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.
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.
-clear packing tape
Step 1: 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
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
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
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...
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
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
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
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.