Introduction: DIY: Recycled Mixed Media Notebook

Do you like art journals? Scrapbooks? Mixed Media? This "notebook" might be for you then :)

I adore sketchbooks and scrapbooks with the nice textured paper, but sometimes they're so hard to dress up and some of them are extremely expensive!

Here's a cheaper, more environmental way to do something crafty, and still have something you'll love!

Step 1: Assemble the Ingredients!

Here's what you'll need:

  • paper - this can be magazine paper, newspaper, notes you don't need anymore, anything! Make sure that they're all the same size though.
  • glue - PVA glue works best, but you can also just use white glue
  • scissors
  • threading needle
  • knife
  • dental floss or waxed thread
  • a heavy weight or a ton of books

Step 2: Signatures

  • Take your paper and fold it in half. Do this until you have half the amount of pages you want. (For example, if I want 20 pages, I'd fold 10 sheets of paper in half.)
  • Then taking the folded sheets, put them inside of each other, making a booklet of 3 or 4. This is called a signature. Continue to do so until you have a pile of signatures!

If you have one sheet left, put that into a random booklet, an extra sheet doesn't really make a difference :)

Step 3: Preparing for Surgery

  • Take two binder clips and clip the signatures together. Make sure that all the sides line up!
  • Taking a marker or a pen (marker works better!), mark off where you want the binding to be. Note that the more marks there are, the more holes, the more secure your "notebook" will hold up. I usually do 3 - 6 by marking off the middle, then half of that and half of that until there is an inch between each marking. A ruler is recommended for this step, but not required.
  • Taking a knife, gently cut across the marks so that there are little slits that the threading needle can go through later. If the slits don't cut through all the papers, you'll have to manually poke a hole with your needle.

Step 4: Needle Work

  • Thread your needle with the dental floss/waxed thread and tie a knot at the end.
  • Starting from the farthest left slit, insert the needle from the spine and through all the layers of the signature.
  • Weave through the slits.
  • Weave back to where you starting, making sure that the front and the back of the spine is lined with thread.

Step 5: Signature 1 + 2

  • When you're done the first signature, take another signature and make note of how the slits are aligned. Then insert the needle through the farthest left slit like you've done before. MAKE SURE to always, always, always keep the signatures in the same order that they were cut, this prevents a sloppy, unaligned form.
  • Weave through. This time, whenever the needle is at the surface or the outside of the signatures, go under and around and through the other side of the weaves made in the first signature. This is what essentially keeps the book together.

When you reach one of the sides and there aren't two weaves for you to go though, one is enough! :)

Step 6: Rest of the Signatures

  • When you're done with the first two signatures, the third and the forth and so on use a different method. Instead of looping through the weaves, they'll be growing around the entire thread.
  • Refer to the diagrams. Basically, what you would do is take the leader and stick it in to the spaces between the spine. Make sure it's the last signature that was bind down. (In this case, if you're working on your third, it'd be the second signature.) Then, using your needle, gently lift up the pages above it, opening the signatures to reveals the needle's location.
  • Pull the thread through, then insert the needle on the other side of the bounded thread, before ending it by inserting the needle back into the original slit. Continue to do this for the rest of your signatures.

Note: If you finish your thread, just tie a knot on the outside and continue where you left off. This is the same for when you've finished all your signatures, tie a knot on the outside.

Step 7: Gluing

This is where the weights, or heavy books come in handy!

  • Take your signature, line it up as perfectly as possible and place it on a flat surface. (In my case, a cardboard box, but anything works!) May sure you don't need this area, as this is where glue can get stuck to and may possible rip things up.
  • Then using a brush, (or your finger!) spread the glue on the spine evenly. Two coats is necessary for the glue to be strong enough for wear and tear. One coat doesn't seem to do the trick for me..

Step 8: Finishing Touches

  • Take a piece of paper or heavier card stock that measures the same as your original folded paper, fold it in half and cut it down the middle seam. This will act as your "soft cover" or "hard cover". Here I'm just using another piece of magazine paper
  • Then, using a brush, apply a coat of glue on the end closest to the spine. Before it dries, slap on your cover!
  • Taking a smaller strip of paper, crease along the edges to "fit" your notebook and glue in place. Make sure this covers the spine, and both sides of your note book, this will conceal the spine and give it an overall finished look.

Step 9: Tips & Admire!

Last but not least.. ADMIRE!

I had some blank pages in mine, and the contrast between the glossy magazine and printer paper is beautiful!

Some helpful tips:

  1. Don't stress too much over the stitching, most of the time it'll be covered up by a strip of paper.
  2. If you want a more uniform look, take a pair of scissors or a knife and trim the edges so that they are all the same. If you stack more than 3 - 4 papers together into a signature, you'll get a wavy effect with your edges.

I'll probably end up using mine as a mixed media journal again, what will you use it for? :)

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Bio: hello, nice to meet you :) i'm just another ordinary girl that loves arts & crafts. i can't sit still for a long time, so ... More »
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