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How can I make a spiral notebook without a machine?

Christopher Pitts posted this on Jul 7, 2015

Who needs an expensive binding machine? If you are doing a small number of documents, you can easily get away with doing the binding by hand.

Here are a few tips on how to make a spiral bound book without a machine.


1. Why Spiral Coil? The first thing you will have to decide when you are doing your own machineless spiral coil binding is if spiral coil is truly the way you want to go.

Colored coils

Spiral coil has a lot of advantages, such as:

    • The books you bind in this style can wrap around completely, which is great for functionality. 


  • These types of books are also very durable, utilizing as they do (in most cases) four holes per inch of paper (also known as a 4:1 pitch ratio), with a spine that winds through all of the pages. This will help to ensure that pages won’t tear from your documents, and if you add a laminated cover and/or pages, you are looking at a booklet that will stand the test of time and that can be handled by a lot of people and stay together. This is why you often see large and busy restaurants using the spiral coil system for their menus.


2. What Type Of Coil? In general, you will have much better luck using plastic coils rather than the metal types that you often see in school notebooks. Another benefit to plastic coil is that it comes in a wide selection of colors to match your project.


When you start looking around at different spines, you will notice that there are a few different types out there.

    • For one, there is the standard plastic coil that either can be inserted by hand or by a machine. 


    • If you go this route, make note that you will be a lot more successful if you purchase some crimping pliers to make sure that your spine stays put. 


  • Winding the spine by hand is certainly doable, but if you value your sanity, you don’t want to find yourself hand-winding a large number of books. GBC makes what is called the Proclick spine, which can be found in several different colors and sizes, and more importantly, can be easily reopened and closed if you need to take pages out and replace them (this is also known as editability. GBC also provides a system they call ZipBind, which are fairly similar to ProClick in that they are also easily editable. Last but not least, there is a company called Komtrak that makes what they call the Inspiral Info-Bind that easily winds through properly punched paper and features a plastic clip that goes in the end of the coil binding spine and makes sure that the spine stays in place and makes the booklet easily editable as well.


3. What Kind of Paper? If you are truly committed to machineless binding, you will have to find paper that has already been punched in the style of binding that you have chosen.

Punched Paper

If you are using a standard size coil, you will want to order paper that had been punched in a 4:1 pitch ratio. This is what you will find the most readily available. Some of the other styles mentioned above use paper that has been punched in different, sometimes proprietary styles. Just make sure that your hole pattern matches the pine you are using, and the rest is a piece of cake.

Watch the video to learn more about the Proclick Spine method.


Transcript: Welcome to MyBinding video. This is everything you need to know about ProClick spines. There are few different sizes, ranging from 5/16” to 5/8”. With a larger size, you can fit up to 125 pages into your book. They come in a standard 11” length but there’s also a half size, 8.5”. A nice thing about this binding is that it lays flat. Not only that but it even lays back to back. The best part is that you can edit it anywhere, with or without the tool. To close it, pinch the end of the tool and swipe. To open it, slide the other end through. There are a few machines out there to do this for you too. They have the 3:1 pitch punch pattern, which means there are 32 holes exactly like the 3:1 twin loop wire. You can even use the same punching machine. With all its convenience, it’s only sold in a few colors. And that is the ProClick spines. For more demos, reviews and how-to’s, go to MyBinding.com.

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