Handmade Notebooks


Although I use the notes app in my phone for long term lists, I generally prefer to write to-do lists, flashes of inspiration, and other notes by hand. I go through post-it notes like crazy and sadly I've lost a few notes, because they got ruined at the bottom of my bag or were mistakenly thrown out. Merle has picked up my paper hoarding ways and insists on keeping just about every drawing she creates. To minimize lost notes and the proliferation of loose drawings, Merle and I made mini notebooks for ourselves. Making notebooks at home is fun because nearly every aspect can be customized, from the size to the cover to the paper style to the binding thread. There are several different book binding techniques, but I went with the simplest hand stitched type for these notebooks. Book binding is a surprisingly useful skill for crafters, however it does require a few initial supplies, including an awl, binding needle, and binding thread. None of the supplies are terribly expensive and I use them at least once a month for homemade gifts and craft projects. The awl, which is essentially a strong, sharp needle attached to a handle, creates a hole in the notebook paper to allow the needle and thread to go through. Using the awl is an adult only task, but the rest of the project is kid-friendly (ages 6+). Merle enjoyed picking out her cover paper and trimming the interior pages.


Handmade Notebook

Supplies
Paper for interior pages
Cover material (cardstock, scrapbookpaper, leather, etc)
Self-healing cutting mat
Awl
Binding thread
Binding needle
Scissors or Exacto knife


1. Determine the desired size of the notebook. The paper used should be two times the size of the finished notebook. Cut the interior pages down to the appropriate size if need be. Stack all interior pages on top of one another neatly and fold them in half. Crease the fold firmly.


2. Cut the cover to size and fold in half over the interior pages.


3. Open the notebook to the center page on top of a self healing cutting mat and create three holes along the spine using the awl. The first hole should be in the center and the second and third holes should be roughly one inch from the ends.



4. Thread the needle with binding thread. Leave approximately a one inch thread overhang at the top and triple knot the end with a one inch tail. For our notebooks with a 5.5 inch long spine, we used 19 inches of thread.


5. With the notebook open to the center page, insert the needle through the center hole. Pull through until the knot at the end of the thread reaches the hole. Then insert the needle through the bottom hole on the cover side and pull taught.


6. Insert the needle through the center hole on the interior again and pull taught. Insert the needle through the top hole on the cover side and pull taught.


7. Repeat steps five and six.

8.  After inserting the needle and thread though the top hole a second time, pull the thread tightly and tie it together with the excess thread at the base of the knot. Trim off any excess thread.


9. If pages shifted or any of the ends are uneven, use an Exacto blade to trim all pages to the same size.



Ta da! You know have a handmade notebook. Further customize the notebook by adding stamps, metallic contact paper, stickers, or anything else you want. Fill it with inspiring quotes to gift to a friend or as a diary to a nascent writer. OR you could just use it for yourself or your kids :)




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