How to Make a Notebook

Hello Quill friends! Back-to-school is officially on the horizon for little ones and big ones alike. I know this because the seasonal aisle at Walmart is all backpacks and pencil cases nowadays.

Now that my academic years are (pretty much) over, I find myself looking back wistfully at all the new school supplies that I used to buy in preparation for the first day of school. Pens, pencils, rulers and notebooks—oh, how I loved the fresh start and feeling of promise that all those items imparted! I decided to revisit that fondness paper products by making my own little notebook.

I started by digging up a kit for a 3-hole pamphlet that the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild (CBBAG) sold at the Grimsby Wayzgoose this year. I’d been sitting on that little gem since April, so this was the perfect opportunity to finally put it to good use.

This awesome little kit from CBBAG contained everything I needed to make my own notebook and a few extra goodies, too!

Step 1: Cut the paper.

Half-sheets of 8.5 x 11 paper are all you need. Simply cut to size.

Step 2: Fold.

 The instructions specify that you use a bone folder to get a good edge. If you don’t have that, try a clean metal ruler—worked for me!

Step 3: Make a template.

The instructions tell you how to make a template in preparation for sewing your notebook.

Step 4: Poke holes.

The template tells you where to put them. Smart! You’re supposed to use an awl to do this step, but since I didn’t have one, I just used the needle that came in the package.

Step 5: Sew.

The instructions tell you exactly how to feed the needle through to make the book nice and strong. If you can tie a knot, you can do this!

Step 6: Enjoy!

I customized my notebook by adding a little colour to the binding. You could also use stickers, if you have them handy.

It took about half an hour all told to make my notebook. You could probably do it in half that time if you’re not a) going off script and adding extra stuff like I did and b) not trying to document the process in photos.

Thanks for following my adventures in notebook making. If you try your hand at the process, let me know how it goes. Otherwise, do visit the CBBAG website. They do some nifty stuff!

Happy crafting,

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The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.