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Bookbinding 101: Headbands or Endbands

Do you see the endband on this book?

Do you see the endband on this book?

If you don't already know about headbands on books, you just might always notice them on books from here on out.

Headbands are found at the very top of the spine of a book. If the book has a covered spine, then the headbands can be found between the text block and the material covering the spine.

Let's talk terminology for just a second. The book has a head and a tail at either end of the spine. Headband refers to only the one side. I'm not sure when the change occurred but some people nowadays call them endbands. I prefer the term "endbands" because we aren't leaving out the tail end. It's more fair that way.

Do you see the endband on this book?Do you see the endband on this book?Do you see the endband on this book?Do you see the endband on this book?

Faux endbands can be purchased by the foot or yard. Cut to the width of the book spine and glue on, with the glue being applied only to the linen or cotton tape portion of the endband—the light colored fabric portion seen in the above image is either linen or cotton tape which the faux endband is sewn onto.

Faux endbands can be purchased by the foot or yard. Cut to the width of the book spine and glue on, with the glue being applied only to the linen or cotton tape portion of the endband—the light colored fabric portion seen in the above image is either linen or cotton tape which the faux endband is sewn onto.


Originally, endbands were created not primarily for decoration but as part of the sewing structure to strengthen the binding of the book, and the endband's good looks were a bonus. So, traditional endbands are actually sewn onto the ends of the text block before the cover is put on, binding the ends of the pages together along the spine. Today though, you can purchase or make your own faux endbands to add to your books. The faux endbands do give added support to the structure, because it is glued in place, acting as a tape to help hold things together, but support might just be secondary to their decorative purpose. Even if people don't consciously notice them, it gives a subtle, finished look.

 

There are different materials, styles and sizes of endbands. If you are making a small book, like on the "booklace" shown below, then you'll need size 0.

For this 1.5" tall book I used a size 0 end band.

For this 1.5" tall book I used a size 0 end band.

For a larger book use a size 2 or 3 endband. For this 8" x 10" book, Daniel used a size 3 end band.

For a larger book use a size 2 or 3 endband.

For this 8" x 10" book,
Daniel used a size 3 end band.

We buy our endbands from Talasonline.com because we buy them in bulk and it's less expensive that way, but you can also buy them from Hollanders.com.

Sewing your own end bands

Here are some great tutorials from fellow bookbinders: