Duct Tape Designed Sketch Book




Introduction: Duct Tape Designed Sketch Book

A fun personalized sketch book made with cardboard and duct tape.  It measures 4 1/2" by 5 7/8" and has 46 pages to unleash your creativity.

Step 1: Supplies

This little sketch book can be made with stuff hanging around the house.



Duct tape (a variety is better for personalization but the standard will work)

Paper (I used printer paper)

String or Dental floss (I used both and preferred the floss)


Xacto knife


Ruler or straight edge


Additional Supplies:



Step 2: Preparing Signatures

As I understand it, when a piece of paper is folded in half it is called a folio.  When each folio is inserted one into the other it is called a signature. 

One sheet of paper created two folios.  Each signature is made up of three pieces of paper.  For this sketch book, I created four signatures using six folio's a piece, or twelve pieces of paper.

Fold each piece of paper in half making sure the edges line up.  Use a finger nail or the edge of a ruler to make the crease sharp.  Fold it back the other way and do the same.  Fold it  back at least one more time.  This breaks the fibers and allows for a clean tare. 

Lay the paper flat, holding one side down with the flat of a hand.  Starting at the top, tug the paper at a slight angle toward the body, keeping the paper as flat to the board as possible.  This should result in a clean tare.

NOTE: If there are problems getting a clean tare, the folded edge can always be dampened slightly to allow to fibers to give more easily.

Tare three pieces of paper in half.  There should now be six 81/2" x 5 1/2" pieces.

Fold the 6 pieces in half again for a 4 1/4" x 51/2" folio.  Place one inside the other making sure the straight edges are all on the same side.  Align the edges.

This should now be a signature of 12 pages.

Create three more signatures for a total of four.

Open one of the folios.  Mark 1/4" in for the edges, and 1" from the 1/4" mark in the center crease.  Use this as the guide for all the signatures.  Place the marked folio in the center of the signatures and use the needle or an awl to poke a hole through the marks. 

Be sure to place the marked folio back into the correct signature.

Step 3: Binding Signatures

Thread the needle with the floss or string.  Flatten the edge and push the needle through.  This should help lock the thread onto the needle.

Align the edges of the signatures.  Take one signature and push your needle through at the first hole ( starting at the left side) from the back leaving a tail of 2 or so inches.  Use a simple in and out stitch along the edge.  The needle should wind up on the back crease (on the right side).  Gently tug the floss taunt by pulling out toward the edges. 

Place the second signature atop the first, aligning the holes.  Push the needle through from back to front, binding the two signatures.  Repeat the in/out stitch.  Again, tug gently outward to make sure the binding is tight and the pages aligned.  Now tie a double knot using the tail and the threaded floss.

Repeat with the third signature.  The floss should be on the back crease, opposite to side the knot is on.  Slide the needle between the first and second signatures, from the center (left side) to the outside edge (right side).  Pull the floss through until a small loop is left.  Push the needle through the loop (from the left to the right).  The forming knot should look similar to a figure 8.  Tug upward gently until the knot is set and than give a firm tug to lock it in place.  This will bind the second signature to the third signature.

Align the fourth signature with the first three.  Repeat the in/out stitch.  When you reach the last hole (on the left), push the needle between the second and third signatures this time going from the center (now on the right) to the edge (now on the left).  Create the small loop and feed the needle through (from right to left).  Again, the knot should form a figure 8.   Tug gently upward to set than firmly to lock the knot. 

Trim the floss and tail leaving about 1/4" dangling.

For added support, Push the needle and a toothpick through the center threads along the back.  Cut a short piece of duct tape, about 2"x2" and carefully thread the tape under the floss.  Make sure everything is aligned properly and smooth down the tape.

Step 4: Cover

Use a signature as the template for the cover.  Place a signature onto the cardboard and trace around the edges.  Measure 1/8th" on the top, bottom and forward edge.

Cut out the first cover, trace it onto the remaining cardboard and cut along the edge.

Measure a 1/4" spine, the same length as the covers.  Lay out the covers and the spine leaving about a1/16th to 1/8th inch

Measure a length of duck tape about 1" past the edges of the edges of the covers.  Overlap lengths of duct tape 1/4" to 1/2" until it is about 1" past the top of the covers.  I found it easier to lay them sticky side down and pull up the sheet.

Center the covers and spine on the sheet of tape.  Measure 1/2" around the edges and trim.

Pull up the sheet of duct tape started at the bottom strip and center the covers and spine on the sticky side. 

Smooth down for firm adhesion. 

Cut the corner of the duct tape at a 45 degree angle, leaving 1/8 to 1/16 in of space from the corner.

Fold the bottom and top, from the center, smoothing as the tape is being pulled taunt. 

Continue with the sides until all the edges are folded in.

Step 5: Pocket

Measure a piece of cardboard about 2 1/2" and leaving about 1/8" around the bottom and the sides.

Mark on the inside cover where the the top of the pocket falls.  Lay a strip or two of duct tape on the inside cover.  Make sure to cover the mark.  Trim any excess tape.

If the pocket is forgotten, don't worry.  It is a simple matter of peeling up the duct tape of the flyleaf  and adding your pocket then.

Step 6: Binding the Sketchbook

Create a template for the flyleaf of the sketch book using another piece of paper torn in half the same dimensions as the folios.

Lay down a strip of duct tape longer than your template.  Overlap the duct tape 1/4" to 1/2" until there is a sheet slightly bigger than the template.

Line up the bottom edge of the template with the duct tape.  Hold the template flat and mark around the edges. 

Use a straight edge and an Xacto knife to cut off the excess tape.

Pull the sheet of duct tape up starting at the bottom strip.

Lay the bound signatures face down with the first page open.

Carefully line up the corner of the duct tape flyleaf with the open page of the signature and lightly place the duct tape onto the paper.  Should the flyleaf not line up properly, the duct tape can be pulled gently away from the paper and re-adjusted.  It helps to gently fold the duct tape sheet up so it doesn't catch and stick to the other pages.

Once alined, carefully smooth down the duct tape flyleaf onto the page until you reach the spine of the book.

Place the cover of the sketch book cardboard side up.  Line up the spine being careful to hold the duct tape flyleaf away from the cover.  A duct tape roll can be used to help prop the pages into place.  Starting at the spine, gently roll the flyleaf along the cover of the book.  Once it is in place, close the book to check the alignment.  Again, if the alignment is off with the cover, it can be readjusted at this time.

Use a ruler or straight edge to make sure the duct tape adheres to the seam between the cover and the pages.  Smooth the flyleaf down.

Repeat on the other side.

Step 7: Decorating

Pick the design desired for the sketch book.

Print or draw the design on a piece of paper.

Layer the duct tape with a 1/2" to a 1/4" overlap the height and width of the design.

Tape the design over the duct tape.

Use an Xacto knife to cut out the design and carefully pull away the excess tape, starting at the bottom layer.

Use the Xacto knife to gently peel the edge of the design up, and use a finger to keep the tape together. 

Transfer to the sketch book cover.  Once in place, press down for firm adhesion.

Step 8: Finishing Touches

Use an Xacto knife to cut the tape above the pocket. 

Cut a strip of of duct tape slightly shorter then the slit. 

Cut a slight angle (about 60 degrees) on the top corners.

It can be left plain or a design can be added.

Tuck the tapered edge into the pocket and fold the remaining tape over.


A pretty cool little sketch book anyone would be proud to use.

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    9 Discussions


    4 years ago

    Wow I came to see how you did the covers and ended up learning book binding! I've always wanted to do this. Can't wait to try it! ?


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Nice! I really like your designs, that is a really great use of duct tape.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I love your designs! Thanks so much for sharing your hard work and do have a splendorous day!


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you so much! It was a fun project, and have a great day!


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you! I'm happy to hear you enjoy the designs!