Ever wanted a unique sketchbook project for your high schoolers? A new journal for yourself? A gift for a family member or friend? All without spending a lot of money? Then this project is for you!!

Students creating this project will learn how to recycle/ reuse an old discarded book, how to use sewing (coptic/chain stitching) to link pages together, and how to create a sketchbook that is unique to them and that can be used for so many things!

Materials needed:
Old book
Exacto Knife/ Box Cutter
Computer Paper
Strong Thread/ Waxed Linen
Embroidery Needle or Curved Needle
Sharp Object (Seam Ripper, Safety Pin, Paper Clip, etc.)
Spray Adhesive or Rubber Cement
Paint or other art materials to decorate cover with

Step 1: Find a Book!

Picture of Find a Book!
Find an old book!
I found a bunch at an old book relief sale, but you can find them in your own house, at library sales, thrift stores, or garage sales.
Book Girl3 months ago
I have been lookin for a way to bind books because there are crafts that require cutting out the pages of books and I want to be able to read them still.
Love this. maybe I'm dim but i couldn't see what you did with the slip of slim paper, also sewn... stick down into the curve of the original binding? I love the explanation of the coptic chains... sound soooo mysterious, which it should be, as this was such an esoteric art, often linked with secrecy due to the fact that the average mediaeval John Smith couldn't then read... interestting linguistic slant there, must google.... thanks

You aren't the only one who couldn't figure out what to do with the cardstock...I guess I'll just glue it down under the back piece. Other than that, this was an awesome tutorial....I loved it!

kjellbetlem7 months ago

Hi mcmichaelart, thats a really cool instructable! You could come and work for me, our company About Blanks does exactly that ;) We sell sketch- and notebooks made from old book covers!

mcmichaelart (author)  kjellbetlem7 months ago
That's awesome!!
shyanna051 year ago
You should check out the journal I made! I've made a few since then, and everyone keeps asking me to make them one. Good inscrutable, by the way!
Emmely1 year ago
I love the design on this one. I want to use this idea for a gift for a friend. Easy, cheap and fun! Thank you for uploading!
Nice! The coptic is a tricky stitch at first but with practice anyone can master it. And it's so strong! Nice instructable.

Would have been even cooler if you integrated a few of the original pages of some of the books among the drawing pages, for a bit of character.
mcmichaelart (author)  AdamVanMeter2 years ago
The third or fourth book i made like this, I actually did use some of the original pages... the only thing that is a little tricky is that the old paper is very fragile and tears easily, so I ended up gluing some pages to my new signatures and it turned out great!
Nahual3 years ago
Does using the seam ripper on paper affect the use of the SR on thread not related to this project?
mcmichaelart (author)  Nahual2 years ago
i haven't noticed any wear and tear on the Seam Ripper, actually! i think the paper does less damage than thread does! :)
I love this instructable. re-using old books for your own personalized sketch book, nice work. I do alot of art esp. drawing, and the shop art books aren't cheap! once again, great stuff!
mcmichaelart (author)  Instructable042 years ago
thank you!! i am planning on doing this project with my upper level drawing class i teach at a rural high school... we have NO money for any supplies, so anything i can do really inexpensively is great! :)
Wow this is great! I draw ALOT and buying those art books are alot of munny, with this it seems cheaper than a 24 dollar drawing book.
jbpitcher3 years ago
Thank you. Well done and easy to follow. Great job.
mcmichaelart (author)  jbpitcher3 years ago
So glad you enjoyed it!!
susanrm3 years ago
Nice... brings back memories of my bookmaking class at the MIT library.
wilgubeast3 years ago
Awesome work! My kids would have LOVED this. (Our yarn and construction paper books were not a resounding success.)