How to Make Your Own Notebook

Three Methods:Making a Gold Leaf NotepadMaking a Pocket NotebookMaking a Moleskine Style Notebook

Making your own notebook is a fun way to make your diary or journal all your own. You can make a simple notebook out of note cards and gold leaf, or you can try your hand at book binding and make your own Moleskine inspired booklet. Or, if you want something a little smaller, make a pocket sized notebook to keep with you when you're out and about.

Method 1
Making a Gold Leaf Notepad

  1. 1
    Gather your supplies. You should be able to find all the necessary materials at your local craft store. When shopping for gold leaf, avoid the "peel and stick" variety. Search for a gold leaf kit that includes gold leaf sheets, adhesive, and a sealer. Gather the following to make your notebook:[1]
    • 1 pack of 4" x 6" note cards
    • Glue
    • Craft knife
    • Gold leaf kit
    • Painter's tape
    • Foam brush
    • Card stock
    • Ruler
    • Bone folder
    • Pencil
    • Rubber band or clip
  2. 2
    Score your note cards. Stack your note cards taking care to keep the edges even. Use your craft knife to make small cuts along one of the 4" edges of your note cards.[2]
    • Scoring your note cards will help the glue stick to the cards, creating a better bond.[3]
  3. 3
    Apply a layer of glue to your cards. Bind your cards with a rubber band or a clip. Make sure you keep the edges straight. Use a brush to apply a layer of glue to the scored edge of your note cards.[4]
    • You will need to add a total of 3 layers of glue. Let the first layer of glue dry before adding another.[5]
  4. 4
    Prepare your card stock. Measure the thickness of your note cards. If you used a single pack of 4" x 6" note cards, your stack is probably around 3/4" thick. If so, measure a piece of card stock that is 12 3/4" long and 4" wide.[6]
    • If you are using a different size note card, double the length of the card and add the thickness. For example, if you are using a stack of 4" x 8" note cards, you will need to first measure the thickness of the stack, and then add that number to 16". The width of your card stock will still be 4".
    • Using a ruler and bone folder, make two score lines 6" from each end of card stock. This should leave you with a center strip that is 3/4" wide. This center strip will be the binding area for your notepad.[7]
  5. 5
    Apply the gold leaf. Turn your card stock over and use your painter's tape to fix it to a flat surface. If you want to make a pattern with the gold leaf, use the painter's tape to make the outline.[8]
    • Apply a thin layer of the gold leaf adhesive to the card stock and let it dry for at least 2 minutes, or until it feels tacky. If you try to apply the gold leaf while the adhesive is still wet, the gold leaf will not stick.[9]
    • Lay a layer of gold leaf down and carefully smooth it out. If you bought your gold leaf in a kit, you should have instructions for applying gold leaf. Most kits come with small sheets of wax paper to help you smooth the gold leaf out. Use your foam brush to further smooth the gold leaf.[10]
    • Once the gold leaf is dry, use your foam brush to wipe away any excess pieces.[11]
    • Apply a thin layer of sealer to the gold leaf. The sealer will prevent the gold leaf from getting scratched. Let the sealer dry and then remove the painter's tape.[12]
  6. 6
    Glue your note cards to the card stock. Turn your card stock over and add some glue to the center strip you marked off earlier. Place the scored and glued side of your note cards into the center strip and hold it in place. Let the glue dry completely before using your notebook.[13]

Method 2
Making a Pocket Notebook

  1. 1
    Gather your supplies. You should be able to find everything you need to make a pocket notebook at your local craft store. A rotary cutting mat isn't necessary, but may be useful if you don't have another flat surface to cut on. You'll need the following to make your notebook:[14]
    • Craft knife
    • PVA glue
    • Stapler
    • Graph paper
    • 11x14 Bristol board
    • Paper cutter
    • Ruler or straight edge
    • Corner punch
    • Large rotary cutting mat
  2. 2
    Prepare your paper. Trim 10-12 sheets of graph paper and one sheet of Bristol board to 7" x 5.5" using your paper cutter.[15]
  3. 3
    Make your cover. You can make a cover out of plain Bristol board if you like, or you can make your cover more decorative. Use anything from old repair manuals to comic books to personalize your notebook.[16]
    • Apply a layer of PVA glue to your Bristol board. Make sure you have enough to create a firm bond, but don't add so much that it ruins your board.[17]
    • Spread the glue out so that it covers the entire piece of Bristol board. Lay the board on your chosen cover and smooth it out using a ruler or straight edge. Try to remove any air bubbles that might pop up.[18]
    • Trim any excess cover material from the edges using your craft knife.[19]
  4. 4
    Measure the spine of your notebook. Stack your sheets of graph paper so the edges are flush. Place your cover on top of the graph paper, keeping all the edges flush, and use your ruler to measure 3.5" in.[20]
    • If it helps, mark the middle of your cover with a pencil so you know where the spine is.
  5. 5
    Staple your notebook together. Keeping the pages straight, add at least three staples down the spine of your notebook. Space your staples evenly down the spine.[21]
    • Use a straight edge on the center fold. Place your ruler along the staples and fold one end of your notebook over. This will ensure you get a straight fold and will keep your notebook even.[22]
    • Use a corner punch if you plan on carrying your notebook around in your pocket or purse. Rounding the corners can help keep the pages from getting bent.[23]

Method 3
Making a Moleskine Style Notebook

  1. 1
    Gather your supplies. Making a Moleskine style notebook requires some special supplies. You should be able to find everything you need online or at your local craft store. You'll need the following to make your notebook:[24]
    • 24 sheets of 8 1/2" x 11" computer paper
    • 1 sheet of 8 1/2" x 11" vellum, or marbled paper
    • 1 piece of 9" x 5 5/8" Naugahyde
    • 1 sheet of 1 1/2" x 5" cheesecloth
    • Upholstery thread
    • Small sheet of wax paper
    • Bookbinder's or other large needle
    • Beeswax
    • Bookbinder's awl
    • PVA glue
    • Craft knife
    • Ruler
    • T-square and triangle
    • Pencil
    • Bone folder
    • Binder clips
  2. 2
    Cut your paper down to size. Each sheet of 8 1/2" x 11" paper will give you two sheets of 7" x 5 1/2" paper for your notebook. Use your T-square and triangle to make cut lines on one sheet of paper. This sheet will serve as a guide so you can cut multiple sheets at a time.[25]
    • Stack anywhere between 6 and 12 sheets together and make sure the edges are flush. Place your guide sheet on top of the stack. Use your T-square as a straight edge, and use your craft knife to cut through the stack.[26]
    • Cutting multiple sheets of paper may be difficult, so start with fewer until you feel comfortable cutting more.[27]
    • Repeat this process until you have cut all 24 sheets of paper, and your vellum, down to the correct size.[28]
  3. 3
    Fold your paper. Use your bone folder to fold each piece of paper, or folio, in half. If you need to, make a mark at the 3 1/2" line along the long edge of each sheet.[29]
    • Try to make your folds as strong as possible so that you can lay each sheet flat.[30]
    • Fold your vellum in the same way, and set it aside for later.[31]
  4. 4
    Collate your paper. Take six of your folded pieces of paper and collate them by stacking one piece on top of the other. Once you've stacked six pieces, fold them and lay them flat. They should look like small booklets. Try to keep the sheets aligned on the bottom and the spine.[32]
    • Repeat this process with the remaining sheets, working six at a time. When you finish a set, stack it on top of the previous booklet. As you work, keep all the edges lined up, even those of the finished booklets.[33]
    • Keep each booklet, or signature, in the same direction.[34]
  5. 5
    Mark the spine. Take your stack of signatures and make sure the spines and bottom edges are all in line. Bind them all together using binder clips. Place one at the top, and one at the bottom.[35]
    • Don't worry if the top edge is a little jagged. This is the edge where you made your cuts, and it's normal for it to be a little off. Just make sure your spines and bottom edges are in line.[36]
    • Measure 1/2" from the bottom edge of one of the spines and make a mark with your pencil. On the same spine, make three more marks, one at 2", one at 3 1/2", and one at 5". Mark the remaining spines according to these marks.[37]
  6. 6
    Punch holes in each spine. Take the binder clips off your stack of signatures. Take one of your signatures and open it. Place the crease on the edge of a desk, or something you don't mind poking holes into. Use your awl or a large needle to punch a hole in each of the marks you made on the spine.[38]
    • Take care to make sure each hole is on the edge of the spine, and not in the sheet itself. This may take some practice. You may have better luck if you lay the signature flat on a piece of cardboard and punch all the way through. If you try this method, make sure your pages don't slip out of alignment.[39]
    • Repeat this process with the remaining signatures.[40]
  7. 7
    Measure a length of upholstery thread that is roughly 44" long. It's better to have more thread than not enough, so make it a little longer if you want to be safe.[41]
    • You want the thread to be equal to the number of signatures multiplied by the height of the spine. The spine in this notebook is 5 1/2" and there are a total of 8 signatures. If you choose to make a smaller notebook, or one with fewer pages, follow this formula to determine how much thread you need.[42]
    • Thread the needle and pull around 6" through. Use the beeswax to wax the thread. The beeswax is optional, but it should make sewing a lot easier.[43]
  8. 8
    Start sewing. Open one of your signatures to the center and push your needle through the bottom set of holes from the outside. Pull all but 2" through the hole.[44]
    • Move to the next hole, and push your needle from the inside to the outside. Pull all the slack outside. Push your needle through the third hole, moving from the outside to the inside, and then from the inside out on the fourth hole.[45]
    • When you finish on the fourth hole, pull all the slack out of the signature. Hold the short piece of thread at the bottom and pull the rest of the thread in line with the spine. If you pull at a ninety degree angle, you run the risk of tearing the holes.[46]
  9. 9
    Sew your signatures together. Grab another signature and place it next to the one you just finished sewing. Push your needle into the top hole of the second signature and pull the thread taught. Keep the spines of the signatures close together.[47]
    • Push the needle through the second hole from the inside of the second signature. Then, push the needle through the corresponding hole of the first signature. Keep the thread somewhat taught throughout the binding process.[48]
    • Next, push the needle out of the third hole on the first signature. You should be threading in the opposite direction as you were when you made your first pass through the first signature. Push your needle through the corresponding hole in the second signature, working from the outside in.[49]
    • You should be on the final hole of the second signature now. Push your needle from the inside out on the fourth hole of the second signature.[50]
  10. 10
    Use a square knot to fasten the two signatures together. You should see two pieces of thread hanging from the bottom of each signature. Tie the two signatures together using a square knot.[51]
    • Take the two pieces of thread and cross them. Run the right hand knot under the left hand knot, and then back over. Pull this bottom knot somewhat taught.[52]
    • Then, cross the two pieces of thread at the top, again keeping the right hand piece on top of the left hand piece. Wrap the right hand piece around the left hand piece and pull the knot tight.[53]
    • You can triple tie the knot if you want extra security, but it is not necessary. Don't cut any of the excess thread off yet.[54]
  11. 11
    Sew the remaining signatures together. Place the third signature next to the first two. Sew through the third signature using the same method as you did with the first two. Make sure to run your needle through the third and second signatures to sew them together.[55]
    • The last hole you exit on the third signature should be the top hole. To secure the third signature to the first and second, use a kettle stitch. Take your needle and run it under the thread that binds the first and second signature together on the top hole. Pull the thread tight through the loop.[56]
    • Use a kettle stitch each time you exit the last hole of a signature. The holes you end on will alternate from top to bottom with each new signature.[57]
    • Repeat this process until you have sewn all your signatures together. When you have sewn all the signatures together, tie the ends of the thread together and cut any excess thread off.[58]
  12. 12
    Glue the signatures together. Place your sewn signatures between a set of heavy books or weights. Leave a small amount of the spine sticking out.[59]
    • Apply a layer of glue along the spine. Take care not to let any glue bleed between the pages. Push the ends of the thread down and apply a layer of glue over them as well.[60]
    • Cut your cheesecloth so that it is a little shorter than the spine and 3-4 times as wide. Make sure the cheesecloth is centered on the spine and glue it down. You can add a layer of glue on top of the cheesecloth to ensure you have a good bond. Let the glue dry overnight before adding the cover.[61]
  13. 13
    Add the cover to your notebook. Place a piece of wax paper under the first page of your book. Make sure the wax paper is larger than the page. The wax paper will prevent you from getting any glue on the rest of your book.[62]
    • Spread a layer of glue on the first page and place a piece of the cut vellum on top of it. Make sure all the edges are in line and press the vellum down firmly.[63]
    • Add another layer of glue to the top of the vellum. Wrap some of the cheesecloth that is hanging off the spine over the top of the vellum. You may need to add a little more glue on top of the cheesecloth to make a firm bond.[64]
    • Take your Naugahyde and line it up over the vellum. Drape the other end of the Naugahyde over the spine, or fold it around to the back of your book. Press the Naugahyde into the glue firmly.[65]
    • When the cover dries to one side of your notebook, repeat this process on the other side.[66]
    • When you are ready to glue the other side, make sure to pull the cover tight around the notebook. Place the notebook between heavy books or weights when you finish gluing the cover, and let it dry overnight.[67]
  14. 14
    Trim the cover. When your notebook is dry, you may need to trim some excess material from the cover. Make the cover a little larger than the rest of the notebook to protect your pages.[68]

Sources and Citations

Show more... (65)

Article Info

Categories: Diary and Secrets