Cheap and Easy Moleskine - "sort Of"




I love Moleskine journals they are classy and always handy, but a bit pricey for the size (around $12 for one), excellent quality tho. I work in an office were we shamefully spend large amounts of paper, and good one, although always goes to recycle I came with a better idea of making "sort of" moleskine journals for my notes and sketches, this is my latest project.

Step 1: Materials Tools and Dimensions

Ok, did i mention that in my work we trow away industrial quantities of paper? I can't imagine multiplying that same amount of paper for each office in the rest of the US, I don't even want to think about it., of course recycling its always a good thing but at the end encourages people to keep wasting paper, lets save some trees reusing it.

I was trying to do this project the fastest, cheapest and easiest way possible, so this is not a professional bookbinding instructable per se.

The main material is "recycled" paper 60gr.. (I collect pieces of good paper cut outs of architectural drawings)
I also collect pieces of cardboard for the cover boards
waxed thread or dental floss (this one is very handy and cheap, but i wouldn't recommend reusing ;))
Gaffer Tape
Utility knife
Pencils and a ruler
Small drill or hole puncher for paper
Paper clips

The Dimensions of the Moleskine Pocket size: 9 x 14 cm (3½ x 5½") , I did mine of 3.75" x 5.5", don't ask me why.
I folded 4 pieces of paper in half and I cut them to the dimensions above and I got 8 pages, I did 13 pieces to get 104 pages the Moleskine sketchpad has 100.

Step 2: Sewing and Final Touch

I put the 13 pieces together between two pieces of wood, as a contraption to avoid movement and to create the stack. With a small hand drill I literally drill six holes (1/2" apart symmetrically spread) in the stack of paper to later pass thru the needle.

I use cheap dental floss as my waxed thread, easy.

Later I cut the cover board out of a piece of thin cardboard, 1/8" larger than the paper dimensions and 1/2" in the middle for the thickness of the stack.

As I mention before this is not a course on Bookbinding, so I did three very primitive sewings thru the holes tighten the stack as much as I could with the cover on and that was all.

With black gaffer tape, (which I prefer over duct tape) I tape the "backbone" which is the thickness of the stack of paper and the covers, to hide the stitches and the threads, also as a reinforcement of the back and as a final stylish touch.

Step 3: Final Products

I have made a few of this guys and I'm very please with the results, although I always prefer a Moleskine one, but this a cool way to recycle and keep on sketching and writing on the cheap.



  • Pie Contest

    Pie Contest
  • Organization Contest

    Organization Contest
  • Weaving Challenge

    Weaving Challenge

44 Discussions


6 years ago on Step 3

Used your instructable to make my own sketchbook. Can't tell you how awesome it is to be able to make something so useful! Thanks for this great 'ible! :D

a rigger

6 years ago on Introduction

"Gaff tape if usually free, but it only comes in half rolls." Ask any stagehand.


8 years ago on Step 3

This looks great, definitely gonna try it out. One question though, does the cardboard bend or is it stiff? I ask because I prefer hardback notebooks to the floppy kind that bends and leaves the cover with a permanent curve if you leave them open for too long. Thanks for the 'ible

2 replies

Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

Reinforcing the corners of your boards with a half-strip of gaffer's tape makes them resistant to curling and adds a nice aesthetic touch.

Place the midpoint of one edge of the half-strip of tape at the corner of the board, such that the other edge of the tape makes a 45deg angle with each of the board edges. Wrap the tape around the inside of the board and trim.


Reply 8 years ago on Step 3

The Cardboard is like the one from the cereal boxes, so it does bends, but you can use hard ones. thanks for your comment.


6 years ago on Introduction

Thanks for sharing! I don't have all the techy stuff as you did, so I did a Michael Shannon version using simpler stuff, but with your dental floss idea - that was just brilliant :)

Here's my version to share -


7 years ago on Step 3

I wish I was as creative as you! Thanks for sharing your great work


8 years ago on Introduction

Could be split into more steps next time ;) but otherwise an awesome 'ible


10 years ago on Introduction

Nice job! As another poster pointed out, gaffer tape can be found in art supply stores. In Tampa, FL I've seen it in Pear Art and Supply. Steve

6 replies

Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

I'm having a hard time finding it in art stores around here, which is weird because although we're a small town, we're a college town. Oh well. If I get desperate enough I'll just order some online. In the meantime I just bought some Gorilla Tape. I chose it because the texture and thickness were more to my liking than duct tape, and I've read a lot that the edges don't seem to get goopy with tape mung like duct tape does. On first inspection out of the package, I'd have to agree - 96% less mung than the other guy. Time will give more reasonable data for processing. I think if I need to dull down the sheen any (although it's somewhat less sheeny than duct tape), I'll run over it a few times with some fine sandpaper.


ummm...... dude. I know duct tape is awesome,and it's the best tape eva,but it's not the end of the world really


Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

"...and I've read a lot that the edges don't seem to get goopy with tape mung like duct tape does."

You could fold the outer edges of the duct tape over (about 1mm) to eliminate that problem.


9 years ago on Step 3

i can only say two words about this: Great, great!!!


9 years ago on Step 3

Descriptive instructions - easy to understand.  I also like the way you incorporated your kitty - cute.   I plan on trying this out very soon - thanks for posting. 


9 years ago on Introduction

Awesome man, I plan on making some moleskins-ish later this week. Thanks for the instructable!