3 Easy Ways To Punch Holes on a Book Signature

December 20, 2023
3 Easy Ways To Punch Holes on a Book Signature
Published on  Updated on  

Punching holes on a book signature? Psh, easy!


Or so you thought…


Sometimes, it gets pretty challenging. The markings are wrong, signatures are off-center, and you just keep redoing. For a first timer, that’s a learning curve. If you’re doing it for a project or a business, that may be just a waste of time.


So, is there an easy way to punch holes on book signatures?


The answer is yes! There are many different ways to do it and in this article, we’ll show you how! 


  1. Use a punching tool


The easiest way to do it is find a helpful tool that is designed for this specific purpose, of course! In this case, it’s the Signature Punching Tool for Bookbinding


This helps prepare all of the signatures of a book in an identical manner.  With the assistance of this cradle, the sewing holes will align precisely with the top and bottom of the sheet or section, ensuring consistent placement.





Punching tools like this one come in different lengths, have demarcations for different measurements, and the holes are numbered for easy identification. Plus, Wilbur’s Finest’s Signature Punching Tool now has a new and improved design! It’s now wider, shorter, and heavier to ensure stability and durability.


Here’s how to use it:




1. Use a bookbinding awl

If you watched the video above, you’ll see that the user used another punching instrument other than the signature punching tool. It’s called the bookbinding awl. 


Bookbinding awls are essential tools in bindery which helps punch holes through paper and cardboard. It consists of two parts: a sharp needle and a handle, usually made of wood. You’ll find a lot of different sizes; some are big and small, thin and thick. 


This tool is pretty straightforward to use. Point the sharp ends onto the marked areas of the paper, book, or punching tool and apply pressure until the needle goes through the paper. 


Watch this video by Indigo Crafts to learn exactly how to do it, plus other ways to punch holes using different alternatives!





2. Use a template

Lastly, if you don’t have a signature punching tool and bookbinding awls within reach right now, you can always use a template! This can be done using tools you have at home and it’s also a sure way to get accurate measurements for even spacing.


You’ll need the following materials:


  •  A long strip of paper that’s about the same size as your book and approximately 1 inch or less (this may be recycled paper)
  •  Pencil 
  •  Ruler 
  •  Compass tool, push pin, needle or something similar
  •  Cutting mat or a thick old book


Check out the instructions below to know how to make and use your own book signature template!


Step 1: Make your paper template.

To make your book signature template, get a long strip of paper and fold it lengthwise at the center. Then, using your pencil and ruler, mark *6 equally spaced holes along the folded line.

*Quick tip: take the length of your book and divide it by 7.





Step 2: Punch holes.

Lay your book on  your cutting mat, and your paper template on top of that. Then, start punching holes using your compass tool. Another alternative for a cutting mat is an old book. Open it and use the center to be your guide as you punch holes. Just make sure that it’s an old book you don’t mind punching holes on!


Here’s a video for visual reference: 




That’s basically it! You can then proceed to the next step and finish binding your books!




Photo by Eugenia Remark
Photo by Eugenia Remark



What makes punching holes challenging is getting measurements right and making sure signatures are centered every time. With these three easy methods and bookbinding tools, you’re on your way to finish binding all those books in no time! 

Published on  Updated on