How To: Cover a coptic bound book

I recently made a book from my favorite papers and envelopes using the coptic binding method, but the only thing I had for the cover was some thicker paper. So, the first step in fixing up my book, is giving it a bit more stability.


Open up so the book cover face up and flat against the table. Take leftover scraps of a sturdier board – I used mat board scraps – and line it up so it fits well. Then glue them down.


Take another thin piece (like the one that got me into this trouble to begin with) and glue that to the mat board. Repeat for the other cover.

And now for the fancying up!


Pick out your favorite fabric and make sure it will wrap around the book cover while closed. Add 1/4″ on all sides for finishing.

Fold the fabric around the edges of one cover piece and tuck in the corners. Glue into place with a hot glue gun. Also, make sure to tuck the edges of the fabric in where the cover meets the binding.


Then close your book. Use a little hot glue to tack the fabric in place where it will go around your spine (the codex bound part).

Now, if you miss measure and come up short on one side, don’t dispar. Here is a great trick to fix it up and give your book a nice finished look. In fact, I didn’t mess up the measurements, but cut it short on purpose. Cut a piece of card stock or any heavier weight paper and glue it over the raw edge of the fabric so there is at least 1/4″ over hang.


Score the wrong side of the card stock along the edges of the book cover. This will help to crease it and fold in the right spot.


Fold it up, then score again where it folds around the cover – about 1/16 to 1/8 inch from the previous score.



Fold the corners in And glue in place with hot glue.

Cut a piece of card stock so it’s slightly smaller than the cover. It looks nice if you can see a little patterned fabric on the inside of the cover. Glue in place.


And that’s it! All done! You can use this method to use up scraps of neat fabric that aren’t big enough to cover a book on their own, use up scraps of paper, give more support to your hand bound book, or even extend the cover out a bit if you didn’t make it big enough.

I especially like the added paper on the outside of the cover because it allows me to write the title or use of the book right there on the cover. I keep making a ton of these and am getting pretty good, whatever doesn’t end up as Christmas presents, I think I’ll add to the shop :) Did I mention handmade books make great presents? Well, I have now. You can learn how to make them from Stitch n’ Sketch, a Craft Leftovers Mini-zine.

Have a great weekend! Happy Halloween a few hours early :)