Bookbinding may seem like a simple hobby, but it requires a lot of care and dedication in order to create a well-made, sustainable notebook. In addition to your skills and craftsmanship, you will need quality materials and tools to help you get the job done.
One material that’s quite important but often overlooked is bookbinding boards. These are thick cardboard pieces that make up the covers of your notebooks, but you don’t often see them because they are usually wrapped under a paper or cloth layer.
So, what are the best bookbinding boards? The best bookbinding boards are made of high-quality, thick, and durable binder’s board or chipboard. It should also be of archival quality, meaning acid-free and long-lasting.
Choosing the right bookbinding boards can give your notebook the right aesthetic, plus the right boards will help protect the paper inside and maintain the longevity of your notebooks.
In this article, we will walk you through how to select the right boards for bookbinding and help you find the best binder boards for your next project.
What to Know When Buying Bookbinding Boards
Choosing the right bookbinding boards seems pretty straightforward; after all, you just need a thick, sturdy piece of board that can be cut to the size of your notebook, right?
However, if you want your notebook to look good and stay new for a while, here are some of the things you should consider when buying bookbinding boards.
Bookbinding boards come in various sizes and thicknesses. You can always cut your bookbinding boards to fit the size of your notebook, but when it comes to the thickness, you will need to know how to read the dimensions and select the right one.
Most bookbinding boards use the sign “pt” to indicate the thickness of the boards. Each pt is equal to 0.001″, which you can imagine is very thin. Board thickness can range from 20 pt (.02″) to 100 pt (0.1″). Some brands even use “caliber” as a unit of measurement for thickness, but it means the same thing as pt.
Depending on your project, you will want to select the right thickness that compliments your notebook. For example, if you have a thick, structured notebook with a lot of pages, you will need a thicker piece of bookbinding board.
On the other hand, a thinner bookbinding board will pair well with a light and delicate notebook. If you are unsure about the thickness, you should go for, picking a thickness between 40 to 60 pt will be the safest option.
This is a medium-weight for bookbinding board that will fit with almost every type of bookbinding project, and beginners will be able to work with them without having to buy professional equipment for cutting or hole-punching.
When it comes to material, you can choose from a binder’s board or chipboard.
Binder’s board is specifically designed for notebook covers. It is made from pressing damp wood pulp together using a strong hydraulic press so that the pulp sticks together without any kind of adhesive. Because of this construction, binder boards are often very dense and sturdy.
Chipboard is a type of synthetic wood made from recycled fiber, with various weights and densities. The type of chipboard sold as bookbinding boards are usually lighter and less dense, but you can find chipboards that are very thick and dense, which are often referred to as particle boards and used to make affordable furniture.
Since both the chipboard and binder board have similar densities and various thicknesses, it is highly recommended that you choose the type of bookbinding board with the size and the thickness that you need and consider the material as a supporting factor.
You will often find bookbinding boards that are acid-free, which means the material was processed without any acids involved—being acid-free means that the material can last 200 to 1,000 years longer without breaking down or even yellowing. This allows your notebooks to really stand the test of time.
You can specifically look for acid-free options, but it doesn’t have to be a priority when choosing a bookbinding board. After all, you probably don’t want your notebooks to last 200 years. Since the bookbinding boards will likely be covered with a cloth or paper, yellowing is probably not a big concern either.
Best Bookbinding Boards
|Lineco Binder's Board
|Acid-free, 79 pt, 4 pack
|CFS Products Chipboard
|Recycled, 22 pt, trimmable, 100 sheets
|Grafix Medium Weight
|57 pt, recycled, 25 sheets
|Logic Dealz Kraft Heavy-Duty Chipboard Sheets
|70 pt chipboard, recycled, sturdy
|ThunderBolt Paper Chipboard
|Several sizes, recycled, 46pt, 25 boards
1. Lineco Binder’s Board
This Lineco Binder’s Board is the most popular choice for bookbinders everywhere, thanks to its reliability and quality.
This particular option comes with 4 binder boards that are 15″ by 20.5″ each, which can be used to bind large sketchbooks or easily cut into smaller pieces to bind small notebooks.
This binder’s board is acid-free with a neutral pH, so you know it will last you a long time without breaking down.
The thickness of this binder’s board is 79 pt (.079″), which is on the thicker side when it comes to bookbinding boards. However, if you have a thick, structured notebook that requires a thick and sturdy cover, this binder’s board is the right option for you.
2. CFS Products Chipboard
If you want a green option that uses 100% recycled materials, this chipboard can ease all of your environmental concerns.
This chipboard is 8.5″ by 11″ (Letter size), which is the most common size for US paper, which means you can easily find paper inserts of the same size to make sketchbooks without having to cut the chipboard.
Alternatively, if you want to use letter size paper to make signatures, you can easily cut this chipboard in half to achieve the right size without having to measure anything.
This chipboard is 22 pt in thickness, which is a thin size for a bookbinding board that will be the most suitable for lightweight notebooks with a low page count. This weight also means it will be easier for you to cut, fold, and punch holes in the boards during the bookbinding process.
This product, in particular, comes with 100 sheets of chipboard, which is a great investment if you are serious about your bookbinding hobby or are binding a lot of notebooks and sketchbooks to sell.
3. Grafix Medium Weight
This Graffix medium-weight chipboard if you are looking for something thin enough to be easily cut and hole-punched but thick and sturdy enough to support a medium-weight notebook.
This chipboard option is 57 pt thick. You can feel how sturdy it is when holding it, but it doesn’t make your notebook look too bulky.
If you have a medium-weight notebook and you are unsure about what thickness to go for, this chipboard is probably the safest option for you.
This chipboard is made from 100% recycled paper, and using it to create a new notebook is a great way to breathe new life into old paper while saving the environment from unnecessary waste. This chipboard is also acid-free, ensuring your creations’ durability and longevity.
This option comes with 25 sheets of chipboards, so you will have plenty of materials for your hobby or commercial bookbinding business. This is the perfect size for sketchbooks with thick pages, as well as half letter-size notebooks that need some structure.
4. Logic Dealz Kraft Heavy-Duty Chipboard Sheets
This kraft heavy-duty chipboard is another option that comes in US Letter size, but it is much thicker and sturdier than the regular sizes.
This chipboard is 70 pt (0.07″ or 1.27mm), which is considerably thicker than the other bookbinding board options – the thickness is equal to a quarter’s, so you can imagine how bulky it would look.
Each sheet weighs 1.7 oz, and we recommend this chipboard if you want a sturdy and dependable cover for a heavy book with a lot of pages. This option would not look great if you want a light and delicate notebook.
Since this chipboard is quite thick, you will want to use a heavy-duty cutting option, like a die-cutting machine or plotter, since hand-cutting may be time-consuming and even frustrating. Fortunately, this size is quite a popular size for US paper, so you can keep the size the same and bind an 8.5″ by 11″ notebook.
5. ThunderBolt Paper Chipboard
This chipboard from ThunderBolt paper comes in various versatile sizes, including 3″ by 5″, 4″ by 6″, 5.5″ by 8.5″, etc. So you don’t even have to worry about cutting the cover board to the correct size to fit your notebook.
This chipboard is made from 100% recycled paper, with a 46 pt (0.046″) thickness, which is a medium size for a bookbinding board. This bookbinding board option would work well with various notebook sizes and thicknesses, so you don’t have to spend too much time picking the right option.
This thickness is also quite easy to cut and punch holes when you bind your books, so you don’t have to invest in professional equipment to have a professional-looking notebook.
This particular offer comes in a pack of 25 bookbinding boards, which are enough to let you practice your bookbinding skills and even bind several notebooks to give to friends and family members or even to sell.