Zig-Zag Book with Hard Cover

A step by step guide to making a zig-zag book with hard cover.

This example is made from two sheets of heavy-weight cartridge paper that have been joined together and is roughly A5 size. The grain direction of the paper should run head to tail or parallel to the folds.

1. Cut strips of paper to the height that you want your book to be. Measure carefully and use the grid on your cutting mat to help keep the edges straight.

2. Decide how wide you want the pages to be and mark up with a pin hole (or a sharp pencil) along the bottom (long) edge where the folds should be. On one end of one of the sheets of paper you will need a joining tab – this is a spare bit of paper that is about 2cm wide. Cut off any excess paper.

3. Score the folds first with a bone folder (or similar), keeping the paper square in the grid of your cutting mat.
4. Fold the two pages into the zig zag pattern and arrange them in order. (Press the folds with a bone folder.) The joining tab is in the middle and in this case the second sheet will join on top of the tab so that the join is hidden at the back.
When two sheets are joined like this the second piece can be pushed out of line because it cannot tuck right in to the fold of the joining tab. So in this case I usually cut a slither off the end of the second sheet at the join - about half a millimetre or so - before I glue them together.
5. Prepare to glue the tab by placing a piece of scrap paper underneath it and then another piece on top until you can only see the tab.

6. Video – joining the two sheets together:

7. Cut two boards for the cover

Use 2mm grey board to cut two boards for the covers. I usually make these the same size as the pages so that the book will stand up well (for display, open).

8. Covering the boards

The covering fabric or paper should be at least 2cm bigger than the board on all edges. Don’t forget your grain direction if using paper. Stick the board to the middle of the paper/fabric and press well.
9.Trim out the turn-ins to about 2cm and use a corner cutter to trim a triangle off each corner.

10. Glue turn ins with PVA – video

Glue the turn ins at top and bottom edges first, then the side edges.
Do the same to the second board.

11. Finish the book – stick the pages to the covers.

Before you starting glueing up the endpaper, do a dress rehearsal of sticking it down to the inside of the cover board. This is so that you line up where it has to go. There will be a small border of cover paper but not much wiggle room. I find it best to line up the two outside corners of the pages into the corresponding corners of the board.



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