I’m one of those crafters who likes to keep notes on what I’m doing. If I’m knitting or crocheting then I always like to have a notebook handy to jot down where I am in the pattern in case I get interrupted. My preferred size for craft notebooks is A6 as these fit nicely into project bags and are easy to carry around with me.
As you can imagine, I go through notebooks quite quickly so I thought I’d make one for my next project to show you how easy it is! I came across this gorgeous turquoise textured paper under my craft table – I found it in a Paperchase sale about 3 years ago and I’ve still got about 4 big sheets of it left (I’ve no idea why I bought so much!), so decided to use it to make the cover of the notebook.
I’ve got small supplies of good quality white and cream paper left in my stash, so decided to go for white. I always like to add a bit of interest to my notebooks though and add in other handmade papers, so set out seeing what else I could find that would fit in with the turquoise cover. Once I’d decided on what I was going to use, I cut it all to size using my guillotine and carefully folded each piece in half. I then experimented with the order in which I wanted the patterned pages and plain paper pages to appear.
As well as using patterned paper, you can jazz up your plain paper too – I opted to decorate the edge of one of the pieces using a pretty tulip stamp, and another by simply cutting a thin strip of patterned paper and gluing it down flush with the edge.
I also decided to use one of my ceramic buttons that been in my tin for a few years now and sew it onto the front cover.
So, once you’ve cut all your paper to size, folded it and decided what order you’d like it to appear in your notebook, it’s time to sew it together.
Now I always buy my bookbinding tools from The Vintage Paper Company and they have a really lovely guide to making a simple book here if you’d like to have a go, but I’ll try and explain my method below with the help of some photos.
You need to make yourself a stitching template out of stiff card that’s the same length as your book, and on which you’ve marked the centre point of the book, as well as 2 cms from the top and bottom (or wherever you want your stitch to finish.
Next, you push all the papers right into the cover so that they sit flush, and hold them in place with 2 small bulldog clips (or pegs etc) – one on each side. Now you need to place your book inside a really thick book or pile of magazines (an old telephone directory is ideal for this if you have one). Slide the template inside the book, right in the centre, and using an awl push right through all the layers into the book or phone directory below in the 3 places marked on the template. You want to make sure your tool goes all the way through so you have 3 good holes to thread your needle through.
Keeping the clips in place, it’s now time for the sewing. Thread a nice long length of thread (ideally a waxed linen bookbinding thread is perfect as it’s nice and strong, but you could use embroidery thread or any other thick thread you have).
I like to start my stitch on the inside of the book, but some folk prefer to start from the outside. Here’s how I do it:
- From the inside of the book, push the needle through the centre hole to the outside
- Insert the needle from the outside into the bottom hole and bring it through to the inside.
- Insert the needle from the inside into the top hole and take it through to the outside.
- Insert the needle from the outside back into the centre hole.
- Ensure that the two ends of your thread end up on either side of the central stitch on the inside of your book.
- Pull the ends tightly and turn the book over to check that the thread is lying flush with the book on the outside.
- Make a double knot and trim the ends. I like to leave a good inch and make a feature of the knot.
If you start your stitch from the outside, then the knot will end up on the outside too, so it’s just a case of which you prefer really.
If you were making a larger book, you could work 2 smaller pamphlet stitches on the spine rather that one larger one, but again, that’s up to you.
Once the stitching is finished, you can remove the clips and there you have it – one unique notebook all ready to be filled with lots more crafting!