How to make a hard back book cover

Updated February 21, 2017

With a few basic materials you can make a hardback book cover at home. The hardback book cover can be used to cover a paperback book or your own manuscript. If you are using the hardback book cover for your own manuscript, you will first need to print out the pages of the book. The pages must be in a neat, ordered stack with no irregular pages sticking out. But before you bind the book, you will need to know how to make the hardback book cover.

Look at the elements that make up the book cover. The book cover consists of the front and back cover and the spine that runs between the front and back cover.

Cut two pieces of cardboard. One piece will be the front cover, and the other will be the back cover. They should be identical in size, and should be half an inch longer and wider than the pages of your book. For example, if the book is 6 by 9 inches, each piece of cardboard should measure 6½ by 9 ½ inches.

Measure the thickness of the book. The spine will need to be as wide as the thickness of the book. If the stack of pages for the book is an inch high, then the spine will be 1 inch wide.

Calculate how much nonstretch cloth you will need to cover the book. One way to do this is to set the covers side by side, allowing room for the spine. Measure the diameter of the area and cut a piece of fabric that is 1 inch wider and deeper than the measured area of the book cover. For example, if each piece of cardboard measured 6 ½ by 9 ½ inches, and the spine was 1 inch wide, then the three together would measure 14 by 9 ½ inches. You would need a piece of fabric that was 15 by 10 ½ inches. Cut a rectangular piece of fabric that size.

Lay the fabric right side down on a work surface. Cover one cardboard piece with glue. Press it onto the back side of the fabric, positioning it at one end of the fabric, half an inch from the top of the fabric, half an inch from the bottom of the fabric and half an inch from one end of the fabric. Use a ruler to keep the fabric and cardboard piece exactly half an inch along all three edges.

Repeat with the second cardboard piece, aligning it with the other end of the fabric. There should be exactly 1 inch of space (or the appropriate width of the spine) between the front and back covers.

Turn the fabric edges inward, wrapping around the edges of the cardboard, and use glue to secure the fabric the cardboard. Work out all the air bubbles, and allow to dry.

Your cover is now complete, and ready for binding.

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard
  • Nonstretch fabric
  • Glue
  • Paint brush for applying glue
  • Scissors
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About the Author

Ann Johnson has been a freelance writer since 1995. She previously served as the editor of a community magazine in Southern California and was also an active real-estate agent, specializing in commercial and residential properties. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University, Fullerton.