3 ways to fix the binding of a book

3 ways to fix the binding of a book
3 ways to fix the binding of a book

Is your favorite book falling apart on the pages or the cover? It's easier to fix it than it looks. You can use glue to fix the pages that have come loose from the rest of the book. You can also use this glue to close the spaces that have appeared between the leaves (the groups of pages that books are made of) and the spine of the book. You can also secure a blanket that has fallen off with book tape.


Method 1 of 3: Attach detached pages

Repair a Book's Binding Step 1

Step 1. Buy an acid-free book glue

Most stores that sell art supplies should carry this kind of glue. Usually, it is sold in long, thin tubes. Make sure you buy one that is acid free. If you were to use one that contains it, the pages of the book may dissolve or the glue may attack the spine of the binding.

Step 2. Take out the loose pages

Set them aside so you don't get any glue on them. Make sure you put them in the right order. You don't want to stick them back in the book only to find that they're not in the right order.

Step 3. Apply a thin layer of glue

Open the book and put some glue on the inside of the spine of the binding where you pulled out the pages. Take a wooden stick and spread the glue all over the back of the book in an even layer.

Step 4. Put the pages back on the spine

Again make sure they are in the correct order. Next, carefully line up the top and bottom of each leaf with the rest of the pages already attached to the spine of the book. Press the edge of the pages firmly against the spine to stick it to the surface.

You may have to wiggle them around a bit to line them up exactly with the rest of the book. If you must, do it quickly so you don't see the pages sticking together in an inappropriate position

Step 5. Hold the book closed with a rubber band

This will keep the pages aligned while the glue dries. You can also put it on top of heavier books.

Step 6. Let dry for 24 hours

Once the 24 hours have passed, take out the elastic (or stacked books) and gently flip through the book. The pages should look like they fit there properly. If it seems to you that they are moving, you must repeat the various steps to put them back together.

Method 2 of 3: Reinforce a space between the pages and the spine

Repair a Book's Binding Step 7

Step 1. Obtain the necessary equipment

You will need some book glue, knitting needles or plastic rods (to apply the glue), waxed paper, and a piece of flat plastic. It would be better if you buy some glue in a long bottle, as this will make it easier for you to cover the needles or stems with it to apply to the back.

Step 2. Lay the book on its edge

Then gently open the space between the pages and the spine with one hand as much as possible without damaging the book even more.

Step 3. Dip the needle or rod into the glue

Gently insert it into the space between the pages and the spine and rotate it against the leaves and the spine. This allows you to put glue on all parts of the book to help them adhere better to each other.

If the space runs the entire length of the spine of the book, you will need to flip it over to lay it on the top of the spine before starting the process again

Step 4. Lay the book flat

Press down firmly on the sheets so that they lie flat against the back. Then take the piece of flat plastic to press the cover page (the blank page at the beginning of the book) against the spine. This allows you to be sure that all the pages stick to the spine and that none get torn.

Step 5. Place a piece of waxed paper between the cover and the pages

You have to press on it as far as possible. This prevents glue from running around the edges of the cover, so you can be sure to open the book properly once the glue dries.

Step 6. Pass the plastic end along the back

There should be a little hollow between the edge of the spine and the cover of the book. Apply even pressure on it with the flat plastic end.

Step 7. Compress the book overnight

Lay it on a flat board with a knitting needle slightly thicker than the book cover that rests on top of the bottom board. Lay the book on the board, aligning the needle with the spine of the book. Repeat this process with a knitting needle placed on the top of the back and finish by putting on a new board. Place about 5 kg on top of the board and let sit overnight.

Method 3 of 3: Fix a broken back

Step 1. Take the spine out of the book

It is harder to repair if it holds onto the rest of the book with threads, so pulling it out completely will make it easier for yourself. Cut any threads or pieces of paper that might be attached to it to get regular, clean slips.

Step 2. Cut a piece of ribbon

You can find single stitch tape for repairing books at most art supply stores. Cut the ribbon to a length equal to that of the leaves. Do not use the height of the blanket to measure the tape, as the sheets are usually shorter than the blanket and you don't want to end up with ends sticking out.

Step 3. Put glue on one side

It would be better if you use a brush to apply it, as it allows you to put on a more even layer.

Step 4. Secure the ribbon to the leaflets and back

Hold it by the dry ends and line up the dots with the backs of the sheets. Glue one side with glue to the first page and the other side to the spine of the book. Use a flat piece of plastic to rub the tape to make sure it holds together.

Step 5. Let the glue dry

It can take anywhere from several hours to overnight. You should be able to tell that the glue is dry by running your finger across the top, as you will be able to see whether the tape feels wet or not.

Step 6. Install waxed paper

You need to put it on top of the tape that is already glued to the slips and under the tape that has not yet been glued.

Step 7. Put glue on the other two sides

Then gently bring the blanket up so that the edge lines up along the dots on the ribbon.

Step 8. Press firmly on the back

Choose the side parallel to the spine of the book between the spine and the leaves. When you lift the blanket, the back should rest flat against that side.

Step 9. Attach the last side to the blanket

Lay it out with a flat piece of plastic to lay it flat against the blanket. Close the book and rub the back with the flat plastic piece so that this side sticks to the back.

Step 10. Secure with rubber bands

They will allow the glue to dry evenly overnight to make sure the sides are flat against the back and the sheets. Let it dry overnight to prevent the leaves from falling off when you pick up the book.

Step 11. Take out the rubber bands and wax paper

Open it carefully and flip through the pages to be sure your repair holds up.


  • To compress the book, choose a board (wider than the book) and between two and four bricks. It's also a better solution than rubber bands to keep the book straight and aligned.
  • When repairing a book, start with the most damaged areas and finish with the least damaged. If your spine repair doesn't hold up, there is no reason to reinforce the corners or glue the detached pages.


  • Never use cardboard tape or chatterton to repair a book. The first will come off after three years. The second will liquefy after three years and it will irreparably damage your book. Do not use clear tape (like Scotch tape) either, as it will fall off after several years.
  • Do not attempt to repair rare or expensive books, as you may accidentally damage them or significantly reduce their value. Instead, find a professional who will help you repair and preserve your book.

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