Handmade Books Pt. 2: Binding/Spining {& giveaway}

For part one of this tutorial, head to this post. {link}

Part 1 of this tutorial ended with an open-bound notebook. My mom walked by when I was working on one of them (I’ve made quite a few to perfect these tutorials!and asked if I was going to create a spine. Now, I love the look of an open-bound notebook, but they look beautiful when you add a spine to them as well.
This takes a bit of extra time, and some extra paper, but the result is fabulous.


* You should have enough paper on both covers to fold over the spine area.
1. Start by finishing your initial binding, as outlined in Part 1.


2. Knot and trim your threads. Your notebook should look similar to the above picture.


3. Now, fold over one side of the paper to make a crease. Dab glue on the four sets of stitches and then fold the same side down again, and hold it for a little while until the glue sets. Now, brush glue on the other side of the cover, and fold it up to cover the first side.


4. Now you’ll need to place the notebook in an upright position to dry, so that the spine sets properly.


5. When your glue has finished drying, trim the edges of the top cover side, so that they match the top crease (see below for an example). Congratulations! You’ve “spined” your book!


Now, for the fun part! To win the notebook used in this tutorial, enter the giveaway below.
This particular notebook was made using legal-sized paper, so it is sketchbook-sized. (Perfect for drawing or doodling!)
– USA and Canada only (because of shipping).
– Ends on January 18th, 2014.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.)

Handmade Gifting | Soaps


Over Thanksgiving Break, I experimented with toys and gifts, namely got myself busy with soap-making for gifting purposes. They’re easy to make, since the only specialty item you really need is glycerin soap, which many craft stores sell in meltable blocks. (Cute molds also add a fun touch.) Although these make great Christmas gifts, they’re great for hostess gifts throughout the year. Many of the ingredients, such as food coloring and extracts, can be found in your kitchen, and you can use just about any baking mold for the project, since after all, it is soap, and can be washed off.


Begin by washing your mold – it could be tricky if you have one with small crevices, since you don’t want foreign objects sticking to your soap.


Gather your materials. For scents, you can use essential oils or kitchen extracts. We had lavender and peppermint essential oils, and vanilla and almond extracts. You can use petroleum jelly to “oil” your soap molds, but you can get along without it. For color, use food coloring.


Cut your soap into blocks that are microwaveable. (You can use either clear glycerin or white glycerin soap blocks for different effects. I personally prefer the white.)
Heat the glycerin on high, stirring at 15 second intervals. When it is totally melted, you’ll want to move quickly so that it doesn’t start to harden again.


Mix the combination of scents and color in containers (we used thick styrofoam cups). Some of our favorite combinations: pink + vanilla extract + honey, light green + peppermint, light purple + lavender. We also experimented with adding spices such as cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and rosemary to different combinations.


Let the soaps harden in their molds for about 45-50 minutes (unless the brand of glycerin you are using says otherwise). Then, you can remove them from the molds. (This is trickier than it sounds, although if you have petroleum jelly, supposedly this makes them easier to remove.) Instead of cutting around the edges, we found that for these small soaps, sticking a short, thick knife midway into the base and applying even pressure for about 2 or so minutes was the best way to remove them. The hole is easy to cover, since it is at the base, and the soap will still be soft enough to mold for a few minutes.

You can also let them harden for a longer period of time, depending on the glycerin – see this tutorial for details.


As soon as they are out of the molds, they are ready! However, I recommend letting them harden in a cool, dry place (not in plastic), or else condensation will form on some types of glycerin (especially the clear glycerin).


Inspiration Scrapbook {additions}

One of my readers, a sweet friend of mine asked me the other day to share more pages from my inspiration scrapbook. You can find the original DIY here for how to make your own. I’ve filled out many more pages in the book since then, so I’m excited to share some with you all. (Thanks, Sheean!)

The above page, from week 7 is probably my favorite thus far. 

Happy Saturday, my friends!