i will make you a little notebook

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this is not an idle boast! it is a busy boast! lol. i got some bone folders and a little bookbinding kit for $15. but even before it arrived, i made this notebook for @susan for mother’s day!

before the cover got put on, i slipped it into a hobonichi techo a5 (normal size) cover to see if it would work inside, even though it’s shorter than real a5. and it works!

i am exceeeeedingly proud of how it turned out! i’ve wanted to do it forever and watched soooo many youtube videos over the years and now that i’m on new medication i finally just did it. lol.

it turns out you don’t neeeed anything special to be able to do it… tho having tools makes some things easier.

like this cutting mat and rotary cutter. it made it easier to trim the edges of the folded pages but i could have done it with scissors.

my quest is to make some more notebooks and mail them to you all. haha. i have a lot of notebooks so i am allowed to make zero notebooks for myself.

so! if you want in, would you please request a notebook for this quest? you can tell me what size and how many pages (best if multiple of eight), and i also have a printer so we can look for lines and stuff if you want. and what shall the cover be? susan’s was the front of a patagonia catalog!

this quest is also about learning how to do it. oh! and if you want to make one that’s another way to join the quest! freeform questing, like amoebas!

:white_check_mark: @susan
:white_check_mark: clover

Hell yeah I want a notebook. Not if mailing one to me is too much of a pain though.

What’s a good size? 64 pages?

Lines yes, cover - would be fun to be surprised.

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@malatesta do you know what size lines you like? black or grey? dotted or solid? hehe

numbered pages might also be a fun project lol

do you have a container for it or anything? or an idea of what size you want? the one for susan is a modified a5 (slightly shorter than real a5) because i just used printer paper.

if you have no preference at all, we can just do some permutation of printer paper size that’s easy to print lines on

No preference! I guess gray dotted lines might be cool?

The one you made in the photos looks awesome! Very impressed!

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Judy, this is so fantastic. Are you sure you are not the one who went to art school?!?!

I treasure my notebook and cannot think of what deserves to be written in it. :slight_smile:


I would love a small notebook! It would be in my pocket always for fun notes.

My reverent requests:

  • could it be small, like 1/4 size of 8.5x11 sheet? So… 4.25x5.5" (ish)?
  • I would love the thinnest possible binding, even a heavier paper binding would awesome.
  • 100% blank please
  • ~80 pages?
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clover asked for one as soon as she saw her mama’s, and i had just found this tiny 2014 moleskine diary that had sufficient blank pages that it went to burning man with me in 2015 for notes lol… so i gutted it and pasted in new paper!

i used red thread from an ancient sewing kit i’ve had for many years, and waxed it a little with the same blob i dug out of a candle from @annietuna that i used for susan’s, haha. you don’t neeeed to use waxed thread but it makes it easier cuz waxing it makes it tangle less.

tool comparisons because the little bookbinding kit arrived:

  • the leather needle is thicker so you have to be more careful not to pull knots through the paper. i sorta liked using just a regular sewing kit needle more. some things were easier with the thicker needle, like running the stitch through the previous segment, but that would be even easier with a curved needle (or so they say on video tutorials).

  • using the awl is better than using a thumbtack. it works better because it’s sharper, and it hurts my fingers leas.

  • using the bone folder is better than my fingernail and my plastic water bottle. haha

  • cutting rounded edges with scissors instead of punching was not better, even though the scissors are better than my scissors. it’s still way better to use the puncher, even though it takes soooooo long haha.

  • susan’s did not need glue–i just stitched through the cover and the middle signature (since there were five, an odd number). this was a little bit imperfect because then there were two layers of stitching in signature 3. it still folded okay so i let it go haha. clover’s needed glue to attach it to the moleskine cover. i reused their end papers, so i did not have to mess with binding (besides just binding the signatures together). i used a little too much glue so the papers are a little warped. it’s okay. the glue brush is very helpful.

moleskine’s paper is thinner than printer paper, so i used only eight signatures (so 64 pages) to moleskine’s ten (so theirs was 80 pages). i just kept adding signatures and holding it inside until it felt full.

i folded a piece of 8.5x11" printer paper in half three times to start. then i cut the edges to trim it down to the right size and as a happy accident i realized if i cut it on the correct edge, it would cut the pages apart too. so i cut one down to 2.5" and the other to 148cm lol. that gave me four pages, perfect for a single signature of eight pages. i messed up one signature when i folded it in half lengthwise/hot dog first instead of hamburger, and after the cut some of my pages were landscape (with the fold on the smaller edge), instead of portrait.

i’m still having trouble making a clean cut with the rotary cutter so the edges are a bit raw, but it adds to the bespoke charm i guess. it really did have to be cut down though.

i know how much susan and clover love their red jackets, and i’m hoping this notebook is so tiny it can fit in a clover jacket pocket!

hm maybe it ought to have a tiny loop for a tiny pencil. it could go with the lazy bear pencil i got when i used to go to pretentious expensive dinners. hahahah

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Bespoke Charm… I vote for that to be your binding company name!

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haha! i need to find this stamp with my chinese name on it and write bespoke charm over it in an arch. maybe my parents have it.

edited to add: bespoek chram

lol too much charm


Oooh! I want one.

Practicing sketching is something I am supposed to be working on right now. So blank unlined pages would be good for me. The size of printer paper folded in half, book style would be good for me.

How are you doing the covers? Can I send you a picture for a cover? and if so what resolution would it need to be?

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ok! i’ll try looking for a pattern online today. it’s been a while since i’ve worked on this project haha.

  • yeah, that size sounds pretty good! just a quick clarification: you mean it’s that size when it’s closed, right?
  • thin binding and 80 pages: with that many pages it’d be ten signatures, which would be a little thick (clover’s below is eight signatures for reference), but my plan is to only use a very slightly thicker piece of found paper for the cover and sew it on. so it’d be minimal binding. it’d be like the binding on susan’s ocean wave notebook, and unlike the binding on the tiny red clover notebook whose cover is actually a moleskine notebook haha. sound good?

ooh, what medium are you sketching with? do you have a paper preference? or do you want just printer paper (it’s from amazon, alas, haha)?

covers: i’m using whatever i can find! i was going to use cereal boxes and then like cover it with a brown paper bag or something. but actually yes, we can use a picture for the cover! i would find someone with a color laser printer to print it out (if it’s a color image; if it’s greyscale, i do have a b&w laser printer). then i could paste it using the paper glue that i have onto the cereal box cover. i don’t really know what resolution, haha! i guess whatever resolution people print photographs at?

Yes please!

Absolutely, sounds awesome! Thanks very much! :slight_smile:

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