I’ve always been a notebook lover. Always. I remember as a kid having so many notebooks that they crowded my shelves and were often scattered on the floor. I had a notebook for everything, and each time one was filled up, I bought a new one. I haven’t really changed that much, though I think I have less these days. I think with technology and all the amazing things you can do and apps you can buy, actually writing in notebooks seems time consuming and silly. But I think it’s important to keep hand writing, even if all you write is your shopping list, or to remind you to do something.
I was wondering, a few weeks ago, if I could make a quick and simple notebook, that was light and could be put into any bag. A lot of notebooks are hard covered, with spiral binding, but I wanted something easy to carry around with me. So I made some!They are super easy to make, and will only take about 10 minutes to assemble; then you can decorate them however you want!
Here’s what you’ll need
Paper – lined or blank
Card – I used black, and then did another in red, and in blue, but you can use any colour you’d like
Sewing machine and thread – if you don’t have one, you can always sew by hand
Paper-clips or bulldog clips – these will be to hold the pages together
Scissors – for cutting the paper and thread
Things to decorate it with (see decoration suggestions at the bottom)
DIY Notebooks – How To
1. Decide how many pages you’d like your notebook to be. Because you will be sewing, you need to keep in mind that it can’t be very thick, or your sewing machine might have a tantrum and break. I went with 10 pages, which will create 20 sheets to write/draw on.
2. This step is for those of you who have card that is the same size as your paper. I found that after I had sewn my pages in and folded the entire notebook in half (we’ll get to that), that the pages stuck out a bit from the card cover. To fix this, simply cut off about 1cm around your pages, so they become slightly smaller than your cover.
3. Fold all your pages in half, and also the card cover.
4. Place your pages flat on top of your cover, lining up the centre fold you created in step 3.
5. To hold everything in place, and make sure you don’t have a page sneakily sticking out, use paper clips or bulldog clips to hold the pages together. This will ensure that when you sew, you’re sewing down the centre line of all the pages.
6. Time to sew. Set your sewing machine to a medium-loose stitch (I had mine at 4), and chose a thread that is either the same colour as your pages, or as your cover. I went with white. Place your notebook carefully under the needle, manually bring the needle down use you get it in the right place. Now you just need to sew down the line.
Tip: Go slowly! I can’t really emphasise this enough. Even if you don’t have many pages, it will still be quite a bit thicker
than fabric. If you go too fast, the needle might snap. Slow and steady wins the notebook race.
Tip: Make sure you back stitch both at the beginning, and at the end. This will ensure that the thread doesn’t come loose.
8. Decorate your notebook with pretty things.
9. Make some for all your friends and family. 🙂
Paint – Paint a picture, or simply splatter and flick paint on the cover to create an arty look. You could also try water marbling, and use that as a cover (see above picture).
Magazine pictures – Cut out your favourite styles, makeup, craft items etc from magazines and create a collage.
Scrapbooking paper – Scrapbooking is always bright and colourful. Try using strips of different designs, or covering the entire front with one style.
Wrapping paper – There are some very cool wrapping paper designs out there, so if you happen upon one you like, this could make for a very cool notebook cover.
Wallpaper – Yes, you read correctly. You can often find sample books of wallpaper in charity/thrift stores, or in art supplies stores. This is great, because it gives the notebook texture, but is still thin enough to work easily with.
Material – Have scraps of fabric lying around? Why not use them up and cover your notebook with them? Use Mod Podge (or similar) to stick it on, and fold the edges into the front covers of the notebook. If you don’t like the edges showing, cover them up with a rectangle of fabric, or fun scrap booking paper.
Pre-printed card – Print off a favourite photo you’ve taken onto card, and use that as the cover. You would treat it exactly the same as the blank card. You may want to cover with a layer of Mod Podge (or similar) in case you spill something on it, and the ink runs.