Craft Product Review: YourStory Thermal Laminating and Book Binding System, Part 1: Binding


Our guest blogger today is Sara Carns who owns the “Sarah’s Never-Never La-La Land” blog. Take it away, Sara!

Hi there! I wanted to start off by saying how utterly excited I was when Jenny asked me to do a review for CraftTestDummies!  Thanks Jenny so much for this opportunity!  I hope you all enjoy the projects created for this review and don’t hesitate to ask any questions!

When I first saw the ProvoCraft bookbinder and laminator, my head was swirling with ideas!  I hauled my cookies off to the store when it first came out and purchased it with one of the pre-made kits, some laminating pouches and took it home with the best intentions in mind.  Upon taking it out of the box I noticed it’s extremely light-weight, which is a big positive, and there are only three operational buttons which makes things easy to understand.  Press the on switch and choose which option you would like to work with first.  When the machine is ready, the red power light will turn green, signaling you to start your creative engines!  There’s nothing you really need to put together, other than snapping a cooling piece onto the back of the machine which takes all of ten seconds.  So far, so good.

Once you turn the machine on however, a kind of burning metal and plastic smell permeates the room.  Smelly things like this don’t really bother me.  As you will find out later I love the smell of Tim Holtz’s grungeboard and grungepaper.  I’ve met many women that cannot STAND the smell of grungeboard and actually air it out before letting it into their house.

Let’s go into each of the main functions individually.  The binding mechanism works fairly well.  I like to do a full two “binding” sessions to ensure a good melting of the glue.

For a lot of us that look into the YourStory, we want to make our own lovely photo books that we see advertised everywhere these days at really expensive prices.  So, let’s explore the best way to make our own, shall we?  Our family goes to San Diego every summer on vacation.  I am honestly so behind with scrapbooking everything a photo book seemed like a great way to just “get it done,” if you know what I mean!  One nice thing about the YourStory right now is that the products are finally being sold at big box stores like Jo-Ann’s and Hobby Lobby.  I picked up one of the ProvoCraft 4×6 book covers and got to work on my photos.

You have two major options with the photos.  If you print at home, I highly suggest you buy some double-sided photo paper and using this.  You can buy it at your local office supply store.   This is going to save you a major step later in the process.  If you order your photo’s or print on one side of  paper, I’m going to show you what works best for me to putting your photos back to back.  I’ve tried using my Scotch ATG gun but unless you have a great eye and can get the adhesive all around the border, your photos will separate and look messy.  A Xyron Cheetah adhesive runner would work as well, but the refill cartridges are a bit expensive and you would be using quite a bit of it.  I use a brayer, and a glue stick.  Yup, I’m one of those weirdo’s that still uses a glue stick.

Frame the back side of one of your photos with glue stick , carefully place the other photo on top of it, lining them up as best you can, and then using a clean brayer, go over the photos well.  This will squeeze out any air between the photos and ensure a good stick.  I like using the glue stick because it has a bit of a give to it and I can slide the photos around until I get them properly lined up.  Once you have done this to all of your photos, place them inside of the book in order, making sure they all reach down to the glue line in the cover.

Make sure your machine is on and ready, place your book, binding down, into the top of the machine, press the “Bind” and wait until the machine beeps again for your book to be done.

Make sure you let it cool well, about 10-15 minutes, before picking up and handling.  You can add rub-ons or stamps heat-set with Ranger Archival ink for the cover and voila!  Handmade photo book at a quarter of the price!

Now I wondered if one could make their own books and binding?  I was on a mission.  I love Tim Holtz’s grungeboard, grungepaper and distress inks.  Any chance I can try and use them in a different way, I jump at it.

I made a small spine out of the grungepaper, since it is more pliable than grungeboard, inked it, wrapped and clipped it around a large paintbrush to create a track for the glue. I then  prepared the rest of my book.I attached the grungepaper spine to the grungeboard covers using a high temp hot glue.  You must move fast when doing this and not let the hot glue cool too much otherwise it will not hold the materials together.

Now use your glue gun to run a thick line of glue down the inside center of the spine, leaving a small space at the top and bottom.  Let this completely cool.

Now you’re ready to bind your book!

Place all of your pages inside the cover, place in machine and bind.  Remember, I like to do full cycles of binding to ensure that glue properly melts and seeps between the pages.  Let it fully cool off before handling it.  I’m pleasantly pleased.  The grungepaper on the spine tore just a bit (I might have been giddy and not let it cool completely before looking at it!) when I opened it and flipped through the first time, but I think it adds to the vintage-look of it all.  Now all I have to do is decorate the cover!

Tomorrow, I’ll move on to another of the YourStory’s functions: Laminating! Stay tuned…

About Jenny

Chief Craft Test Dummy, Craft Evangelist, Founder, Editor, bottle-washer, trouble-maker, and creative whirlwind.


  1. Cristi says

    Thanks for the info on making your on covers! Exactly what I was searching for.

  2. Debbie says

    excellent info about binding! I was looking for what adhesive 2 use with binding! Thank-you!!!!

  3. says

    Thank you soooo much for the tip on using hot glue on the spine of a homemade cover! I have been searching for info on this FOREVER!

  4. says

    I lost the instructions for my yourstory binder and have been looking for what adhesives could be used. Great to know a hot glue gun can be used. Thanks so much.

  5. Alok Tanna says

    This has been really a great info. I wanted to find out from where I can order more book covers ?

    Thanks in advance

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