How to Rebind Your Bible (DIY Easy Steps)

If a Bible sits handily on your coffee table or tucked on a bookshelf, chances are it is one of the most read and precious books in your library. You may even have several copies or versions of the Bible. But don’t you have a favorite? What does it take to rebind your Bible?

How to Rebind Your Bible

Table of Contents

The best starting place to rebind your Bible is to assess its condition and what needs to be replaced. This is important so that all of the right supplies are handy the moment you get started. 

My Favorite Bible

My favorite old Bible is about three decades old: a Thompson Chain Reference Bible. That old leather cover Bible holds precious notes from one of the most significant spiritual growth seasons of my Christian journey. It is truly precious.

About ten years ago, the black leather original cover began to separate from the binding. I grabbed some pink duct tape and taped it back together right smack through the book of Amos. And then added a pink duct tape simple cross on the cover. Stylish, right? Not the most beautiful restoration work upon closer look, to say the least.

My 30+ year old Bible

I still use that Bible with the duct-taped old cover almost daily, but it no longer leaves my home. I have a more compact Bible that I take to church. Study Bibles that I use in Bible class. And even a small Bible when I travel to teach from Scripture. But now I want to rebind that precious Bible.

If you are doing some heavy turning of those thin pages in your Bible (a wonderful discipline), it’s no surprise that even a well-bound Bible will show its share of wear and tear. However, commissioning a Bible rebinding company to professionally repair it with a premium Bible cover can get costly.

The cost can vary depending on the bible size, the weight leather you desire, the grain pattern, lighter leather vs. faux leather, and even the corner work. There is a full menu of options for this beautiful work. To save all of that cost, YOU can do it!

Enduring Word bible

What Are Your Options?

Now that you have determined that the binding is breaking down, you have three options to choose from. First, you can just ignore it — like an ostrich with its head in the sand, so to speak. You just keep reading your Bible until it becomes almost unreadable and then decide what to do.

Second, you can go ahead and replace your current Bible immediately, which you would have had to do even if you had let it fall apart completely. There are affordable paperback editions out there, but those are usually made with cut-rate material and do not last long. And a new Bible with a hardcover — in fact, most hardcover books — can get expensive.

Third, you can download an e-book edition if you’re willing to read Scripture on an e-reader device or tablet. I have downloaded free Bible apps to refer to on the road rather than incurring the additional charge of an e-book. However, I prefer to hold a physical book and make notes in my own Bible. The last time Moses carried a tablet, his hair went gray. Just saying.

Maybe your favorite Bible is a family heirloom that you want to last for years and years of service. You inherited a loved one’s personal Bible, and had hoped to pass it along to your child, one of their children, and so on down the line.

So rather than replace your Bible outright, why not repair it to give it a new life? It is not as hard as you might think. In fact, you can purchase complete Bible rebinding kits that include all the supplies you need.

Rebinding your Bible to make it look and read like new will allow you to preserve a treasured heirloom and continue to enjoy it with peace of mind. And almost anyone can do a great job on minor repairs.

Keep or Replace the Cover?

Here is a step-by-step guideline that you can follow. The first step is to remove the cover. The cover of a Bible can be almost as important to its owner as the text within. While your binding may be failing, the cover may still be intact.

You can certainly improve your Bible’s cover with genuine leather, imitation leather, or even lamb skin, but many people who rebind their books prefer to keep the original covers. Use a dull knife, bone folder, or other such instruments to gently pry the binding from the cover.

If you intend to replace the cover as part of your project, make sure to take proper measurements (including the width of the spine) to ensure that it will fit the book block identically. If there is an additional leather liner, be sure to measure that as well.

Luther Bible

Realign the Book Block

The collected pages of a book are called a book block. If the failing binding has compromised the integrity of the spine causing detached pages within your Bible, hopefully, you have saved those loose pages to reincorporate during the Bible repair process.

Gather these pages and make sure that they are all present and in the correct order. I mean, you don’t want one of the Gospels sneaking between Genesis and Exodus. Once in order, use tools or many taps on a hard surface to align the pages perfectly flush.

Hebrew scrolls

Remove the Old Glue

It’s simply a reality: adhesive substances such as glue and tape lose their stickiness over time. In dealing with an older edition of the Bible, chances are the glue in the spine has grown quite dry and crumbly since its initial binding.

As you restore the needed integrity of your Bible’s spine, the integrity of the new treatment depends on removing as much of the old treatment as possible. Kind of like dusting a surface before painting it. A utility knife comes in handy to scrape off any remaining glue, which at this point should not put up much of a fight.

Old Testament Bible

Apply Book Repair Tape

Quality book repair tape will restore even the widest spines back to full strength. As technology and chemistry advance, longer-lasting alternatives to book-binding glue are available. However, the tape takes the place of glue and spine cloth that are prone to breaking down over the years.

Not only is tape a stronger choice, but it’s also less work than building a new spine and trying to glue it into place. Firmly anchor your book between two flat and heavy objects such as bricks, spine-side-up, and carefully apply your book repair tape to the spine of the book block.

leather journal

Reset the Cover

If you chose to keep your cover, carefully put it back into place beginning at the spine. An important note: if your cover is made of real leather, do not protect it with a Mylar cover. This will trap moisture between the cover and its protection. Over time, that trapped moisture will degrade the leather and eventually necessitate the outright replacement you are working to avoid.

If you are not able to salvage the cover of your Bible, you will need to build a new cover with cardboard for the front cover, back cover, and spine, as well as linen or leather for the exterior rebinding process.

Book Covers

Repair Option for the Non-DIYer

While rebinding a Bible (or any book) might be an intuitive process for many reading enthusiasts, the care and precision required for rebinding are not for everyone.

If you don’t trust yourself to tackle the rebinding of a treasured family Bible on your own, you can find professional Bible restoration services that will take care of this task on your behalf.

You may even know someone who does rebinding work of the highest quality as a side business. You can certainly requisition a custom Bible cover to be made with custom leather, as well. The options are nearly limitless.


Bottom Line

Hopefully, with this information and the right supplies, you will soon find yourself in possession of a good-as-new Holy Bible courtesy of your own two hands. I also found that YouTube has many videos that can guide you along the way.

While rebinding your Bible to make it look like new can be hard work, the work is worth it in order to preserve a beautiful heirloom. You do not have to be content allowing the ravages of time to get in the way of passing your Bible on through multiple generations.

If you enjoy restoring your Bible, and it is not the only antique book in your library, you can apply these same principles to any well-worn, much-loved book in your collection. Happy rebinding!

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About the Author
Although Donna is a sought-after Bible teacher, her path from being unchurched to becoming passionate about sharing Jesus was not easy. Go here to read her God-breathed journey, “From Unchurched to Becoming a Multi-Published Author and Sought-After Speaker.” If you want to send Donna a quick message, then visit her contact page here.

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