collection of diy notebooks and fabric notebook covers

Quickie project: how to make a notebook {+ bonus fabric notebook cover}

I’ve got an easy 2-for-1 tutorial up my sleeve for today! We’re taking on how to make a notebook + a DIY notebook cover.

I don’t know about you but my kids are paper shredders. Daily there’s loose drawings, paper sculptures, airplanes and puzzles all around our house. While I love that my husband and I are raising creative kids, there’s times when paper paper everywhere gets to be too much. With that in mind, I remembered these small DIY notebooks I used to make often. I figure if all the paper is in a notebook, there’s more of a chance that it won’t be on my floor!

These little notebooks are the perfect project for a bored kid learning to sew. With paper, cardstock, 1 line of stitching and a little glue, you can make a personalized custom-sized notebook. After I show you how to make a notebook, I’ll show you how to sew up a simple DIY notebook cover.

Go find some paper and let’s get on with this!

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Supplies for how to make a notebook

  • Paper (whatever you have!)
  • cardstock
  • ruler
  • Clover Wonder clips (or binder clips)
  • glue stick
  • scissors
  • fabric marker
  • cotton quilting fabric or lightweight canvas
  • muslin or more cotton quilting fabric for lining
  • flat ribbon: seam binding, bias tape, ricrac, grosgrain etc.
  • foldover elastic

Step 1: get your paper ready

The first step in how to make a notebook is to get your paper ready. You can use any paper you have for this. Typing paper, graph paper, dotted paper and even construction paper all work here.

After you have your paper, start folding. Fold your paper in half, creasing the fold with your thumbnail. Continue folding paper until you have enough pages. A DIY notebook like this works best with up to 20 pages.

If you like, you can make more folds on each piece of paper for smaller sized notebooks. If you do this, cut along some of the folds to make equal size pages. Use paper scissors!!!

You want to have a collection of pages that each have a fold running down the middle.

Cut a piece of cardstock that’s the same size as one of the pages. Fold it down the middle. Don’t forget to crease the fold with your thumbnail.

Step 2: how to sew a DIY notebook

Next, stack the pages on top of each other. They should be open flat with the fold running down the middle. Place the pile on top of the cardstock, lining up the folds.

If you have them, use Wonder Clips to hold the edges of the pages together. I love these little guys for holding things together for sewing where pins won’t work. They are perfect here, but binder clips also work.

Draw a line down the center fold with a pencil or ballpoint pen + ruler.

stitching pages together on diy notebook

Next, set your straight stitch on your machine to a long 5.0mm. Stitch one line right on the line you just drew.

Don’t cut your thread tails!

Step 3: Finish the notebook spine

Believe it or not, you’re almost done making your wee DIY notebook. The last step here in how to make a notebook is to finish off the spine.

First flip the book over so that you’re looking at the spine. Grab your glue stick and apply some all down the spine.

Tuck the thread tails along the spine so that they’re stuck in the glue. Finish everything off by placing a piece of ribbon over the spine. You might need to add some glue on the backside of the ribbon itself. Press it in place and set it aside to dry.

I’m using a piece of bias tape, but seam binding is actually my favorite choice for these notebooks. It’s quite thin so it makes for a flexible spine.

That’s it for making a DIY notebook. I told you it was easy!

You can stop here and go draw pictures in your backyard in your new notebook! If you want to add an extra layer of awesome, move on with me to how to sew a DIY notebook cover.

next page graphic with spool of thread

4 thoughts on “Quickie project: how to make a notebook {+ bonus fabric notebook cover}”

  1. I bet my older boy in particular would love these. He’s constantly asking me for notebooks to draw in. The problem is that he would probably doodle through it in about 15 minutes, since he’s only just now starting to draw recognizable things!

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