Sewn Book Instructions




Make your own scrap paper notebook!


Step 1: Paper Gathering

Gather paper that is printed on one side. Scraps from a library or near a photocopy copier or printer is a great place to find scraps of paper that no one else wants. Try to find some heavier paper for the cover stock, possibly an old magazine or an outdated poster on the wall.

Step 2: Cut

Cut the paper in half (about 10 pieces of paper, to make 20 pages)

Step 3: Cut the Cover

Cut the cover stock you have chosen slightly larger than the paper about 1/4 inch up and down, and 3/16 inch in width

Step 4: Clipping

Take the paper and center it up and down in the cover and tap it so it all lines up along the spine.
Clip it together along the three non spine sides with paper clips or whatever else you have that might work (bull clips also work well)

Step 5: Punching the Holes

Unthread your sewing machine, using the handwheel to punch the holes along your spine. The longer the stitch length the better. It might be a bit hard to turn the wheel, but it should work. If you happen to have an industrial machine, it should sew right through it.

Step 6: Sewing

Now line up the holes from the machine. Thread your machine, and sew through your holes. Use whatever colours you want, I prefer to use different colours in the top and the bobbin

Step 7: Finishing

Tie the threads on each end, and dab them with a little glue on the knots. And woo-hoo, you have a lovely book to write stuff in, or even draw something cute in.



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    5 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I apologize for asking what may appear to be the dumb question of the day, but here goes anyway.  Why punch the holes (by hand-turning the wheel) before sewing the pages together?  Would it not be just as easy/hard to do one pass with the threaded machine?  (I ask, because I keep looking for ways to salvage my books, both paperback and hardcover, that have fallen apart from many readings, being left in the car in Phoenix during the long, hot summer, etc.)


    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I'm not sure if this method would work for your books, as it would get rid of some of the interior margin.  What you might want to try is clamping all of the pages together, and with a paintbrush paint a layer of glue along the spine edges of all the pages.  Allow the glue to dry and then repeat another 2 times. 

    As for why I punch the holes first.  When I do this on my sewing machine the friction from the process of punching the holes is too much for the thread and it snaps, but if the holes are already punched it cuts down on the friction, and it makes it all the way along without breaking.

    Hope this helps!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    You're right - they aren't the most durable books in the world - but they are a nice way to make a quick and easy book from scrap paper! There are a few ways to make them last longer including taping over the stitching or like you suggested adding a cover. I generally use them notebooks for class, and as I am always jotting down something - they become full very quickly.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    hmm.... it wont last a great deal of time without being properly bound, although it is a decent guide on how to do a quick ghetto oversewn binding before adding a cover.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    How neat! This would, of course, work with first-hand paper, too... Your notebook looks very nice!