Chap Books Tutorial

by Jean Laverdiere

Chapbooks (also called “pamphlet books”) are typically created by students and contain collected types of poetry, their own poetry, or fiction. They measure 5 1/2 inches wide by 8 1/2 inches high.

You have all seen chapbooks. They are typically a standard sized sheet of paper folded in half with a staple binding.
The ones you have seen are used for theatre productions (ex: PlayBill), fairs, fundraising cook or recipe books, school handbooks.

Typically a fiction chapbook has 64 pages. This equals 18 sheets of paper folded in half creating 4 pages per folded sheet.

This sized book’s binding is usually glued and has a spine.


Simple and Easy Chapbook

What you will need:

5 sheets of paper (computer paper is fine)

Card stock for a cover

paper punch or long handled stapler

yarn, ribbon, floss, twine to bind the book together


Carefully fold the five sheets of computer paper in half (do one at a time) and place the folds together so that you have a single “signature” (what a group of pages are called).

Remove the first sheet. Lay flat and opened, fold crease facing up. Write the title on the right hand side of the paper. Leave this aside for a moment.

With your other pages, start numbering the bottom corners.

After you have numbered them, place the title page over the signature of 4 pages.

The Cover

Score the card stock down the center. You can use a dead ballpoint pen to create the score line.

Mark on the fold, 3 inches and six inches. This is where the punch holes are to go.

Using a regular paper punch, hold the punch over the fold so that it is half on the fold and half off. You will punch half a circle but because it is the fold, when you open it up, it is a full circle.


Using the punched holes on the cover card stock as a template, place the folded cover over each page and punch holes in the same manner as the cover.

Put your book pages back in order.

Using a 12 to 15 inches of yarn, ribbon, floss, twine, open the book up to the center fold.

Draw the ends of your yarn, ribbon, floss, twine through the holes so the ends are on the outside of the book.

Cross them over and then poke the ends through the inside of the book.

Cross over again, and bring the ends to the outside and tie.

Other Ideas:

If you have a long handled stapler, you can bind the book with 2 or three staples. If you use a stapler, remember, that pages can fall out if the staples are not tight and hugging the paper to keep them in place.

You can do a simple tying of material by inserting the yarn (or what ever you choose) inside the book bringing the ends to the outside and just tying it.

Do not tie your binding too tight or you will rip the pages or folds, and you cannot open your book easily. Remember to give it some slack for ease of movement.

You can paste poetry, phrases inside your book or you can use your computer to set up and print out pages and then assemble them properly. You will need to use 2 columns and put your page setting as “landscape”. You will need to know the page order so that you can type them up and they are in order when you put your book together. It is best if you create a proto type book with numbered pages if you are going to do use a computer word program.

If you use unnumbered pages and you have a random book, like just collecting poems or phrases, you can add pages to the book with a ribbon, yarn or the like binding.

Chapbooks can help stampers and scrappers if used to house glued down punchies or listing of supplies or ink pad colors with samples of the ink.

Last summer, I made my son a chapbook to use as a summer journal. We cut paper up into 3 by 3 inch squares and he drew pictures on them. We glued a picture to each page and he wrote a sentence underneath each picture.
These make nice travel journals for kids and they can decorate the covers with souvenirs from their travels.