How to Mend a book in Se7en Steps…

I live in the world of lots of little book lovers and while I expect my kids to respect their books, and they do, wear and tear does tend to bring them down. Because of this I have a continuous pile of books to mend. Last week my declutter project was to hunt down and repair every book in the house.


Literally, I had a “Let’s mend a mountain of books week…” and a couple of you asked how I mended our books. Firstly I think book manufacturers design books to last twenty reads but actually well-loved books need to be ready for twenty thousand reads!!! Pkease keep in mind that I am not a professional book mender, just a desperate mom trying to maintain a saggy library… Here you go:

  1. Gather your mending tools, I keep all our mending things together in one spot, I do not want to be searching for stuff when I eventually get around to mending. Everything has to be ready when the inspiration strikes. I use clear sticky tape; the strongest quick dry cold glue I can find; scissors and clear contact paper.
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  3. Take a favorite book, that is in a totally collapsed state… Like this totally loved classic…
  4. Page through and look for tears, any and every tear… and use clear tape to fix them… Even those tiny tears because that is a week spot in your book and they can easily become great rips in a moment of enthusiasm.
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  6. The spine of a well loved book is always a problem… I try and catch them before they totally rip (this isn’t always the case!!!). I am sure this is a common sight in most houses!!!

  7. Drizzle the glue down the spine… and make sure all the bits and pieces of spine are in exactly the right place that you want them to be – the glue will set!!!
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  9. Now you cut your clear contact and you place it along the spine on the inside and the back cover, just to strengthen that join. And a layer of contact paper around the outside of the spine of the book to keep everything in place. I actually spread the contact paper on the outside of the book at least half way across the front and back covers. Clear contact paper is really strong and will hold your book together when the glue is dry.
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  11. Finally, now you can do this as a trick when a new book arrives in the house as well… because it will protect your books… at the top of the outer spine of the book it can start to look like a haystack fairly quickly, because that is how little hands grab a book off the shelves…

    So just add about a two inch band of contact paper around the top and bottom of the spine of the book.
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    And the se7en + 1th step…

  13. Leave your mended books spine side down, as straight and tall as you can overnight…
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And that’s it… by breakfast your books will be ready for another twenty thousand reads…

Hope you have a fabulous day!!!

14 Replies to “How to Mend a book in Se7en Steps…”

  1. So useful especially about how to mend the spine. The quality of children’s books seems to be proportional to how battered they become.

  2. Glad you liked it Sarah!!! My mom told me about putting some clear plastic just at the top and bottom of the spine and it really is a great preventative measure!!! You are so right about loved and lived in books… My youngest’s favorite book really looks like a war zone!!! Hope you have a fun weekend.

  3. I used to work for a public library and sometimes helped to mend books there, so here’s a simple tip for gluing the binding of books. After getting the glue in place, use a strip of waxed paper in between the cover and the pages so they don’t get glued together and rubber band the book closed. After the glue has dried, carefully peel the waxed paper away.

  4. Thank you for this! I am so afraid of contact paper, but I think I just need to brave it! I have some paperback books that need to last me quite some time, and they won’t make it unless I reinforce them!

  5. Hi Rikki, That’s a great tip, especially with board books… thank you that’s brilliant!!! Have a great weekend!!!

  6. Hi Christa, Take the leap it is so worth it, really!!! For our softcover textbooks, like their math books, that get used every single day and will be used by eight kids… You really can’t beat contact paper. What about trying it out on a soft notebook first to get the hang of it. Have a great day!!!

  7. Fab post – have just tweeted it to my followers as I know many of them will really appreciate it. Thanks!

  8. Thanks Zoe, Glad you like it!!! Sometimes you forget to blog the things you do all the time!!! Hope you are having a fun weekend with your family!!!

  9. I feel like I always have a pile of books that need mending. I was such a gentle kid. How can I teach my kids to just be a lot more careful? I found your blog from your chameleon on Craft Schooling Sunday. I’d like to add you to my blogroll.

  10. Hi Yosefa, Great to meet you!!! I think kids start with real live books a lot younger than we did, I remember getting Richard Scarry for my birthday when I was about five… now my one year old whizzes through them… That might have something to do with it!!! My kids are generally careful and my youngest has been the best of the lot… I really don’t think books are designed to meet the needs of twenty thousand reads though!!! Even our school books, which my kids are really careful with … but some of them get read every single day of the school year and they are doing the fourth or fifth round and have literally fallen apart!!! So yes, lots of book mending around here!!! Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you have a greater week!!!

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