I Made a Notebook

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.

Project Goals:

  • 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?

Project Retro:

  • 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:


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