here we're gonna try to bind a notebook with stuff you already have at home. seriously, the most "special" materials you'll need are the canvas and some beeswax (and even that's optional)

but before anything else, what the hell is my definition of the perfect notebook? for me,

- the pages should open up flat, like a moleskine notebook

- the cover should be very stiff, so i can write on it even if it's propped on my lap

- the cover should be highly customizable

- the pages should be big and wide, with no lines because i draw a lot

- it should be thick enough to contain a whole semester's worth of drawings and notes

- sturdy with no fraying on the corners of the cover

- preferably with pockets

so that's what we're gonna ~try~ and make today

i started binding my own notebooks about 4 years ago and i've made (roughly) one for every semester in college. including the two i just made this month, i've done this about 9 times with varying degrees of success. here's a picture of marks 1 - 7 (i'm pretty sure i have 2 more but they're missing!)

the notebook you'll see being constructed is for my friend. (to her: HAY GURL HAYYY)

Step 1: Materials


>>> paper of your choice

i like my pages really wide so i got a ream of long bond paper to get 6.5 by 8.5-inch pages. you can use paper of any kind and color, but try to pick paper that wouldn't absorb too much moisture. i tried binding with tracing paper and it was a wrinkled mess.

>>> thick board for the cover

i used a sheet of illustration board that was 2mm thick. this one had a gray back and was more expensive (other illustration boards are about 1mm thick... too thin for me.) i guess you can use any material sturdy enough for you, like chipboard, corrugated cardboard etc.

>>> sewing thread

same color as your preferred paper

>>> medical gauze

>>> cellophane tape

>>> double-sided tissue tape

not the squishy type

>>> folders

>>> glue stick

>>> white glue

>>> canvas


>>> two needles

(one big, one small)

>>> scissors

>>> craft cutter

>>> a clean paintbrush

>>> books of different sizes

>>> measuring tools

optional materials:

>>> beeswax for waxing the thread

i actually used a 50-50 paraffin-beeswax mixture here, it worked just as well.

>>> something squishy

preferably something you can glue on and don't mind perforating, like pleather or something. i used a sheet of foam rubber ("linso") here. i've used a folded shirt before.

>>> decorations + protection for the cover

for this one, i did a bit of decoupage with tea bag covers (since my friend loves tea). i've tried magazine pages, bus tickets, duct tape, and pen drawings to decorate before, and protected them with materials like cellophane tape or bathroom stickers.

suggestion? duct tape looks gorgeous.

>>> a clean envelope

for storage to keep your work clean!

>>> an indifference towards the environment

prepare to use up A LOT of paper, especially when you make mistakes with the folding and stitching

wow you did a fantastic job showing how to do it. I am a follow the pictures kinda gal. thank you!
<p>Very nice work on both the note book and the instructable. Well done.</p>
<p>ive bound books with waxed dental floss before. it basically does the same thing the beeswax does, plus its synthetic so you can melt knots into it instead of having to tie them. also smells minty for a few days. only downside is its a tad thicker than sewing thread, feels more like upholstery thread.</p>
<p>oooh, that's a nice idea. that would probably work really well if you're binding vellum or something to match the thickness of the thread :))</p>
Do you think Rubber Cement would be a good substitution for the white glue, to keep the paper from soaking up moisture?
i haven't tried that before, actually (boooo!) what's it like when it's dry? if it isn'y crispy or bulky or too rubbery i guess it could work really well
<p>The only way to make it perfect is to make something you really like. Nice work. Thanks for sharing your process!!!</p>

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Bio: hi! i'm @wagglefingers on twitter. || industrial design student || the first craft project i ever did was turning a pringles can into a pencil holder ... More »
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