Drumleaf Binding

This is a useful structure when you want to create double sided pages using single sided artwork – so for printmakers who are only printing on one side of their paper for example. Also the pages are glued together not sewn so there are no sewing stitches in the centre folds of the pages to interfere with the artwork.

It can be tricky to make this one neatly so go carefully with the construction process. It works best when the paper you are using is a decent weight, say upwards of 150 gsm. The grain direction of all the pages should run head to tail or parallel to the spine fold.

The drumleaf is made from single sided artwork,  folded in half with the artwork on the inside of the fold. All the pages should be cut to the same size. It is better to cut them to size after they have been folded.

The edge opposite the spine (fore edge) should be trimmed carefully as this structure works best when the fore edge is straight and the pages are equal in width.
After you have cut the pages, press the spine folds again with a bone folder to get them as flat as possible.
Arrange the pages in order. The individual folded pages sit side by side and will be glued so that you cannot see the blank sides.

The first thing to glue is the spine, as if you were making a perfect binding. Knock the pages up into perfect alignment and clamp between two boards with a weight on top. The video will show you the knocking up/down technique.

Apply a layer of PVA glue to the spine. When this has dried, apply a second layer. Once this has dried, carefully remove the pages from the clamp.
The pages are next going to be glued at the fore edge and before I do this I like to mark a small pencil cross on the pages that I am going to glue – so these are the blank sides (RHS) of the pages not the artwork sides.
The next video will show you the technique for glueing the fore edges of the book - the drumming of the pages which gives the structure its name. This process will make each page double thickness and you will no longer be able to see the blank sides. We only glue a narrow strip at the edge of the page. If we glued the whole page, the paper would become stiff and might cockle and warp as it dries. Even so, a lot can go wrong here! You should keep checking the shape of the spine as you work through the pages - making sure that it stays square/upright. Also be careful that the pages stick together smoothly. They will crease if you don't join them in the right place. (Try to develop a "rolling down" technique here, as if you were laying a sheet of paper on a flat surface from one end of the sheet to the other.) Smaller books are easier to make than larger ones so maybe practice this structure on a small book first. On a larger page size, you may be able to weight the spine so that it doesn't move out of shape whilst you glue. I like to start glueing from the back of the book and work forwards.
   If you find this step difficult, try it with your own PVA/paste mix as this will slow the drying process down giving the pages time to settle into the right position.

Repeat this demo on all blank pairs of pages.

I have added endpapers to my book. These are made from two sheets of paper the same size as a double page spread, but start with a slightly larger sheet if you can. Fold this in half, press the fold, then cut to the size of your pages. The end papers could just be tipped in to the spine or they can be tipped in at the spine and the fore edge – see below.




Arrange the endpaper like this: the folded edge of the endpaper sits on top of the first page, but 5mm to the left on the fore edge. Place scrap paper underneath the first page and another on top of the endpaper but 5mm to the left. This is now ready to glue – see video below. (Left handers – just rotate this instruction 180 or until it feels comfortable for you.)


Strengthen the spine

It is a good idea to stick something over the spine for additional strength. This could be thin fabric or strong thin paper. I am using envelope paper. check the grain direction first then cut to size – about 2mm shorter than the height of the pages and about 2cm wider than the spine.

Glue this strip and stick it around the spine of the book, pressing down well.

Cut two boards and a spine piece

The hard cover is similar to a normal hard back cover but with the drumleaf, you need a wider gap at the back to allow for movement as the book opens.

Measure and cut your boards in 2mm thick grey board as follows:

front cover = (width of pages minus 2 mm) x (height of pages + 6 mm)

back cover = (width of pages minus 7 mm) x (height of pages + 6 mm)

spine piece = (thickness of book + 4 mm) x (height of pages + 6 mm)
This picture shows where the wider gap will be on the back cover to allow for opening.
So when you stick the boards down, on to your covering material, the gap between the front board and the spine piece will be 8mm and the gap between the spine piece and the back cover will be 13mm.
Stick the covers boards on to your covering material with the correct spacing. Then trim edges to 2cm and corners and finish in the usual way. If you have not done this before see this page.
Shape the spine by gently pressing the bookcloth at the spine with your fingers.
Does the cover fit your pages? When the pages are touching the inside of the spine, there should be a 3mm overhang on the fore edge. (Also on the top and bottom edges).

So last thing to do is to stick the cover to the pages. We just glue the endpapers not the spine. See video below for this process.

And then stick the second endpaper in the same way.
Leave the book to dry under a flat board or gentle weight.
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