vs. what you see online.

This is the perfect starter kit for beginners wanting to learn the basics without compromising quality. It also makes for a beautiful, thoughtful gift for a notebook-loving buddy, whether as a kit or a finished piece. This hardcover book binding kit is shipped from the US and delivered worldwide.

DIY Bookbinding Journal Kit by Peg and Awl

Peg and Awl Book Binding Kit

Also featured on Etsy, this Peg and Awl journal kit for beginners is one of the more artisan suggestions in our guide and is perfect for artsy crafters with a soft spot for unique, organic-looking handmade booklets.

This product was developed with a little extra TLC, inspired by some of the more rugged imagery and works registered in German painter and sculptor Anselm Kiefer’s book “Transition from Cool to Warm.” That said, don’t expect refined, impeccable finishes here; this is an uncovered book binding project.

Personally, I absolutely love this type of raw, minimal aesthetic. In addition, this kit is made with recycled materials, giving it a more natural feel and look. Kits include thread, a needle, linen tape, an instructional booklet, illustrated guidelines, and hand-torn blank Strathmore drawing paper.

Note that glue is not included in this kit, but don’t sweat it — we’ve picked out the best book binding glue for all project types and needs. Also, know that this set will require sewing and stitching. That said, taking a few online sewing classes or practicing with a sewing kit may be helpful before diving in.

There are two variations of this kit: a 4-inch kit (40 pages) and a 6-inch kit (60 sheets, 120 pages). Confirm what each option offers before clicking the purchase button: prices vary. These kits are shipped worldwide from the US.

Psst: you can get a 10% off your first order if you sign up for the seller’s newsletter!

Complete French Link Stitch Bookbinding Kit by Cleverhands

French Link Bookbinding Kit Cleverhands

Next on our list is another exciting Cleverhands book making kit, this time focused on creating a French link stitch journal.

This binding method is similar to Coptic binding: it comprises folded sections of paper sewn between hardcover boards with exposed weaved stitching along book spines.

What makes this such a sought-after binding method? It allows books to lay flat, which works particularly well for left-handers looking for convenient alternatives to make handmade sketchbooks, journals, and notebooks.

Each kit includes a bone folder, needle, awl, binder clips, a foam brush, PVA glue, waxed linen thread, leather strips, signature paper, book boards, decorative endpapers, and more. Besides thorough instructions, you’ll also receive a paper punching guide to help you punch holes into sections accurately.

One of this kit’s most original features is its unique range of endpaper designs, including tinted topographic paper extracted from real maps. This adds a special touch to travel journal ventures (perfect for map illustrators!), whether for yourself or to gift an adventurous pal! This Etsy Star Seller ships from the US and delivers worldwide.

 Japanese Stab Binding Book Kit by Books by Hand

Japanese Stab Bookbinding Kit Books by Hand

Books by Hand by Lineco offers a line devoted to book binding essentials, whether glue, tape, tools, or craft kits. Our next pick is a Japanese stab binding set by the brand, including supplies to make three 4×6-inch booklets.

Japanese side stitch binding is a heavily aesthetic bookbinding style (also practiced in Korea and China) and is ideal if you’re looking for papercraft ventures that go beyond functionality. It also happens to be one of the more affordable approaches since it only requires thread and paper.

These kits contain ivory cover paper, book cloth, linen thread, decorative thread, and instructions. However, you’ll have to outsource additional tools, such as scissors, a needle, and a craft ruler, to complete your projects. You may also want to purchase PVA glue to embellish your covers.

Speaking of covers, the fun part of the brand’s “Designed by Me” Blank Cover series is that you’re free to adorn your covers however you see fit, whether with drawings, watercolor pencils, acrylic paint, and more. It’s perfect to create personalized scrapbooks, art journals, or a herbarium to display pressed flowers.

The brand also sells this Japanese Stab Book Making Kit, but it isn’t as crafty or freeform as our recommendation. While more minimal in design, note that Japanese binding will require more time to master; imagine embroidering on paper! The product is sold on Amazon and Blick for the same price.

Pocket Bookbinding Kit by Cleverhands

Bookbinding Pocket Kit by Cleverhands

The last two products on our list are book binding kits for small-scale projects; they’re perfect for gifts and convenient to carry with you everywhere you go — ideal for scribblers, sketchers, backpackers, and journalers on the go.

Once again, Cleverhands presents yet another fantastic product with its pocket-size miniature book making kit. It’s not only adorable but also very affordable, costing under $20. This kit includes paper, a binder needle, waxed linen thread, clips, and a heavy-duty push pin for hole punching.

And because some of the best things in life come in tiny packages, your bundle will include multiple projects vs. one: a side-sewn notebook, magic one-sheet mini book, serpentine accordion mini book, and pamphlet stitch notebook.

Each project is divided into individual packages, so don’t worry about figuring out what goes where on your own! One of the highlights of this book making kit is that instructions are super easy to follow and include lots of illustrations that make learning easy.

This book making kit is a great way to dip your toe into the craft without making a big commitment, although we have a feeling you’ll want to dive into some of the brand’s larger sets once you get the gist of things! Mini Cleverhands kits are shipped from the US and delivered worldwide.

Mini Leather Bookbinding Kit by Shelbyville

Miniature Bookbinding Leather Kit by Shelbyville

Looking for a DIY leather book binding kit? We’ve got your back. These miniature leatherbound notebooks by Shelbyville have been curated with the utmost quality to accommodate crafty hobbyists and demanding stationery enthusiasts.

While small, this leather book binding kit is one of the priciest suggestions in our guide, at just a little under $50. That said, you can expect quality and first-rate finishes with this project. Each kit has enough materials to complete two leatherbound booklets.

Supplies in your set will include two pieces of leather (different colors), preprinted paper, an example signature, a binder needle, colored waxed linen book binding thread, and instructions with easy-to-follow illustrations.

One of the highlights is that this set also includes templates that you can resort to for future projects! While working on such small items may present some challenges, this seller has specifically curated this kit for everyone, from complete beginners to experienced hobbyists.

These kits are delivered from Australia and shipped worldwide. Reading this from Brisbane, Australia? This seller hosts a few in-person bookbinding workshops you may want to check out! Taking online leather working classes or purchasing leather craft sets/leather toolkits are other ways to learn how to incorporate leather into book binding!

Quick book binding style guide

You’re excited about getting crafty and considering book binding kits as your soon-to-be favorite creative hobby. But did you know there are tons of different styles and approaches to the art of book stitching?

Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular, hand-stitched book binding styles and techniques to give you a taste of the versatile potential of this pastime.

  • Pamphlet binding: A popular, simple method of stitch binding for documents and booklets with fewer pages. Sheets of paper are folded into folios, hole-punched, and hand-sewn with needle and thread. This method only works with a small number of folios.
  • Section sewn binding: This style of binding consists of sewing and gluing techniques. Folded signatures are usually sewn together and then thermally glued to paper covers for added durability.
  • Case binding: The most well-known technique used for hardcover books and a favorite for fans of artisan methods. Pages are folded and sewn in sections, shielded by hardboard covers. It’s a more versatile approach because you can incorporate different materials, such as endpapers, cloth, paper, gauze strips, etc. In addition, your book block of signatures can be glued or sewn.
  • Saddle stitch binding: The most budget-friendly, straightforward binding style. It’s best suited for thinner notebooks. Folded sheets are assembled by staples placed through the fold of the book’s spine.
  • French link binding: This binding technique is similar to Coptic binding: folded sections of paper are sewn together between hard covers to make a decorative link-and-weave stitch across exposed book spines. Perfect for photo albums and sketchbooks (and left-handers!) because books lay completely flat.
  • Japanese binding: A very decorative, aesthetic type of binding that consists of geometric patterns and designs that are hand-sewn along the spine with needle and thread.
  • Perfect binding: Commonly used to bind magazines, brochures, softcover books, and booklets. This is usually a more industrial process where stacks of pages are bound together using glue onto a flat, square spine.
  • Spiral binding: Also known as wire or plastic coil binding, this is very common and can be seen in everyday notebooks. Pages are trimmed and hole-punched. A spiral is then inserted through these holes and sealed. This allows booklets/notebooks to open at 360º and be folded in half.

That’s it for this guide to the best book binding kits! If you have any other questions, feel free to drop them in the comments below, and we’ll address them as soon as possible.

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