I really like the idea of making small gifts to give people around the holidays. Putting them together is something that makes me really happy, and it’s also nice to have a reason to craft other than for yourself. I mean, there are only so many little books one person needs. Or can ever fill. So this year I thought it would be fun to make little blank notebooks for a few people. And since I was in the getting things done spirit (see also: the beer bottle cap wreath), I actually did it. And they turned out so cute, if you ask me. Here’s how I did it.
I used patterned file folders and an old card holder/envelope that came in a Piperlime box for the covers, mostly because they were heavier paper and they already had creases that I could work around.
I wanted the finished books to be 4.5 inches high and 3.5 inches wide, so I cut the pages 4.5 by 7 inches. I used a variety of paper that sort of coordinated – loose-leaf paper, graph paper, old planner pages, solid colored cardstock, and some patterned scrapbook paper. (I didn’t use the kind with gridlines on the back, because once the pages were in the books, both sides of the paper would be visible.)
I have been collecting spools of ribbon like this from the dollar aisle at Target for a long time, and it was perfect, because each spool had about 12 inches of ribbon, which ended up being exactly the amount I needed for each book.
Once I had all the pages cut, I arranged them in four piles and put them in the order I wanted them to appear in the books. (Haphazardly on purpose, you know, so they wouldn’t look so organized. I am organized even when I try to make it look like I’m NOT being organized!) Then I folded them in half in batches. That part was kind of annoying, because to make nice folds you’re supposed to use a tool called a bone folder, which until now I’ve brushed off as completely frivolous. Who knew?
I found a book binding tutorial online that explained the method I wanted to use. Their instructions said to punch tiny holes in the pages of the book using an awl, which I don’t have, and then to sew the binding with embroidery floss or thread. I wanted to use ribbon because it seemed like it would be a bit sturdier, not to mention prettier. So I punched three holes, in several pages at a time, with my boring old hole puncher. That tutorial does a better job of explaining how I threaded the ribbon through.
It was a little fussy, making sure that the ends were even and the ribbon lay flat, but totally worth it.
If you’ve threaded the ribbon correctly (or, the way I did it), both ends should exit the center hole and hang on the outside of the spine of your book. Then tie them in a bow, and you’re good to go. After I finished all four books, I left them under a pile of heavy books for a few days so they could flatten out a little more. I think that if I’d used a bone folder to make better creases, this part would have been unnecessary.
I decorated them (or if you want to use a fancier term, I embellished them) using a sharpie, a shipping label and stamps, and some alphabet letters. But really, that’s the fun part and that’s where anything goes.
It was a lot of fun to put these together, and I could see doing this again and trying out different sizes, different varieties of paper… the possibilities are endless!