Introduction: Make a 100 Page Notebook

Picture of Make a 100 Page Notebook

I am so tired of looking for new notebook and never find exactly what I want. So I thought, why not make my own? This tutorial will show you how to make your own notebook using an old record album cover. It also teaches a sewn in bookbinding technique. It may be that you have all these materials at home or something comparable. I used what I had at home. Here is what you'll need:

1. An old record album cover or any other large sized cardstock or thin cardboard. (manilla folder works well, thank-you to commenters below)
2. Paper. This could be blank, lined, grapned, colored or anything else you'd like. For this specific project I used blank 8 1/2 x 14 copy paper, otherwise known as legal sized paper.
3. Thread that won't break, like embroidery thread. (it also must be a cotton, otherwise it will tend to cut the paper and through the binding holes. 100% cotton yarn works great as well, but you'll have to make the holes a couple times larger for binding.
4. Embroidery needle or other thick sized needle that will hold embroidery or bookbinding thread.
5. Thumb tack.
6. Ruler.
7. Pencil.
8. Large paper clips.
9. Butter knife or bone folder.
10. A paper-cutter or really good pair of scissors or a really sharp xacto knife or a box-cutter.

Optional materials:
-clear packing tape
-colored paper
-glue stick
-large bead

Step 1: Making the Cover

Picture of Making the Cover

1. Start with cutting your album cover so it opens like a book. To do this cut across the top and bottom, following the fold.

2. Then, cut it to these dimensions, 15" x 8 3/4". Leave the middle fold as the center of the cover. Don't try to change the place it will fold from or it will lose it's shape and sturdiness.

3. Measure 3/8" out from the center on both the right and left sides. Score the cover from top to bottom on both sides. These scores should run parallel with the center. Keep in mind that the side you score it on is the side that will be the outside of the cover. I chose the white, or inside, to be the cover. I wanted to decorate it with a blank slate this time.

4. Fold the scored sides in, shaping your cover. Now set aside momentarily.

Step 2: Preparing the Inside

Picture of Preparing the Inside

5. Fold all your papers in half. I made 5 folded booklets of 10 papers each. This equals 100 total pages. Stack these on top of each other, making sure they are even and place the cover atop these, making sure to line it up evenly with the booklets.

Using your ruler, measuring 1/4" from one end, mark each booklet and the cover at these three places: 2", 4" and 6". These will be the places where you will stitch your booklets into the cover.

Step 3: Preparing to Stitch

Picture of Preparing to Stitch

6. Poke five holes at each of the three measurement marks along the spine of your cover.

7. Use the big paper clip to hold each booklet together while you poke the thumbtack into thier spines to make holes for sewing. This will keep the papers lined up neatly.

8. Poke the thumbtack into each of the three markings on all five booklets.

Step 4: Stitching in the Booklets Into the Cover

Picture of Stitching in the Booklets Into the Cover

9. Now take another clip and re-clip your booklets, but only on one side. Don't remove the original clip until you have this second clip on. This will hold all the papers in line with the holes you already made. This is also important to do, because it makes it easier to stitch it into the cover.

10. Start stitching by lining up the first three holes of the cover with the three holes of your first booklet. (Bear in mind that I had already stitched in 4 booklets before I got good pictures of the stitching process. The pictures you see are of the last booklet being stitched in.)

-Cut a long peice of thread, about 1.5 feet and thread your needle. Don't make any knots.
-Put needle through the middle hole on the outside of the cover and through to the inside of the booklet.

11. Leave a little tail of thread, about 4"-6" long hanging out the spine. This is very important so don't make it too short.

Step 5: Stitching Cont...

Picture of Stitching Cont...

12. Now push needle through bottom hole in booklet and out through the spine.

13. Then push your needle through the top hole of the spine and back into the inside of the booklet.

14. Now push the needle back through the middle and out the spine.

15. Lastly, remove the needle from the thread and tie the two ends together in a double knot and cut the threads to a shorter length.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

Picture of Finishing Touches

16.Now that all your stitching is done, you can either leave the notebook as it is or add some modifications.

17.For a closure I am adding a button and string. I started by placing the button where I'd like it to be on the notebook and mark the four holes with a pencil.

18. Sew the button on.

19. Put some clear packing tape on the underside to hold the stitches in place and protect them from unraveling and loosening the button.

Step 7: Finishing Touches Pt.2

Picture of Finishing Touches Pt.2

20. On the back cover tape a long peice of yarn at the same place as the button on the front cover.

21. Add a fun bead at the end and wrap it around the button so it holds your notebook closed.

Step 8: Finishing Touches Pt. 3

Picture of Finishing Touches Pt. 3

22. I always need a place to keep my favorite pens, so I made little pen holders with clear packing tape.

23. I also did some drawings on different colored paper and glued them on the cover for more decoration.

This tutorial has reached an end. I hope that you find it useful and decide to make a notebook of your own. If you do, I'd love to see the photos and hear about your process and modifications.

xo Silvia


gift4uvn (author)2015-09-17


skydreamer.lee (author)2015-06-14

What S.I.unit did you do these measurements with? Centimeter or inches? If you did it in inches, can you add in centimeter measurements? In the place I live, people rarely use inches so I'm not really familiar with it and don't have a ruler that measures with inches. Please? It'll mean a lot to me.

1 inch = 2.54 cms

SparkySolar (author)2014-11-10

I always wanted to know how do make booksThanks

Liz_W (author)2009-09-06

You could also add a section of tape or ribbon in a contrasting colour along the spine to cover the stitching.

a02138 (author)2009-08-12

wicked binding always intimidated me slightly but this was super easy. i've also heard you can use dental floss in lieu of book binding/thick thread...i plan on giving this a go once i run out of the thread i've borrowed, but has anyone had any luck/experience with this?

minnymooncat (author)2009-02-07

Sweet Idea, I cant wait to try it!

amelia82 (author)2006-08-07

I modified mine by making an elastic band around it--(elastic was $0.81 for a yard--too bad they only had black or white). You can see the way I did it in the pictures, but I'm sure its not the only way. I also didn't make it full size because I wanted a certain part of the record cover on the front, and it happened to be on the right front. I just cut the paper down.

jessyratfink (author)amelia822008-08-28

Hahaha, thank you so much for giving other people the idea to use Herb Albert. I work in a used bookstore and we absolutely drown in his records. :P

JuCo (author)amelia822008-07-04

hahahaha... you have... or had that album?

chebang (author)amelia822006-08-09

this is awesome. I am totally going to get that elastic next time. that record cover is awesome.

one4all (author)2007-12-08

handmade papers and productshandmade paper suppliershi, this is cool well i would like to get more information on handmade paper suppliers it has all kind of details regarding handmade papers and products from india and all over the world

ferrisbuelleryourmyhero (author)2007-07-21

This is so cool!!! I've always wanted a nicely bound, hand made note book, but they are all way too expensive! thanks so much!

Rowan13 (author)2007-06-14

Very nice! I will be trying this this the next time I need a new diary. I've been using acco folders & covers with 8 1/2x11 plain typing paper, but the metal acco clips eventually rip out the punched holes in the paper and sometimes the metal clips give up and die. I'd think a sewn book would be a bit more durable. (Especially as the diaries are something I keep basically forever.) Thanks for a good instructable!

trebuchet03 (author)2006-09-02

if only I could do this with engineering paper... those pads come apart with little force :/ I guess it has not bothered me enough to do anything about it :P Score: A --- well documented and a pretty good idea

chebang (author)trebuchet032006-09-19

thanks. is engineering paper really thin?

trebuchet03 (author)chebang2007-05-24

Not really... It's got a different rule. The back has a grid and the front just has margin and title areas. But, because of the back grid -- you can see the grid lines through the front to keep everything tidy and pro looking. It's yellowish paper, so when you photocopy, you don't see the grid lines and, depending on the machine, the photo copy is white - not yellow :)

Here's a terrible gif image of the front of a sheet :p

holzmanj9 (author)trebuchet032007-05-24

Engineering paper is SOOOOO pleasing to look at and use...... You could make notebooks of engineering paper, I guess it would depend on what you want it for. Fold it in half, sew it together, and it would make great notebooks and journals.

Sherri5762 (author)2007-05-22

Good job! I got it in my head I wanted to make books the other day and I have checked out books from the library, and scanned the internet and was still confused. This looks so easy the way you explain it!! Thank you. I can't wait to start.

gforcerocks (author)2006-11-25

me like it me want one me make one

lazza (author)gforcerocks2007-05-17

Good thinking and a good idea.

SirGrok (author)2006-08-02

Could you do this with a manilla folder? That would be a very cheap way to do this bulk. That plus a visit to your local office to grab some paper, and then a visit to your fishing tacklebox for some cord. I prefer writing on nonlined paper, especially seeing as I am an Engineering major... Calculus doesn't fit within the lines. And Polymath, I think that the motivation behind this project wasn't money saving, but instead a drive to have what he wanted.

stuboo (author)SirGrok2006-08-02

I created a little web app that generates Cornell-Style note pages.

As it turns out, another engineering student (named Ted) asked me to make the app generate horizonal lines on the front and vertical lines on the back so that when you need graph paper, you can actually see it through the paper. It's and old school technique but it's rad. If you want to try it out, just click "Do it up Ted Style"

As the application is written, it wouldn't work well with the folding that you're doing in this instructable - but it's nothing a bit of creative photocopying couldnt take care of rather quickly.

Nice work.

ionix (author)stuboo2007-05-10

awesome... will come in handy...thanks

chebang (author)stuboo2006-08-02

I love those pages. I already printed them out. thanks so much.

chebang (author)SirGrok2006-08-02

all your modifications of would work great, except for the fishing line. It's too sharp and would cut your paper and binding holes. (I added this fact and the manilla folder option to the tutorial.) Also, it would be really hard to sew the booklets in tight, so they would be very loose in the notebook. Any cotton thread works great.

mikesty (author)SirGrok2006-08-02

Manilla folder + good stapling will accomplish this.

chebang (author)mikesty2006-08-02

Yes, this is true, but then it would not be the type of bookbinding I give the tutorial for. It would also not be the type of aesthetic I wanted for this particular notebook.

PackRat4448 (author)2007-03-20

can i use lined paper with holes? Y / N

AuntBee (author)2007-03-10

This is cool. My son is an artist so I'll try to make him one (or more) using handmade papers, etc. I am an avid scrapbooker and card maker, so I will use some of the embellishments I have on hand for those hobbies to fancy up a book for myself. COOL! Thx 4 sharing.

red thread (author)2007-03-07

this is super easy and fun....thanks! i will definitely be using the technique and modifying much! oh yeah, and is there a good method for accomplishing this with 8 1/2 by 11 paper without simply making the whole thing smaller? i wanted a notebook with sheets of graph paper but only had standard notebook sized available....any suggestions? (and i realize i could just staple it or tie it or something, but i am asking for any suggestions using this particular technique)...thanks!

meibao (author)2007-01-25

I did something similar but I used staples instead of sewing them, made my own diary.

peterrus (author)2007-01-01

Gonna make one right away!

peterrus (author)peterrus2007-01-01

And this is what it became.

FR35H (author)2006-09-23

Pretty neato (lol) seriously I'm def going to make one of these great idea keep em' coming!

marissa (author)2006-09-09

which wayy do you fold the paper?

chebang (author)marissa2006-09-19

i'm not sure what you mean. it doesn't matter, as long as it fits nicely in the cover

cl0ney (author)2006-08-09

Thanks for the post... Very cool indeed. I thought you might be interested to know that what you call a "booklet" is technically called a "signature." It's the little folded sections of paper inside of a thread-bound book.

Coleman! (author)2006-08-03

is the reason your folios are so far apart because the cardboard can't stand for them to be closer? because i think a few strips of gaffer's tape on the inside(or outside..decorative!) could fix that right up.

chebang (author)Coleman!2006-08-03

Excellent suggestion. I'll do that next time. I didn't even think about this.

polymath (author)2006-08-02

How much did the copy paper cost or did you liberate it? I like the idea of having your own personalized note book but I don't see any cost savings when you add up time and material.

chebang (author)polymath2006-08-02

i understand. edited. i already had all these things on hand. i figured most people reading this would have comparable materials at home, so they wouldn't have to go out and by anything.

TheCheese9921 (author)2006-08-02

this is very sweet I think I'll make one out of cerial boxes also my mom buys the college ruled paper buy the truckload lol so I think I'll use some rings instead

chebang (author)TheCheese99212006-08-02

Ruled paper always looks old school cool. A cereal box would be perfect. Rings are a great modification.

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