Cutting the Paper

You have found the grain on both the text block and cover paper, so now you are ready to cut to the proper measurements.

Text block

The text block paper needs to be cut to the finished measurements.

Here are the measurements of the book I will be making in this tutorial: 5.5″h x 4.25″w. Making a book this size greatly simplifies my cutting and measuring since this book is exactly ΒΌ of a regular 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper.

On my 24 lb. Premium multipurpose paper, I have determined that the grain runs parallel to the length of the paper (the 11″ side). This means I’m going to measure the height of my book (5.5″) along the 11″ side of the paper, make a mark, and cut all the way across. I now have two pieces that measure 5.5h x 8.5w.

I want my paper at the finished measurements, so I have only one more cut to make and I’m going to cut both halves of my original sheet at the same time. I’m going to cut my two 5.5 x 8.5 sheets in half along the 8.5″ side of the paper.

Now I have four sheets of paper that measure 5.5″h x 4.25″w. Because of the way I cut my paper, the grain is parallel to the 5.5″ side, or the spine edge, of my paper.

Continue cutting your paper this way until you have 10-15 sheets.

*Grain determines to a large extent how many single sheets you can cut out of your original sheet of paper. Grain can also determine the dimensions of your book.

For example, if the grain of my 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper ran the opposite way, parallel to the 8.5″ side, I would either have to make my book a different size or get fewer single sheets out of one piece of paper.

If I wanted to use the whole sheet of paper and get 4 individual sheets, the dimensions of my book would change. I would cut my paper in half along the 8.5″ side and cut all the way across giving me two sheets measuring 4.25″h x 11″w. I would cut these two sheets in half along the 11″ side of the paper, giving me a finished measurement of 4.25″h x 5.5″w. The dimensions of my book would be reversed.

Determine grain and cut carefully. THINK TWICE, CUT ONCE.

Cover Paper

The cover paper is cut the same way as the text block, taking into consideration the direction of the grain. There are two ways to cut paper for a cover.

The first method, which is my preferred method, is to cut the cover paper exactly the same size as my textblock paper. On almost all other types of bindings, you cut the covers to be about 1/8″ – 1/4″ larger than the textblock along all edges except the spine, but you don’t have to do that with this soft cover binding.

  • If you use this method, you’ll sandwich the textblock between the cover papers and line them up on all four sides. You’ll be able to see the textblock between the covers on the spine edge, just like all three other edges.

The second method is to cut the cover paper to the finished height of the book and 2x the finished width plus 1/4″ to account for the turn of the paper. So using my sample measurements of 5.5″h x 4.25″w, I am going to cut my cover paper to be 5.5″ tall and 8.75″ wide.

  • If you use this method you’re going to fold the cover paper around the textblock, lining up the head, tail, and fore-edges.

***Double check before you cut that the grain of the paper is parallel to the height edge of your book.

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