As a homeschooling parent, you’ve likely encountered the need to bind your children’s workbooks and books to keep everything organized and prevent papers from flying everywhere. Fortunately, there are several cost-effective DIY binding methods you can explore. In this article, we’ll delve into 10 different ways to bind homeschool books at home, catering to various preferences and budgets.
There are lots of options when it comes to choosing a homeschooling curriculum format. I prefer ebooks, PDFs, and digital formats when possible, which results in a lot of prints. I wrote about these and how I chose the cheapest option available when it comes to curriculum.
Now it’s time to talk about binding.
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I’ll cover 10 ways to bind homeschool books at home ranging from the cheapest to the most expensive. For some, you might even have the necessary tools in your home. ❤️
Of course, you can do the printing and binding at a copy-center nearby, but this article is for those among us that have no print-center around or that just want to so it themselves.
1. Bind Small Homeschool Books with Staple and Tape
Easily create small manageable readers for your kids using the staple and tape method.
Ideal for one-time-use books, this method is both cost-effective and simple. Just staple the pages together and cover the staples with tape to prevent little fingers from getting hurt.
Washi tape adds a decorative touch, but any tape works. It’s an excellent solution for binding few-page textbooks or readers without much hassle or expense
2. Punch and Twine Binding
Another easy way to bind homeschool books at home is to punch 2 holes (or 4) and just tie twine through them. It won’t look the prettiest but it does the job.
You can use this to bind worksheets or all kinds of papers that your kids worked on and you want to keep.
While it may not be the most aesthetically pleasing, it’s highly effective for keeping less frequently used materials organized. It’s a practical choice for documents that need a simple, functional binding solution.
I’ve been using it for daily things I don’t care much about, like daily planner pages, or note pages.
3. Binder Clips for Loose Pages
Binder clips are my go-to for a quick binding solution, especially for my kid’s worksheets and notes.
I absolutely adore the colorful ones with smiley faces – they add a fun and personal touch to the mundane task of organizing papers. However, even the classic black binder clips do the trick.
They are particularly perfect for securing art projects since they don’t damage the paper. These clips offer a flexible, easy-to-use binding option that can be effortlessly changed or removed, making them a practical choice for temporary or evolving needs.
4. Binding Bars for Fast Binding
The fastest way to bind anything is with binding bars.
I use these for all the temporary worksheets or things that won’t get used long-term, like PDFs for an online class.
They won’t hold the papers as well as other methods discussed here, so don’t use them if you need to hold together a lot of pages.
The good thing about these is that you can reuse them and they look great!
5. Folders with Prongs
Another quick way of binding workbooks is just punching the papers and storing them into folders with prongs. This is great for storing papers too.
I like using the Plus Japan expandable folders and some plastic index sheets to split the workbooks into weeks. It works great.
You can use plastic index sheets to create various tabs for separate subjects or areas of study.
6. Ring Binders
7. Pre-punched Paper and Plastic Coils
To hand-bind with a spiral coil, all you need to do is twist the spiral through the holes and keep twisting until it’s all the way through, the use scissors to cut it and pliers to twist the ends in so it doesn’t uncoil.
How cool and easy is that!
Just make sure that your printer works with these pre-punched papers before buying.
Another aspect to keep in mind when buying these and the coils is the pitch size! Make sure both the paper and the coil are made with the same pitch.
The suggestions I give in my links are compatible.
8. Plastic Comb Binding
This is the binding technique we’ve been using for several years now. It requires the following elements:
It’s the cheapest type of binding, a great investment, and it saves you a lot of trouble.
To see our old binding machine and how we use it, read more about it in my 3 Best Tools for Homeschooling.
I bound all our homeschooling books like this for several years and it’s been very practical and easy.
-easy to use
-doesn’t open 360°
-some pages could slip off (I used superglue on the daily workbooks)
9. Coil and Spiral Binding
These are the next level!
The wire or spiral bindings look more elegant and they allow you to turn the book 360 degrees, making it easy to work on.
Spiral and wire binding is the technique we upgraded to this year and so far I love it!
You will need the following (make sure the pitch here is 3:1!)
- coil binding machine (works with both spiral and metal coils)
Read more details below and see the video to see how it works.
-can use both wire coils and plastic spirals
-can open 360°
10. Thermal Binding
If you want professional-looking books, then thermal binding is for you.
These books will have (almost) the feel of store-bought books.
I don’t think you can go beyond this with binding at home, but if you know of something even better, let me know in the comments.
My Favorite Binding Machine – The Wire and Spiral Binder
I previously wrote about our binding machine here but this year I decided to upgrade from plastic coils to spiral binding, so I upgraded our binder.
You can see the comparison between the two binders I own below. I prefer the spiral binder, even if I have to manually add the spirals because my machine isn’t automatic. (Watch the video at the end to see how I do that).
If you wish for an automatic way to insert spiral coils, get the Coilbind S-15. It even has an electric coil inserter so you won’t have to do it manually like I have to. But this machine won’t work with metal coils. This electric machine has a pitch of 4:1 so pick the coils accordingly!
I love the new binder I have because:
- I can use it for both spiral binding or wire binding!
- It punches 15 pages at once as compared to 12 in the comb binder
- I can open the book 360 degrees.
The downside of these machines is that they are more expensive and heavier than the plastic comb binders.
Here’s a comparison for the comb and spiral-bound books.
And because I’ve mentioned that our machine can use both spiral and wire binders, here’s how a wire binding looks like:
Some Extras and Advice
When you buy your machine, make sure you buy the matching coils or combs.
For coils, you have to check the pitch of the machine and get matching coils, whether they are metal or plastic spirals. The most common are 3:1 and 4:1 pitch. The pitch is just the pacing of the holes and it means holes per inch.
You also have to pay attention to the size. There are various sizes of coils and combs for different numbers of pages. To choose the right size, think about what books you want to bind and make an average of their pages. I always pick different sizes from 16mm to 30 mm. These are usually covering most of my binding needs.
You will need to purchase some sort of covers for your books. This is optional, but they protect your book. For the front cover, you can use transparent foil and for the back cover you casn use cardstock.
Here’s the video I made for this post:
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