The Complete Guide to Notebook Binding Methods

What is Notebook binding?

‍The term “notebook binding” refers to the process by which a notebook’s pages are assembled and secured. Sewing or adhesive is commonly used to keep the pages of a notebook together so they can be bound to the cover. The wraparound cover can be flexible or rigid and can be personalized by attaching various materials, such as leather or notebook cloth, to the boards.

Notebook binding is the process of securing the sheets of paper that make up a notebook so that it can be held as a whole.

Binding a notebook requires a wide variety of specialized equipment and steps. Cutting paper sizes, measuring materials, and gluing specific parts varies from one notebook order to the next due to the custom nature of each order. A notebook artisan should have in-depth expertise in a wide range of materials and notebook binding techniques if notebooks are hand-made because they require such precision and care.

To help them with tasks like cutting, seaming, and measuring, they’ll use a wide variety of tools, both manual and machinery. There is still a significant amount of manual labor involved in making notebooks. Still, with the advent of mass production lines in the modern era, notebooks can also be manufactured in large quantities.

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What is Notebook binding?

A Brief Anatomy of The Hardcover Notebook

brief anatomy of the hardcover notebook
A Guide to Choosing the Perfect Notebook Binding

A Guide to Choosing the Perfect Notebook Binding

Purpose: Is the notebook for taking notes? Journal? Sketch pad? Etc.
Budget: Not only the materials used in a notebook are the consideration of the total notebook price but also the way it’s bound. It’s important to know that the more robust the binding, the higher the price (e.g., hardbound)
Longevity: For how long are you planning to use the notebook?
Feature: the size of the notebook, shape, number of pages, page weight, the material of the cover, pages can be ripped easily/not, etc.
Aesthetic: Do you want a classy or playful design? This decision goes along with the purpose of the notebook.
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The 5 Most Popular Notebook Binding Methods

1. Case Binding

They are also known as hardcover binding is the gold standard in notebook binding. The pages within are divided and stitched into sections. Following this, the endpapers and the cover's spine are glued together. The rigid front cover and long-lasting of the casebound notebook are two of its most notable features.

Why Choose Hard Bound Notebooks?

  • The completed product is a long-lasting, sturdy case typically used for notebooks and other publications. Endpapers secure the cover to the binding boards and hide any imperfections in the cover material.
  • Each of the notebook's sides is shielded by its piece of board, and the notebook's spine and front/back boards are also separate pieces of board, giving the book more flexibility and allowing it to lie flat. Moreover, the hardcover case can be branded in every individual compartment.
  • A sheet of the card is pasted onto the book's front, back, and spine to secure the book block inside the case. One can add even more personalization options with this card piece, an endpaper.
  • The front of a casebound notebook can be personalized by covering the boards with various materials, such as bookbinding cloth, leather, or PVC. Adding a just jacket gives a casebound book that extra polish.
  • A casebound book's design needs to account for the width of the spine, which will be pretty wide, in addition to the bleed, hinge, and foldover.
  • Classic and high-quality looking, hardcover notebooks are ideal for commemorating important milestones or as gifts for those on your list who like to plan. However, they can withstand heavy use because of their durability.
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Hard Bound Notebooks

2. Perfect Binding

A perfect bound book has no space between the cover and the pages. Bindings of this type are typically employed for catalogs and feature a thin card cover. The pages are gathered together, roughed up at the spine, and then attached to a wraparound cover with heavy adhesive. These folded pages are called signatures. Once the glue has set, the book will remain tightly bound throughout.

Why Choose Perfect Bound Notebooks?

The book's spine is typically flat and rectangular, and the cover is generally soft paper. Catalogs, periodicals, booklets, and brochures are frequently bound using this method.

Notebooks that are Perfect Bound have the added benefit of being adaptable and convenient to carry around. The cover isn't rigid, but it protects the notebook's contents well enough, and the book's flat profile makes it simple to distribute.

Perfect-bound notebooks have another selling point: they are less expensive to produce than hardcovers of the same size and content.

Perfect Binding

2 Types of Perfect Binding

PUR Binding

PUR Binding

Polyurethane Reactive (PUR) binding is a process for binding notebooks with a soft cover using PUR adhesive. The notebook’s pages and cover are glued together at the spine, trimming the edges to be neat and precise. The strongest glue for notebook binding is polyurethane reactive (PUR). It’s much more effective than Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) and other conventional perfect binding adhesives.

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notch binding

Notch Binding

Notch binding is another name for perfect binding. Cutting ‘notches’ into the signatures and using glue to secure the cover makes a more powerful version of the perfect binding method known as notched perfect binding.

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3. Saddle Stitched Binding

Saddle Stitched binding is common because of its stapled spine and professional appearance. Thin publications like booklets, zines, and brochures benefit significantly from this binding method, as it is both simple and inexpensive.

Folded sheets are stacked on top of one another and wire stapled through the fold line. Outside, the staples go through the fold; inside, they’re clinched between the two center pages. The standard number of staples along the spine of a notebook is two, but larger notebooks may need more.

Pros and Cons of Saddle-Stitched Notebooks


Smaller projects with a low page count often benefit from this binding. Staple binding is commonly used for small publications like magazines and brochures because it is a fast, affordable, and efficient method of delivering large-scale projects to a wide audience.

It has low production costs and generally quick turnaround. The laying-flat design of the pages is especially well-suited to use as sketchbooks. Even though this type of binding lacks the elegance of a hardcover notebook, it is ideal for mass-producing inexpensive, practical notebooks.


The limitations of saddle-stitched notebooks are inherent to the binding method. Having fewer pages (up to 64 is suggested) helps keep the notebook from bending in the middle where the pages are folded.

Adding more pages could make the notebook cumbersome and prevent it from closing as securely. When using a saddle stitch binding, the page numbers must also be divisible by 4.

saddle stitch binding

4. Singer Sewn

You can tell a notebook has Singer Sewn binding because the spine is stitched, and the notebook opens completely flat. They’re effortless to put together but still, they manage to look sleek and contemporary. Like saddle stitching, the thread is used to bind the pages together instead of staples. Saddle stitching has some benefits but depends on the notebook's specifications.

Singer-sewn notebooks, which can have up to forty stitches in the spine, are more robust than saddle-stitched ones. You can choose the exact color of the thread to match or contrast with the cover color, making them more adaptable and inspiring more inventiveness. Cover and thread can have the same uniform brand color for a more polished appearance.

Why Choose Singer Sewn Notebooks?

Singer-sewn is a quick and easy way to complete a project with a professional appearance because of its straightforward construction. Singer-sewn is commonly performed on machines that resemble sewing machines; these machines clamp the pages together and sew them either through the spine or the folio.

Singer-sewn has several advantages over stapled ones, including the ability to lay flat when opened and exceptionally strong stitching between each page. The stitches can be neatly trimmed for a more refined look or left hanging for a more natural one.

No adhesives or staples are used, so the notebook still has that “hand-bound” feel.

singer sewn notebooks

5. Coil Binding

Coil binding, also called spiral binding, is a common and easy technique for binding notebooks. Coil binding uses a durable plastic or metal coil wound like a long spring to bind a notebook's pages and cover them together.

A series of tiny holes are punched along the notebook's spine, and the coil is inserted and twisted through these openings. The coil is secured by being crimped at both ends after threading through the various openings in the cover and pages.

Unlike other types of binding, coil binding does not add any spinal tension to the pages. Therefore, a coil-bound notebook's pages can freely turn around the coil. This means you won't have to keep holding open a coil-bound document to read a few pages simultaneously.

Why Choose Spiral Notebooks?

Coil binding allows the notebook to be folded completely back on itself without losing its flat shape. Reports, sales presentations, proposals, directories, cookbooks, instructional books, and maintenance manuals are great candidates for the coil binding method due to its compact size and ease of use as a reference tool.

Because of their portability, atlases and guidebooks are often coil-bound. Also, the fact that coil-bound notebooks open flat allows you to easily access information that the notebook's spine might otherwise hide.

spiral notebooks

Quick View of More Binding Methods

What are the Best Notebook Binding Materials?

Paper, threads, tape, boards, and fabric are just some raw materials used in bookbinding. There are various quality grades and varieties of each product on the market. If you want a professional-looking binding, don’t settle for less than the best materials available. The cost of high-quality bookbinding materials may seem prohibitive initially, but remember that only a tiny amount of each is needed for a single binding. As a result, you can make multiple bindings from the same supply investment.


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Books can be bound using any number of the various papers currently on the market. Rag content paper - 25% woven cotton fibers, is preferable to wood pulp paper due to its higher durability and lack of yellowing. Ledger, white woven bound, or typewriter paper of around 16 to 20 points is recommended if a blank book needs to be made.
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White, cream, gray, and ivory are just some of the colors available for the end sheets, though customers can choose from any color of domestic or imported paper. It is possible to use the same form for the cover board, the boxes, and the slipcases.
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Ideal to use is a medium-weight paper that can be folded, pasted, and joint-fixed without tearing. It also needs to be visually appealing so that the final product is visually striking.
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It’s vitally important to ensure the grain runs parallel to the spine. That also applies to cardboard.
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Folding and turning scraps is one method for determining the quality of the paper. If the paper is of poor quality, it will either crack or tear.


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Fabrics like linen, cotton, and polyester create bookbinding tape. Avoid using polyester tape in any circumstance; it won’t hold up the binding well enough. Both linen and cotton tape has advantages and disadvantages, and neither is perfect. Cotton tape is more malleable, so it’s easier to adhere to surfaces.
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Linen tape is the best option. Although linen is more durable and long-lasting than cotton, it is not quite as flexible. A second paste is often necessary to get the desired result.
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Tape widths can vary in size. In most cases, widths between a quarter and a half an inch work well. Sometimes a tape measure of 3/8 inches in width is needed as well.


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The ideal board would be dense and stable so the covering material would not buckle as it was being pasted on. There is sometimes a hollow spot on one side of the board due to the material shrinking after the paste has dried.
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The same thing can happen when the end sheets are pasted onto the back of the boards. It’s essential to check that the end sheet’s pull matches the cover material before pasting. Although many boards are available, a binder board is ideal.


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Mull refers to the fabric used to cover the tapes and signatures after sewn. The mull serves primarily to bind all of the signatures together while maintaining the notebook’s pliability. The perfect mull would be strong and spacious for weaving. Both features are necessary for the mull to withstand repeated flexing and for the paste to penetrate easily and stick well over the tape and signatures.
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Because of their longevity, white linen and muslin are the most reliable options for mull. Although unbleached muslin is available, it detracts from the overall aesthetic because it casts a shadow through the thin end sheets. A white muslin cloth is, therefore, the better option.


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The binding thread must be strong without being abrasive, or it will tear the signature paper. The binding is weakened in this way and won't hold for long. The linen binder thread is a high-quality option.
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Ideal threads used on notebook binding are No. 16 and No. 25 mercerized cotton threads. It can also be the carpet or No. 18 button thread and No. 50 thread, commonly used for sewing fabric but works fine with notebook binding.
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Waxed threads are better because they keep it from kinking over time, make the bind more secure, and extend the notebook's life.


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Wheat flour paste has been used historically for bookbinding. This glue is cheap and very effective; it will ensure that the binding will last for many generations.
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In addition, it is less hazardous than other modern glues, which often contain chemicals in high concentrations and can cause adverse reactions with paper and other bookbinding supplies and materials, reducing their useful lifespan.


You can now confidently choose a high-quality notebook in the future because you better understand the various binding methods and materials used.

Contact Interwell Stationery if you want the highest quality notebooks for yourself and your clients. We have high-quality stationery options with stylish designs that have been thoroughly assessed. Jump-start your business in the stationery industry with Interwell today!

Perfect Binding: For catalogs, booklets, reports, and other premium projects
Case Binding: Offers durability with a very professional feel
Singer-sewn: Simple and stylish with a clean finish
Saddle Stitched: For booklets, zines, brochures, leaflets
Coil Binding: Excellent for academic works such as essays and research papers.
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Su - Interwell Founder
Hi, I'm Su, the author of this post. I founded Interwell Stationery and have served over 1000+ clients since 2003. Feel free to contact us for custom stationery supplies, manufacturing support, and the latest trends in the industry.
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