Easy Cardboard Sketchbook




Introduction: Easy Cardboard Sketchbook

About: I'm an artist, environmentalist, animal lover, gardener, recycling nut, a high school teacher, crafter, Mom, Christian and widow who reads a lot in between figuring out how to do things.
  • This cardboard sketchbook is so easy to make and only requires the minimum of supplies.
  • You can make a sketch book in about 15 minutes.
  • You can modify it to be as beautiful and versatile as you need.
Exacto knife or sharp box cutter

For advanced versions add:
Yarn, string or waxed linen thread
Fabric scraps or wrapping paper

Teacher Notes

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Step 1: Cut to Size

Figure out how big you want the sketchbook to be, For regular scrap cardboard (there are actually different strengths/sizes of cardboard), you want a sketchbook that is no bigger than 5x7.

Cut your cardboard about 2x as long as you need with an extra inch added, but you'll need to look at the next step before you cut so that you do it the right direction. So for a 5x7 sketchbook you will cut it 5 inches wide by 15 inches long (7 x 2 + 1).

Cut your paper so that it is slightly smaller so it fits inside without the paper showing.  Cut as many papers as you can comfortably staple together - I stapled 10 sheets of nice sketching paper and it was almost too many.

Step 2: Corrugated Sandwich

1620s, "wrinkled" (of skin, etc.), pp. adj. from corrugate. Meaning "bent into curves or folds" (of iron, cardboard, etc., for elasticity and strength) is from 1853.
(Thank you Dictionary.com)

Cardboard is a sandwich: On the outside is smooth paper facing (the bread) and on the inside is the corrugated paper (chunky peanut butter)

Cardboard has grain or ridges that give it strength and also will let you bend it . You need to look at the sides of the cardboard to figure out which direction the ridges go- this is important, but if you mess up-- well not a big deal because you've probably got more cardboard and can redo without going down to the hardware store. (Oh darn! one of my favorite places to go!)

Once you figure out the direction of the corrugation, you'll cut your cardboard so that it is parallel (use Dictionary.com if you've forgotten what this word means) to the long side. If you have a paper cutter, use it for this step to make it pretty straight.

Step 3: Fold-over Sandwich

You're making a fold-over sandwich...
Use your ruler and measure your cardboard as demonstrated in picture 1. Draw lines with pencil or marker for the middle section.

Then with an exacto knife or box cutter, cut through the paper of one side of the cardboard on your marked lines. Then peel the paper off to reveal the corrugated ribs so that you see something like picture 2. Don't worry if it doesn't all come off, you are releasing the cardboard so that it will bend easily.

Bend your cardboard in half (fold it over).

Put your paper inside centering it doesn't show on the edges and it is firmly against the fold edge. Staple through the bended edge and paper several times. Make sure you flatten the back of the staple so that it doesn't poke you later (ouch!) or you can poke holes and lace up the side if you're inclined.

Add any other stuff so that your sketchbook is as beautiful as desired.

Voila! Sketchbook! Go sketch!!

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    4 Discussions

    This is awesome! When school starts I always try to find unique things to carry with me, I always spend time decorating around 10 notebooks (on clearance for 13 cents at target after school starts :D) just so I am different...


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Enjoy-- at some point I'll put up an instructable about the different books that I've made/I make with my students. All are cheap, unique and easy to do.