Projects to Make with an In-home or Small Office Thermal Binding Machine

I bought a thermal binding machine, used it for a few weeks, then realized it will never be used again unless I sell it, give it away or get creative. Here’s a few suggestions for those of you who may be looking for some crafty projects to do with binding.


It’s easy to think of crafty things to do with kids. If you leave it up to them, they will come up with their own creations just fine. Give them the paper and let them make their own books. Supplies may include: markers, crayons, a computer with a color printer, decorative details they may want to include on their paper (such as gluing sequence around a border). They create the paper and you bind it into a book. It’s really that simple. And fun.

You can also make books for little ones by drawing or using a computer and printer. One idea is to create a book of shapes, colors, numbers or whatever you may be working on with a child. Older children can also benefit by creating a book of math problem for them to practice. It is possible to make it fun and colorful-and don’t forget to personalize it with their name and favorite things.

Scrap Books and Picture Albums

While on the topic of crafts and color, deviate a bit from the traditional scrapbooks and picture albums by creating your own to bind. Pictures can be digitally reproduced or glued and taped onto paper. This makes labeling easy and cheaper if you choose to do it by computer.

Did your kids join a softball or baseball team this summer? Capture all the great plays on your camera then plug them into their very own specialized album-that you made. What kid wouldn’t want to display the 2006 ball season?!

Or how about those Christmas photos you still have in your camera or stuffed away in a drawer? Pull them out and display the memories all in one place-with your handiwork.


There can be almost any type of journal as far as the imagine will flow. Personal journals, gratitude journals, travel journals. . . . Again, you get the idea with pictures, drawings or whatever else you use to be creative. Make it your own.


Surprising someone with an 8 1/2″x11″ birthday card may seem unconventional, but the memories will last. Magazine pages are a great way to decorate these.


The main use for a thermal binding machine is for creating business presentations and portfolios. It makes a clean, well-manicured copy that is professional and acceptable in the office. Whether for work, school or home, these presentation models do look nice and crisp.


Paper: non-glossy paper works best because some glossy surfaces do not glue well when bound. I have found that if you intermix glossy with regular non-glossy paper, it works just fine.

Machines: the type of machine for the projects above uses specially patented thermal binding folders. The glue is in the spine. The folder sits in the machine after it is heated up and melts the glue around the pages. Then the folder goes on a cooling rack. The whole process-from heating the machine to binding-takes only a few minutes. Most machines bind in about 30 seconds. Another kind of binding machine uses a material glue strip, but these machines are typically much more expensive, usually starting out at $400.

Cost: a machine that takes thermal binding folders, or covers, costs $100 and up. The folders typically cost just over $1 each and usually come in a box of 25. Common spine dimensions are 1/8″, 1/4″ and 1/2″. An 1/8″ spine will hold 33 pages, a 1/4″ spine 65 pages, and a 1/2″ spine 130 pages.

Where to buy: the web is the best place to find and compare machines. A search engine will bring up sites for you. One note here: if you are looking for a professional machine which binds books with a cover, you will have to buy these from a dealer and the cost is as professional as you can get at over $4,000. For a personal home or small office machine like the one used for the projects listed above, try sites like or order one from a local supply store.

Create memories, have fun and make projects with your kids that will last. Used regularly, the investment is worth the cost.

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