Inspired by a co-worker, I decided to make a notebook. My existing combination of Field Notes, generic lined notepads, and a random notebook from a local conference was functional, but I was ready for something more personalized. An easy to make notebook might help me actually use my notebooks more frequently since the material needed for a new one would generally be available in my home office.
- The new notebook should use graph paper.
- Each page is about half sheet (5.5 x 8.5 inches).
- The notebook should be stitched, not stapled.
Between Google and Pinterest, it seemed like a simple saddle stitched notebook was the way to go. I followed the stitching method from the video below that I found on some random website. It boils down to starting in the inside center of your collected pages and sewing the thread through pre-made holes. This creates a collection of pages called a signature. If you sew a cover on with your other pages, you have a simple notebook.
I don’t have a book press, so I folded the notebook by putting it under something heavy. This gave the book a pretty good crease. That’s it, my notebook was done. Why do the Field Notes people make so much money off of this?
- The thread used was thicker than it needed to be.
- My next simple notebook should use two strands of regular heavy-weight thread for binding the next book. This technique was suggested by a fellow maker whose own custom notebook is a thing of beauty.
- The cover was too thin.
- 65lb paper was used, largely because I could get 50 sheets for $2. I should add thickness by covering the paper with something (like stickers or decoupage) or using heavier weight paper.
- Attempts to even out the outer page edge almost ruined my new notebook.
- I tried a box cutter and ruler. Pressing hard and trying to drag across resulted in the paper and/or ruler siding. The result was uneven edges and accidentally cutting into the notebook’s cover.
- I tried a paper cutter, cutting the entire closed-book edge at once. The thickness of the entire book being cut caused the paper to shift. There was some tearing, and the resulting new edge is not quite straight.
- A co-worker suggested a method whereby I would make a series of light cuts, with a box cutter. The result should be a very nice, straight edge. Here’s a video: https://youtu.be/-FpR9LP0TZk?t=4m3s
Possible Project Extensions:
- Make a reusable cover. Maybe a variation of the Midori Style notebook: https://youtu.be/-FpR9LP0TZk.
- Make a “binder” aka a reusable cover that holds multiple smaller notebooks.
- Make a larger notebook by doing something fancy, like Coptic Stitch binding: https://coffeebreaksandrainydays.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/coptic-stitch-binding/.
- My next notebook should use smaller booklets (signatures?)