I don’t know about you, but I LOVE little sketchbooks & notebooks. There's always one in my bag and I use them for everything (to do lists, drawing, address book, jot down a quick idea, etc.). They are super easy to make and are great to have on hand.
I’m going to show you how to make a sketchbook/notebook that is 4”x5” but you can use these steps to make any size little book.
Heavy weight paper (for the cover)
Paper creaser (or any flat edge)
I’m using scrap paper for this notebook because I’ll be using it to jot down quick notes/ideas. But you can use any kind of paper you like - feel free to use drawing paper or printer paper - whatever you have is great.
It’s not an exact science but about 12 - 15 pages works well for this size sketchbook/notebook.
Start by cutting your paper down to the correct size - for a 4"x5" notebook, the paper needs to be 8"x5".
Next, fold your paper in half using a paper creaser or a flat edge. In book binding they use a bone paper creaser (most are probably plastic) but any flat edge will work (butterknife, ruler, etc).
Then open your pages back up and stack them.
You’ll want to use a slightly heavier paper for the cover, like scrapbook paper, chipboard, cardstock, or any other heavy weight paper you have. You can use blank cardstock, draw/paint your own designs, or use a paper that already has a pattern on it, like scrapbook paper.
Cut your cover to match the size of your paper, then fold and crease it just like we did above with the sheets of paper.
Open the cover back up and stack your cover on top of the papers.
With your pages and cover stacked together, use binder clips to clip everything together on both ends, making sure the edges line up neatly.
Next, we'll mark where the staples will go. I’m going to use two staples but for larger notebooks/sketchbooks you might need three (or more).
I want my staples to be 1" in from the top and bottom edge. So I'll measure in 1" and make a dot, then measure the length of the staple and make a second dot.
Do this again on the opposite end.
Use a push pin to make a hole at each dot you marked (make sure it goes all the way through to the cover).
Starting from the cover side, push your staple all the way through.
Use a flat edge to fold the staples over.
*If you have a long-armed stapler then you could obviously skip this part and just use a stapler. Just make sure the flat part of the staple faces out (cover side).
Remove the clips and fold your notebook closed. The pages won't line up and will stick out past the cover - this is called page creep - don't worry, we're about to fix that.
Place your ruler at the edge of the cover. You want to cut the jagged edge of the paper but not the cover, so line your ruler up right at the edge of the cover.
Use one hand to hold the ruler in place and the other to slowly cut through all the paper layers using an X-acto knife. You won’t get through all the layers in one pass - just hold the ruler steady and take your time. It might take several passes but you’ll get through all the layers.
Round Corners (totally optional)
I love rounded corners so I went through and used this little paper punch to round all the corners. Not necessary but I like how it looks.
And that's it - it's super easy and you don't need any special tools or fancy paper - just use what you've got on hand and have fun!