Picture of How to Create a  Hand-bound Sketchbook
Modern bookbinding techniques are based on techniques used by bookbinders since the 2nd century.  Although some of the materials used have changed, the construction techniques are largely the same.   Most of the supplies listed are easily located.  Specialty items can be ordered from resources listed at the end of the instructions.
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Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies
1. 30 sheets of 11” x 14” paper, either drawing paper or copy paper.
2. Wax paper
3. Decorative paper, enough for two pieces at least 9” x 14”
4. Linen tape or binding tape, at least 3” x 9”.  Or, as a substitute, a natural fiber netting type fabric can be used.
5. Headband ***optional
6. 2 pieces of decorative paper, 8.5” x 11”
7. Heavy duty thread, preferrably linen or hemp.
8. Tapestry or embroidery needles.
9. Ruler
10. Bookboard or mattboard.  2 pieces 11.5” x 8.75”, 1 piece 11.5” x .75”
11. Bookcloth, 1 piece 13” x 4”.
12. Boning tool: can be found in most craft stores in the papercrafts department.
13. Scissors
14. Pencil
15. Awl
16. X-Acto Knife
17. Container for glue
18. Sponge applicator
19. Small paintroller  *** optional
20. Not pictured:  PVA or white glue

Step 2: Fold 11" x 17" Paper

Picture of Fold 11
To create 5 stacks of folded paper, divide the pieces of 11” x 17” paper into 5 stacks of 6 pages each.  Fold each stack in half lengthwise, so that the finished stacks are 8.5” x 11”.  Each folded stack of paper is called a signature.

Step 3: Mark the Signatures

Picture of Mark the Signatures
Create a template for hole punching by using an 11” long piece of scrap paper.  Mark the scrap paper lengthwise, at the following locations:
1.  1” from the end
2.  1.5” from end
3.  5.25” from end
4.  5.75” from end
5.  9.5” from end
6. 10” from end

Step 4: Punch Holes for Sewing

Picture of Punch Holes for Sewing
Open one stack of paper (signature).  Line up the scrap paper template along the fold line.  Using an awl, follow the marks on the template, punch a hole at through the signature along the fold line.

Make sure to press hard enough that the holes go all the way through the stack of paper.  Repeat for each signature.
thanks a lot. very helpful
I love handmade books; they are always so much nicer than store bought! And I love how you did the supplies. I hate when things are listed and I just can't tell what's what in the picture :)
Otterluv (author)  Penolopy Bulnick2 years ago
Thank you! It was a fun project. And you are right, they are much nicer than store bought. The pages lay nice and flat when you open it, which is exactly what you want in a sketchbook.