How to Make Glue Strips for Book Binding

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Use a crafter's hot glue gun to make your own binding strips.
Use a crafter's hot glue gun to make your own binding strips. (Image: Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Thermal binding is the process of binding a book using a heat-activated glue. Typically, you would buy commercial glue strips or thermal covers, and press them onto your book's spine in a binding machine. You can make your own glue strips by using a hot glue gun. Hot craft glue does not cure when it cools, so it remelts when you apply heat again. Once you have infused a binding material with the glue, you can store it and cut it into strips as you need them.

Things You'll Need

  • 14-by-16-inch baking sheet
  • 12-by-12-inch gauze or nylon net
  • Hot glue gun and glue
  • Ruler
  • Fabric pencil

Put a baking sheet on a flat work surface. Spread a piece of gauze or fine nylon net on top of it. Smooth the gauze or net so it is free of bumps and wrinkles.

Heat a hot glue gun on a low setting. While the glue heats and softens, use a ruler and fabric pencil to draw a series of parallel lines across the gauze or net, either vertically or horizontally. Space the lines 1/2 inch apart.

Apply a thin line of glue over each of the drawn lines, using the hot glue gun. Allow the glue to cool and dry.

Store the glue sheet -- in a clean, dry, cool place -- until you are ready to cut it into strips and use it to bind books.

Tips & Warnings

  • To use a glue strip, cut one to the size of your book's spine. Cut against the grain of the glue, so the lines will run horizontally across the spine. Place the strip between the spine and the spine area on the book's cover, clamp the cover in place, and heat the spine on a hotplate or frying pan at about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. This will soften the glue. Remove the book. As it cools, the glue will bind the cover to the spine.
  • Homemade glue strips might not be as reliable as commercial ones. If you leave your book in the trunk of a car on a hot day, for example, its spine might melt.

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