Picture of Make a Project Book

This is something every DIYer will love. It's very easy to make, very cheap, and extremely useful. After discovering Kaptinscarlet's great ible on binding books I began turning many of my e-books into hard copy's. After finding out about the Maker's Notebook I decided to do it myself and save twenty bucks. By using word, excel, and a few handy resources found on the web, I created my own project book. What's great about this is it's fully customizeable, which is what DIY is all about.

Since making this I've already filled it with a great deal of projects on my mind. It's proven to be a great tool for keeping myself organized and in the DIY mindset. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

Step 1: What You'll Need

Picture of What You'll Need

For this ible you'll need a few things, and here they are:

Microsoft Word - I made a template that can be downloaded, edited, and printed; if you wish to use this then you'll need a copy of Word .
Printer - The book I created prints on 40 sheets of paper, each sheet will then be made into 4 pages in the actual book. This means you'll be making a 160 page book.
Hard Cardboard - This will be used to construct the hard cover of your book. You can buy these at a craft store or find them. I happen to work at a company that throws away a lot of three ring binders. Behind that plastic cover is some great cardboard perfect for making books.
Book Cover Material - In the Book Binding Ible I have referenced you will use fabric to make your cover. I will not do this in this ible. I will be using a plain old brown paper bag which is easily obtainable at the grocery store. Feel free to use whatever material makes you feel good about your finished product.
White Glue - I have used white glue in my book binding with great success. Use whatever you wish, but in this ible I will be using the white stuff.
Scissors - Used to cut the paper bag.
Box Cutter - Used to cut through the cardboard. I suppose an exacto knife could be used here as well.
Rubber Band - We'll be using a rubber band to keep our book securely closed at all times. This is optional.
Staples - These will be used to bind your book together.
Common Sense - There will be no political correctness found here. You are responsible for your own actions, this means that if you slice through your hand to your bones with a box cutter it is not my fault. It is your own, you dumb dumb dummy. Seriously though, be careful with this stuff.

dlwhite587 months ago

How did you make the template in Word?

Spaceman Spiff (author)  dlwhite587 months ago

Open up excel and create the square grid by shortening the columns. Then highlight the edges of each cell by using the borders tool. Now copy and paste a region into word. That should do it.

jsenna made it!10 months ago

Great instructable! made it for my gf!

2014-10-11 20.29.29.jpg
Spaceman Spiff (author)  jsenna10 months ago

Awesome, thanks for sharing.

mbcharney made it!1 year ago

Found this ible the other day and finished it tonight.

Only comment would be to make the grid lines darker for printing, which I did..

The only thing I did different, besides the lines, is instead of a rubber band I used a large binder clip to keep the book closed.

Thanks for the ible idea!!

Did you use A4 paper in the book?
I'm not sure what A4 paper is. I used ordinary printing paper.

A4, is standard printer and copier paper... Although its identified as a "international" paper size. The names of each size vary from place to place.
A4 = 210mm*297mm

more can be seen at http://www.papersizes.org/a-paper-sizes.htm

instead of taking all of the time to make the cardboard pieces, you could go get a binder and add anything you want. really good idea :) thanks
elisa56652 years ago
This is a wonderful instructable! I will try this sometime soon!
dj. navarro2 years ago
Nice! I've always wanted to make my own notebook/project book! :D
dur.sk83 years ago
I was going to buy a notebook like this
but now i can make one by myself
thanks for sharing
here's mine.. NOTE: i couldn't print the graph paper supplied with the files so i bought some instead. P.S: i stuck a qr code on the back of it so if i ever lost it, someone would know who it belongs to. i used this site: www.goqr.me
Picture 009.jpgPicture 011.jpgPicture 010.jpg
You'd better print your name and address next to that QR code thing. Because if I was the guy that found your book I wouldn't know what to do with that.
next time try by creating you QR code with uQR.me QR code generator, you'll be able to change the QR code destination if you want without having to reprint it...
that's very convenient when you print your QR code somewhere... you never know when you'll need to change the content
pfred23 years ago
I like how you use binder clips in step 8. I've "bound books" with just those. For my shop notebook I use a 3 ring binder. Do they still make those? I even have a 3 hole puncher for mine. Makes it easy to add pages!
Plo Koon3 years ago
dude that is an insanely awesome username! i like the pic too
TashaDax3 years ago
I think I love you :)
carsoncool4 years ago
Can you please make it a non zip file?
glier4 years ago
completely love the idea, make a book out dedicated for a proyect with complete info on how, why, and what are you really doing, excellent for a time capsule :D.

my first will be how to make a proyect book :D
sebgonz4 years ago
Great instructable. I've been wanting to do something like this for all my little electronic projects that do. I think I even have a Harmons bag lying around somewhere that I could use. :)
I should have known a simple project book can get you 15k views in 4 months. And you published it while I was celebrating my birthday! How did you know? o_O

Oh well, I'm making one. Food for thought for 'ya: Swiss Army Project Book (SAProB) complete with arc welder and high temperature induction furnace! Oh no, idea... You see, this is why I need one of what you made! I'll just do a smaller version and put technical drawings in there to make it look cool when in fact the random circuits and whatnot are just random symbols put together lol. Rate rate rate...
lionel10244 years ago
Awesome instrucable, and awesome user name!
who r u?
SageMinto4 years ago
This is exactly what I need! Muhahaha! >:D

I'm going to really need this when I go to college in the fall. Thank you!
Spaceman Spiff (author)  SageMinto4 years ago
You're welcome, I'm glad you liked it.
bumbums4 years ago
Does this mean you need a3 paper and an a3 printer?
Spaceman Spiff (author)  bumbums4 years ago
No, I did this on regular 8.5 x 11 paper so you should be fine using a basic printer. The only thing is you will have to fool around with the settings to get it to print right. For me it was as simple as selecting booklet mode. Usually any printer that prints on both sides will have this capability. If yours does not you may need to fool around with printing onto one side first and then the other second. The split files should help you with this.
TheHobbit814 years ago
Love this ible. :) 5 Stars.

One problem, the links to most of the files don't work for me, can you please re-post them or whatever? I think that the last one worked but not the others.

Thanks in advance.
Spaceman Spiff (author)  TheHobbit814 years ago
Thanks for the rating, and I'm glad you liked it. As far as the files go I'm not sure what's going on. I was able to open them up with no problems. Either way I put all the files on a zip instead. Rather than downloading each file I thought it would be easier to just download one zip. I hope this helps; let me know if it doesn't.
That did the trick, I'll post back with pic's of the finished product.
I can not get this to print the way I'm expecting it to. I want it to be half-page duplex meaning that it print is a way that you can just stack the pages and staple them, resulting in having all pages in the correct order.

I found this link but it requires a full version of CutePDF or an expensive plugin for Adobe Reader. Not going to pay to do this. :(

Any thoughts?
You could always print it to double sided pages and use a bander to bind it using those plastic wring bands maybe. Check out staples to see if they could do that for you.
This is AWESOME! I made one and it became a cute webdesign project book. I used some origami paper for the cover and added little satin laces to decorate it. Very useful! Thanks for this!
You're welcome, glad you liked it!
This was a great idea. I loved making mine. Thanks so much!
I made a wider gap between the spine and the larger peices-- about twice the thickness of the cardboard. You might find your notebook opens and closes easier that way.
I'm actually binding a book this very moment. I'll try it out.
Spaceman Spiff (author)  Spaceman Spiff4 years ago
That worked out great, thanks for the tip. It wasn't very tight at all.
My first book using your ible-- not perfect, but not bad for the first bookbinding attempt in decades!

And i really like your project template. i don't need electrical engineering, reference, so I left that signature off. If i come up with another one, I'll add it to the collection.

Yeah it took me about three times before making a really good quality book. The first two were ok, just not as good as I would have liked.
Well, the one I made got grabbed up by my daughter's boyfriend. He was looking at it, and I said; "would you like one of these?" and he said "Oh yes, thank you! Merry Christmas to you too!" And carried it off!

So book the second is on its way....
augur454 years ago
Sewing the signature (step 4: "8 sheet combo") is just as easy and much more durable. Upholstery or Button&Carpet thread is best.
Spaceman Spiff (author)  augur454 years ago
Do you just tie it off at the spine?

I'd use at least 5 holes. They should be between 1 and 2 inches apart.
i.e. 1 in the center, 1 at each end of the page about 1/4" in, and one on each side of center splitting the difference between center and edge of page.
Spaceman Spiff (author)  augur454 years ago
I have wanted to try this, thanks for the link.
Aeflock4 years ago
Excellent! I have a few artist giftee's that would love a blank one of these for Christmas! It would make a nice sketch book! Thank you for the idea!!
Spaceman Spiff (author)  Aeflock4 years ago
No problem, I'm glad you liked it!
CellyOneill4 years ago
Great idea !!!
Spaceman Spiff (author)  CellyOneill4 years ago
Thanks I'm glad you liked it.
srilyk4 years ago
After this next semester (I'm going to be swamped with 22 hrs... but then I'm free and graduated! Yay!), I really need to write a good book binding instructable using stitching instead of glue & staples.

Nice instructable though! Everyone should know how to bind books, it's a great hobby and good for gifts & stuff.
Spaceman Spiff (author)  srilyk4 years ago
Wow! 22 Hrs. Your going to be crazy busy, I didn't even know you could take 22 hrs of classes.
HollyHarken4 years ago
I forgot to mention that you should put some end papers in as well.
Spaceman Spiff (author)  HollyHarken4 years ago
Yeah, next time I will leave the last two pages blank.
absolutely fantastic! thanks!
Spaceman Spiff (author)  firewraith20064 years ago
You're Welcome, I'm glad you liked it.
AlmightyZod4 years ago
hmm... Harmon's Grocery... So, your from Utah then.... i used to live in Utah, harmon's is a good place to shop.
Spaceman Spiff (author)  AlmightyZod4 years ago
That's right! PG to be exact.
mdog934 years ago
Obviously if you have a long-armed stapler then used it here, because this is the exact purpose of a long-armed stapler. Although I understand most people don't own one, I could get acces to one at my school, the school my dad works at or at the printing room of my church. I'm sure there are other places people could borrow them from- print shop, library, post office maybe?
ours cost 18 dollars at Staples haha... we use the thing so much it was totally worth buying.

Love this template! I'm making one right now for my sis the costumer, last- min pressie.
Spaceman Spiff (author)  mdog934 years ago
That's a great point; having a long arm stapler around would be very handy here.
holzmanj94 years ago
Great instructions! I've made a few similar things. One I wish I still had, I used thin (1/8" maybe) board for the front and back, and include a pocket in it like a Moleskine notebook. I also used a leather cord to wrap horinatally around it to close it. I didn't have a hard spine but instead had a strip of duct-tape to give it flexibility. I'll have to make another sometime and share the pictures.
corkey1234 years ago
Great idea! Can't wait to make mine once all my Christmas projects are done..
Nice! I think I'm going to try this. BTW, wrapping paper might make good cover material, too (maybe recycle what we get for Christmas!).

Love your user name. :D
abizar4 years ago
Wondering how much it cost? Printing at home ain't cheap.
Sorry, had just stopped by a dollar store ... and they have some pretty decent writeables.
HollyHarken4 years ago
Thank you so much for this! I've always wanted to bind the family recipes and now you've given me the tools to do so.
TrailH4x4 years ago
Great ible! You peaked my interest as I am currently working on plans for a youth training conference. Using your instructions, I've bound the first draft of my staff guidebook. Turned out great! Thanks.
Spaceman Spiff (author)  TrailH4x4 years ago
That's awesome! I'm glad it worked out for you.
polar bear64 years ago
i would love to see this in a coffeetable version
Spaceman Spiff (author)  polar bear64 years ago
I think this is a great idea. Perhaps if you made it a little thicker, gave it a nicer cover, and filled the pages (pre-printer) with plans for all sorts of interesting gadgets I think you might have a nice conversational piece. I think I might give this a go, great idea!
EigerSA4 years ago
This is a brilliant instructable, really well laid out and easy to follow. Planning to make one or two over the festive season for sure (it's going to make awesome pressies!)
Spaceman Spiff (author)  EigerSA4 years ago
These make great gifts for the DIYer on your list! I'm making a few more myself!
How about using stitch binding instead, eg http://wonderinthewoods.wordpress.com/2010/08/18/handmade-journal-stitch-bound/
Spaceman Spiff (author)  andrewgilmartin4 years ago
Wow these guys really have the book binding process down. Very nice! I'd like to try hand stitching, but the staples are just so easy and quite functional. I think hand stitching the book would be great if you're going for a classic look. You could really make something nice if you add leather binding to it as well. Thanks for the reference.
i will try it
Earths_hope4 years ago
Kappwing! off to make some notes on my projects!
I could definitely use something like this. I'm an electrician and I like to take lots of notes/have reference pages with me.

If I get around to doing this I'll tweak your idea a bit so it'll be more pocket-sized.
Spaceman Spiff (author)  teh darkcloud4 years ago
That's great! I'd love to see what you make!