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Adhesive Softcover Binding

by Pete Jermann   © 2005


Step by step directions for creating an fan-glued softcover binding


The softcover adhesive binding is a fan-glued, flush trimmed binding with a slightly stiff yet still flexible cover. A hollowback design allows for flat opening making it a good option for calendar and planning books. Note: These instructions assume the textblock begins as a stack of single leaves and that the reader is familiar with basic fan-gluing.


  • 2 singlefold endsheets - cut slightly larger than length of textblock x width of textblock. Grain should be parallel to the spine

  • glue for fan-gluing

  • super or backlining - cut slightly larger than length of spine x thickness of spine + 2” (or more)

  • 2 pieces of 20 pt. board (this is more like a heavy card stock) - cut slightly larger than length and width of textblock

  • Cover materials - any type of book cloth

Procedure - Overview

1. Fan-glue textblock with endsheets and apply super
2. Glue up and apply 20 pt. board
3. Apply covering cloth
4. Press
5. Trim
6. Finish


Procedure - Detailed

1. Fan-glue single sheets

  • Place textblock of single leaves and endsheets into the fan-gluing press fan-glue the spine. The endsheets should be either the same size as the textblock or larger.
  • Attach super. Glue up one side of super and apply to textblock.


2. Apply boards

  • Glue up one side of board/card stock and place on the textblock aligned with the spine. Repeat with second board/card stock on the reverse side of the spine. The boards should be either the same size as the textblock or slightly larger.


3. Attach cover material

  • The cover material must be glued to the boards such that approximately 3/8” of the spine edge remains unglued. This can be accomplished by making a simple glue guard out of a piece of binder’s board and Mylar. Attach a strip of Mylar to a 2” x 12” inch strip of binder’s board such that the Mylar extends from the board’s edge 3/8”. The mylar can be attach with a double stick tape or, if using Mylar J, can be glued with PVA


  • With the guard placed against the spine edge of the textblock such that the Mylar overlaps the textblock and the binder’s board butts against the spine, glue along the edge of the mylar. Next, glue the remainder of the board.  When you are finished the board should be covered with glue except for a narrow band 3/8" wide adjacent to the spine.


  • Lay out a sheet of bookcloth large enough to cover the entire book and place the textblock, glued side down, onto it as shown to the right.
  • Using the guard, glue out the board now facing you as was done on the reverse side.
  • Pull the bookcloth over onto the board ensuring that the cloth wraps snugly around the spine

4. Press

  • Press for 3 to 5 minutes


5. Trim

  •  Trim the foredge and top and bottom. 


  • Round the foredge corners

6. Finish

  • Label, tool or hot stamp



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