Binding and folding

Talk to about your options for binding and folding.


We can offer a huge range of print binding and paper folding styles, provided in-house or via our trusted supplied network. There are dozens of ways of putting a book or brochure together, and some of the most popular are listed below. We can also offer exotic bindings like uncovered open sewn books, interscrews, side stitching and heavy pasted board covers. We can suggest novel methods and bespoke combinations. Just ask!

Flat spine with a soft cover

Books and booklets more than 2mm thick can be bound with a flat spine, with the cover creased and drawn around the text pages. To help you make the right choice, we can explain the pros and cons of techniques including perfect binding, PUR binding, signature sewing, Swiss binding and OTA binding. Considerations such as lay-flat properties, durability and cost all come in to the equation.

Wire stitches

For books, brochures and booklets up to about 4mm thick, one or two wire stitches – stronger than office staples – make for a neat and low cost binding method. The booklet can be made with one weight of paper or with a heavier cover. You can add throwouts or flaps. The stitches can be flat, or looped for filing in a ring binder. Wire can be plain steel, coloured or metallic brass. They can be ‘saddlestitched’ into the spine, or ‘stab stitched’ through the side of a block of pages.

Hardback books, boxes and cases

There are several ways to bind a hardback book. In the trade, we call it ‘case binding’, because the book block is bound first before being attached to the hard outer case with glued endpapers. The case is usually about 3mm thick, extending 3mm beyond the text block. It can be lined with printed paper, or with foil blocked, textured material. We can add bookmark ribbons or decorative head and tail bands. Ask to see examples, and get us to explain the options!

The technique for making casebound books – an inner and outer liner of cloth or paper, pasted over heavy board – is also used for making slipcases, tray-and-lid or hinged boxes, which protect and enhance printed books and other desirable objects.

Thread sewn booklets

For luxury effect, instead of wire stitches, slimmer booklets can be spine sewn with strong thread in a variety of colours, using an industrial strength version of the domestic Singer sewing machine. Or the pages can be pierced with a strong needle in three or more places and ‘loop sewn’. Japanese-style thread sewing offers even more artisanal effects.

Leporello and other special folds

A leporello is a long concertina or accordion pleated fold, either done as one piece or several pieces tipped on to each other, for extra length. It’s a Calverts speciality.

The name comes from manservant Leporello in Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni, when he unfolds a shockingly long list of his master’s conquests.

We can crease and fold sheets of paper or board in any direction, including diagonals, map folding (multiple concertinas, then in half on the short edge), cross folds and Z-cards.

Postcard books

Postcard books are another Calverts speciality. Individual cards are printed and collated before being edge bound with  low-tack padding glue onto a strip of Mull cloth. Black, white or coloured tape is then wrapped round the spine, before the book is trimmed to size. Cards can be removed singly from the book, without nasty adhesive stickies.

Our postcard books can be any size, although they’re usually produced at A6 size (105 x 148mm). The minimum number of cards is 16 and maximum 60, including front and back cover cards.

Combs and spirals

These techniques are often used for books that need to lie open flat, like manuals and cookbooks. Small holes are punched close to the spine edge. Then a spiral or a double wire comb is threaded through the holes. It’s sometimes called ‘Wire-O’, after the leading brand. The bound edge can be exposed, partly concealed (‘half Canadian’) or fully concealed (‘full Canadian’). Ask us how!

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