Make Your Own Notebooks!




Designer living in NYC for grad school. I love laser cutting, Adobe's Creative Suite, random art ...

Stop buying Moleskine or Field Notes notebooks and start making your own! It's super easy and saves you money and a trip to the store. This project uses a pamphlet stitch to bind a cute notebook.

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Step 1: Gather Your Materials

You will need:

- 5 sheets of blank printer paper, 8.5” x 11”
- a ruler
- a pencil
- an X-acto knife
- decorative paper for covers
- string
- needle

Optional book making tools: awl and bone folder

Step 2: Prepare Your Paper

Cut your printer paper in half to make 10 sheets of 8.5” wide by 5.5” tall paper. Using a bone folder, fold each new sheet into half to make them 4.25” wide by 5.5” tall. If you don't have a bone folder, use your fingers to crease the paper.

Step 3: Prepare the Cover

Cut a 8.5” wide by 5.5” tall cover from a piece of decorative paper, and fold it in half.

Step 4: Prepare the Spine Holes

Place printer paper inside of the cover and, using the awl, poke three holes in the spine: one in the center and one about two inches from the center hole on each side. If you don't have an awl, you can use your needle or X-acto knife to poke these holes. Be careful not to cut yourself with the awl and X-acto; both are really sharp!

Step 5: Thread Your Needle

String your needle with enough string as three times the height of your notebook, about 16.5". I'm using waxed linen thread, but you can use any type of string or ribbon to bind the notebook.

Step 6: Sewing Time!

Starting on the outside, pull the string three-fourths of the way through the middle hole, leaving the rest of the thread hanging without a knot.

Step 7:

Take the needle through the top hole, pulling tight but without pulling the extra thread through. 

Step 8:

Take the needle back through the middle hole.

Step 9:

Finally, take the needle through the bottom hole.

Step 10: Finish With a Bow!

Tie a bow with the beginning string and the extra string, pulling tightly. Cut off any extra string.

Step 11: You're Done!

You've made your own beautiful notebook! If you want a true Field Notes feel, use a corner rounder punch and use kraft cardstock for the covers. The possibilities are endless with the types of papers you can use for the inside and cover and the different types of string you can use to bind it!

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16 Discussions


1 year ago

This is gr8! I'm definitely gonna make this 2day and I'm gonna design the cover on my computer!


3 years ago

Can you use staples?


3 years ago

Cool. I will try this.


4 years ago on Introduction

I had so much fun doing this! I didn't use a ruler, since everything was supposed to be in half I just folded it! No need for a ruler! I honestly feel so successful right now! Thank you! <3


4 years ago

Nice use of the pamphlet stitch! If it's alright, though, I'd like to offer an alternate stitch for consideration; when you start through the middle hole and through the top hole, stitch next through the bottom hole and then back through the middle. That way you can tie the knot over the thread and keep it snug against the spine.


4 years ago

Perfect gift for my best friend .


4 years ago on Introduction

This was really fun, easy, and simple! :-)



5 years ago on Introduction

"" is a nice way too.


Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

I'm thinking whether a "clous tête d'homme" (aka finishing nails, panel pin, Round-head nail or headless nail) can do the job?


6 years ago on Introduction

Thanks for putting this together! I love Field Notes notebooks, but they can get expensive to collect. I've made my own notebooks similar to these, except I followed the FN style and simply stapled them. Takes a little experimentation & practice to staple it just right, so I want to try your sewn method!

I highly recommend using a corner punch, as a well used notebook will definitely get curled corners if you don't round them off. I prefer the squeeze type corner punch, like this Fiskars model—it's easier on the wrists and you can see that you've aligned the edges of the paper correctly before punching. Alternatively, you can simply cut 45° corners with an xacto knife or scissors, a la Battlestar Galactica paper. That works just as well w.r.t. non-curling corners.

Speaking of paper, especially for FN fans, you can print all sorts of customized graph paper, from basic grids to light grey dots, small crosses, or even music staves at

1 reply

Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

Thanks for your comment and helpful suggestions! I will definitely try out the Fiskars' corner punch (I've been looking for a new one), and I love the idea of printing out custom pages.