Binding Techniques

Paper Binding Techniques

Binding is the process of assembling and securing written or printed pages in a cover. The cover is usually thicker than the inner pages to provide durability to the finished product.

The binding can make, or quite literally, break a printed product – so here are some of the more popular binding techniques, from cover to cover.

Here’s a rundown of the 10 most popular binding techniques:



Making pads from stacks of loose sheets is the simplest form of binding and is a hand operation with a brush and glue pot.

If required, a glued on cover can be added to offer more durability, an upmarket feel and to allow for more branding.

Perfect Binding

Perfect binding is done using Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) adhesives and is unstable in extreme hot and cold conditions.

It’s weaker than PUR binding, but this doesn’t mean it’s useless – it’s an ideal binding technique for publications such as magazines, as it costs less than PUR binding does.

Perfect Binding
PUR Binding

PUR Binding

Using Polyurethane Reactive adhesives, PUR binding is 2.5 times stronger than perfect binding, making it better for jobs with more pages or a thicker paper. It’s more resistant to changing temperatures and offers huge design flexibility.

PUR binding is costly to set up, and is therefore recommended for jobs of over 36 text pages and at least 150 copies.

Thread-sewn Binding

This is the Rolls Royce of binding. The page sections (signatures) are sewn together and then glued into the cover so that the pages can’t be separated from the book without being ripped out.

This method creates a durable book and also allows the book to open more easily and remain flat. It’s ideal for reference books, children’s books, cookery books or any other prestigious book.

Case Binding

Case binding is very similar to perfect binding, but uses a hard cover, rather than a soft one.

The hard cover (case) is wrapped in book cloth or faux or genuine leather, and the title is often foil stamped on the front cover and spine.

Saddle Stitching

Saddle stitching is a very popular book binding method in which folded sheets are gathered together one inside the other and then secured through the fold with wire staples.

The staples pass through the folded crease from the outside through to the centre pages. Two staples are commonly used, but larger books may require additional staples.

Loop Stitching

Loop stitching is the same as saddle stitching, but uses a looped staple which allows the stitched book to be inserted into a ring binder with no drilled holes.

When a loop-stitched book is open, it looks exactly the same as a regular saddle stitched book.

Side Stitching

In side stitching, staples are inserted near the edge of an entire stack of sheets.

The method results in a strong binding, but means that pages do not lie flat when the book is open. The staples also take up some of the margin, so the layout should start well in from the stitched edge to avoid any printing from disappearing into the spine.

Spiral Binding

In this method the pages and the front and back covers are punched and then fastened together by a wire or plastic spiral.

Spiral binding allows the product to lie flat when open and also to double over, making it ideal for technical manuals, notebooks and calendars. Individual pages can also be easily torn out.

Screw-&-post Binding

Also known as interscrew binding, holes are drilled through the covers and pages and the posts are inserted and fastened with a screw.

This is a cleaner-looking and more modern alternative to ring binding and offers the ability to rearrange, add or remove pages as needed. It’s ideal for restaurant menus, portfolios and swatches.