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Moffit Makerspace: Simple Handmade Notebook

Moffitt Makerspace Tutorials


This is a tutorial to introduce users to the process of creating a simple handmade notebook using either the resources available at the Moffitt Makerspace or common household resources. The tutorial is broken down into the following sections:

  1. Materials Needed
  2. Preparing the Paper
  3. Preparing for Binding
  4. Binding

Below is an example of a finished product with a custom vinyl sticker for decoration.



Materials Needed

As this is a beginner-friendly maker project, these materials should be fairly easy to obtain and can easily be substituted for a similar alternative:

  • Printer paper (8.5x11 inches)
  • Cardstock with same or slightly larger dimensions as printer paper
  • String/Yarn
  • Nail/Needle or another thin sharp instrument
  • [Optional] Hammer
  • [Optional] Plastic foam surface

Step 1: Preparing the Paper

  1. Gather around 10 sheets of printer paper. More or less based on how many pages you want to have in your final notebook. The total number of pages is equal to twice the number of sheets of printer paper you use.

  2. Fold each sheet in half widthwise, aka hamburger style. It is best to fold them individually, as folding them in a stack all at once may cause uneven or incomplete folding.

  3. Once complete, select your preferred color of cardstock. This will serve as the cover of your notebook.

  4. Fold the cardstock in half akin to how you folded the printer paper.

  5. Insert all the folded printer paper in between each other and the folded cardstock, as though you were making a stack of taco shells.

  6. Ensure that the pages are all aligned and that the spine of the folds are as close to each other as possible.

Step 2: Preparing for Binding

  1. Holding the pages together with one hand, take your needle or other sharp item and poke at least five evenly spaced holes in the spine of the book to prepare it for binding. Pierce from the inside of the folds, using the folds themselves to guide the needle to the spine of the book and not in the middle of a page. These holes do not need to be perfectly spaced but take care to ensure that the papers do not slip and misalign themselves between piercings.

  2. It is recommended to use binder clips to hold the pages together so as to simplify the above process. To further simplify the process, you can also place the paper on a foam or otherwise permeable surface and use a hammer to gently drive the nails through while the binder clips hold the pages in place.

Step 3: Binding

  1. Once the holes have been punched in the spine, take the string and thread it through the holes in an oscillating pattern.
  2. If you have a sewing needle and thread, binding it is a very simple saddle stitch. If you do not have a sewing needle, and just have a nail and perhaps yarn, it's still a simple stitch, but maneuvering the string through the pierced holes may be difficult if the diameters aren't wide enough. In that case, use the nail to help push the thread or yarn through each hole.
  3. Start at one end of the spine, alternating your stitch back and forth across the spine until you wrap back around to the starting hole.
  4. Once your binding is complete, cut off excess thread and tie off the loose ends to secure the binding. At this point, your journal is effectively complete. You can remove any binder clips you may have used, and feel free to start writing, sketching, or decorating your journal.
  5. A very popular option for decorating is to use custom designed vinyl stickers, be sure to check out our tutorial on that if that sounds like something you’re interested in!
  • Simple animation illustrating how to bind the notebook. Last step consists of ensuring everything is pulled taut and the two loose ends are tied and trimmed