Introduction: The Note-Taker (iX Project)

This is an Instructable showing you how to make a bookbinder that contains a steno, a book, and a pen or pencil. I wanted to make this bookbinder because I have found it is difficult to take notes on a book while reading the book at the same time. I created the bookbinder so there was more space to simultaneously take notes and read the book. It opens up, similar to a 3 ring binder, and on the right side there is a steno pad to take notes, and on the left side, there is a book of your choice that can be opened and read in the binder. There is also a pen holder in the middle of the bookbinder to write notes on the steno pad. This project was fairly easy to make, but make sure you measure out the dimensions correctly and map out time to glue the leather to the cardboard. I originally was going to sew the leather to the cardboard, but the sewing tools I had were not strong enough to sew through the leather. This project took me about a week to map out the project and then complete it. The part that took me the longest time was measuring the cardboard with the book and steno pad and cutting it. I suggest first using a scrap piece of cardboard to practice laying out the dimensions. Overall, this project cost me $20, with the pleather cost $8 and steno pads cost roughly $10. I had most all of the materials, including magnets, a glue gun, cardboard (from an old cardboard box), elastic, a book, and a pen.

Overall, I enjoyed this project, I just wish I had spent more time on deciding the materials before I began actually making the bookbinder. Some alternate ideas as to how to make this project would be buying a sewing kit to sew the leather to the cardboard. Another way would be using a material that is more durable than cardboard and then hot glue the leather to that durable material. I am open for suggestions and feedback on how to improve or modify this project!

Step 1: Materials

To make this binder, you will need:

a cardboard box that can be taken apart (the size of the cardboard box depends on how big the book is and how much room for error you want)

a 9x6 hardcover book (any book size can be used, but using a 9x6 hardcover book is easiest)

3 yards of leather/fake leather

Exacto knife

2x steno pad

a ruler


glue gun with extra glue

x4 magnets

Step 2: Making the Cardboard Binder

First, you need to take apart the cardboard box.

Then you need to take your book and place it on the piece of cardboard and the steno pad on the other side, with enough space around 2 inches in the middle so that the cardboard can be cut to fold. Measure the distance between the middle of the cardboard to the steno and then to the book. The distance does not need to be the same, but it helps to know how far away each is from the center.

Once you have marked down where the book and steno stay, now use a ruler and mark down where the cardboard will be cut in the middle. I measured 1.75 inches for the middle, so when the book and steno are together, it is not larger than 1.75 inches. Once you have marked where the cardboard should be cut, take the ruler and mark it on the other side as well (since you need to cut the cardboard on the other side). Also, mark how far you want the binder to go past the book and past the steno pad. Next, use the Exacto knife and cut along the pencil marks. Make sure to not cut through the cardboard. For the end of the binder, you will want to measure out and cut 1.75 inches (the same length as the middle) because this will be where the magnets are put. Once everything is cut, you now need to add on duct tape.

Step 3: Add Duct Tape

Now that the cardboard is cut, you need to add duct tape to make sure the cardboard does not break. Apply the duct tape where ever cuts were made in the cardboard.

Step 4: Adding the Cover

Now that the cardboard is cut, you need to add elastic strips to the cardboard. this will be where the book and steno and pen are placed. Take the hot glue gun and glue one side of the elastic about 1/2 an inch away from the steno and book. Repeat this on the other side but pull the elastic so that when you place the book/steno, it will stay with the elastic. I used a stapler to staple down the elastic, but it is not always needed.

Now that the elastic has been glued, it is time to glue the leather onto the cardboard. But before you glue down the leather, mark with a pen or pencil the area of the steno, book, and elastic because you do not want to glue that area. First layout the leather on top of the interior of the cardboard. Next, cut the leather so it is about 1/4 inches away from the end of the cardboard. After this is cut, start at one end of the cardboard and use the glue gun to quickly glue and then press down the leather so it stays. I would glue 1 inch at a time and then press the leather down since the glue dries quickly and repeat until you reach the end of the cardboard. After the leather is glued on the inside, take the piece of leather and lay it on the outside, with enough leather to wrap around to the interior. Next, cut the leather and start gluing. Glue the leather so that it covers the inside of the binder as well.

Once everything is glued, find where the top of the elastic is and use the Exacto knife to cut the leather because this is where the book and steno and pencil will fit.

Step 5: Checking the Binder

Once the leather is glued and dry, check to see if the book fits into the opening where the elastic is. Do the same for the pencil and the steno. If they do not fit, make the cut a little bit larger so the book and steno and pencil fit snug. Once these are complete, we move onto gluing the magnets to the ends of the binder. Take two magnets and hot glue them into the leather (on the same side). Next, do the same on the other side and make sure the magnets line up with each other.

Step 6: Done

Once all the glue is dried, the Binder is complete! It is durable and perfect to take notes on a book of your choosing with a pen or pencil right in the binder.