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 Homeschool Books with Staple and Tape
There are a lot of websites where you get free readers for your kids, like Progressive Phonics. Their books are more of a textbook style but you could make little readers out of them for kids that feel overwhelmed with a lot of pages in front of them.
So investing a lot in printing and binding readers that are just a few pages long and will just be used once or twice isn’t worth it.
The staples can hurt little fingers though, that’s why you can use tape to secure the book and avoid injuries.
It’s very easy to do, you just staple the edges of the paper then use the tape to cover them.
I used washi tape for this one to cover the back of the staples, but you can use any type of tape.
2. Punch and Tie
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 even bind worksheets or all kinds of papers that your kids worked on and you want to keep.
So this technique is best for things you want to keep organized, not stuff that you use regularly.
I’ve been using it for daily things I don’t much care about, like daily planner pages, or note pages.
3. Binder Clips
A quick way to bind those worksheets or notes is to use binder clips.
I love the ones that come with smiley faces and in all colors but even the regular black ones will do.
This is a perfect way to bind art without spoiling it, too.
4. Binding Bars
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 and such.
They won’t hold the papers as well as other methods discussed here, so don’t use them for 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
I’ve tried to love ring binders but we have a love-hate relationship. They work great for some families.
I can’t make them work for us, but they are a great, cheap, reusable solution.
We are using them this year to do our IEW work but some papers always find their way outside of the binder.
Next year, we will just stick to using notebooks for composition.
7. Pre-punched Paper and Plastic Coils
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 headaches.
To see our old binding machine and how we use it, read more here.
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 techinque 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 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.
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 spiral binding or wire binding!
- It punches 15 pages at once as compared to 12 like the previous one
- When I opem the books I bind, there’s no gap (the comb bount book won’t open fully). They turn 360 degrees.
- I can use both wire and spirals to bind the books, so I have 2 options for binding
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. Pull the slider up and down to see them better. The blue binding is comb and the transparent one spiral.
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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