Handmade Notebooks (tutorial)


One of the things I’ve wanted to learn more about has been bookbinding, so on Christmas Day, during that lull after the presents and big meal, I sat down with paper and thread in order to attempt to make a small notebook. My first attempt didn’t go so well, since my lacing on the spine was far too loose, but the next morning I made this notebook (more successfully).
Want to give it a go? You’ll need:
– 30 sheets of standard printing paper (8 1/2 x 11 will do just fine! if you want another size notebook, feel free to use different sizes of paper.)
– a large needle or a small leather awl. something that pokes a sizable hole
– craft floss or embroidery floss (I like the craft floss better)
– a piece of card stock that is the height of your page (i.e. for 8 1/2 x 11 paper, you’ll need it to be 8 1/2)
– a piece of cardboard for a cover template
– two pieces of handmade paper or decorative card stock for the covers
– craft glue, scissors, pencil, ruler





Begin by dividing your 30 sheets of paper into stacks of 5 and folding each stack in half. You should have six. You can do less, but start out with a maximum of 30 for now (unless you are incredibly ambitious).



Create a template. You’ll need to cut and fold the piece of card stock for the hole template, and poke holes in it with your needle. I have four pairs of holes in mine, as shown above.


Use the template to poke holes in your stacks of 5pcs of paper. This ensures that each sheaf of paper has holes that match.



Now, thread your needle and stitch each sheaf together. The small stitches should be on the outside of the fold, while the inside should have the longer stitches (see the next picture for an example of the inside).



Knot the end of the thread to itself on the last pair of holes. Repeat for the other side of the thread. Dab your knot with glue and let dry.



Whew, you’ve finished with the individual sheafs! Give yourself a pat on the back. Now, make sure that your outside stitches line up, and put the sheafs aside.



Take your piece of cardboard and one of the individual sheafs. Trace the sheaf onto the cardboard. Put the sheaf aside. You’ll need to measure 1/4th of an inch extra around the tracing on all four sides (I did 1/2 on two sides, as shown above). Otherwise, your cover will not cover the book pages.



Cut out your template, and use it to trace and cut from your two cover pages. I used two pieces of handmade paper for the cover, but you can use anything that’s thicker than normal printer paper. (Just a warning, cardboard is difficult to poke holes through.)



Take your two covers, and use the hole template to mark where you should poke your holes. It should leave between 1/8th and 1/4th of an inch of extra space. (ignore the second set of holes on the right page in the above picture!)



(unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of this next step). Use your needle and floss, and thread a strand through each set of stitches on your six sheafs, as well as your covers. I go through each “stitch” twice in order to catch both holes on each cover.
When you are finished stitching the sheafs together, you can leave the cover as-is, or you can use the floss to create a decorative binding by using the holes on the covers. (At this point, feel free to experiment!)


Trim your floss, glue your knots, and you’re finished!



{I’ve developed a tutorial for creating a spine! Head this way for part 2.)

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