Thursday, November 6, 2014

DIY- Handmade notebooks for watercolors or sketching

For the next few weeks I'll be sharing some crafty ideas that can be easily made and just in time for Christmas. I know my favorite presents are always handmade things (not the ones I mentioned on the giveaway), but really there is something so incredible about handmade things. The love, time and dedication that goes into a gift, makes it so much more valuable than anything store bought.

After visiting this mill, I knew this was bound to happen (pun intended). What else was I going to do with the lovely "zaansch bord" I bought there?

I recently made a little notebook of scraps of paper that I learned at this e-course, but actually I learned this very easy binding technique here. Igloo letterpress sells "make your own notebook kits" if you want things already cut out for you.

  What you'll need:

  • thick paper for the cover (obviously these were purchased at the paper mill)
  • a bookbinder's awl (if you have one)otherwise a thick needle will do. My awl is a little one and  apparently for children, I can't think why you would let children use these, as I actually pierced myself with it, and boy does it hurt
  • paper for sketching or watercolors (I got Canson's Montval 185gm)
  • x-acto knife or scissors to cut the paper
  • linen thread
  • thick needle
  • and things to decorate the cover such as rubber stamps, scraps of fabrics,beads, stamps, etc…)

First: Cut the paper in the desired size and fold . This instructions that follow are for 3 holes, but you can add as many holes as you like.

Top left to right: Make 3 holes with the awl, 3 cms apart, and insert needle on the first hole leaving a long piece of thread in the back (I like how the long strands look). Then insert needle on either hole bringing it to the back.

Lower left to right: Insert needle on last hole and then insert needle in the center hole. That way both strands end up together.

Tie a knot and then tie another knot, this time include the strand that goes from lower hole to upper hole, that way they're tied together.

Personalize the cover, that way you'll be adding an extra touch to the notebooks. For this one I made I rubber stamp and added some beads to the thread.

Have some beautiful stamps? Well sew them on to the cover. I used my sewing machine, but it can be sewn by hand.

Lately I'm a bit obsessed with scraps of fabric, and I think this indigo dyed piece, looks rather nice. You can always add the person's name or initials or a word to the cover, anything goes really, it just means taking the extra step.

I hope you like them and give them a go. They are really easy to make, and I'm sure the recipient would be delighted, I know I would be.

As I mentioned on the giveaway there was a present missing. This is it! One of these notebooks (winner gets to pick which one) will be included. I hope you decide to join in, all you need is to answer my question here on the blog or on the Facebook page.

Have a fantastic and very crafty weekend, and see you monday for another handmade gift idea!!
P.S: These will be included in The Flat Project as they are perfect for sending via mail. Light and flat (just my type).


  1. I'm looking forward to al the ideas you're going to share with us!

    1. Thank you, I hope you like what is coming up!

  2. Oh goodness. This is so cute and seems so easy to make!! I will have to go on the hunt for some tools but it's definitely on my to-make list now :) Thanks for sharing!

    1. It is very easy to make, you just need the materials and you'll be whipping up notebooks left and right ;) I'm really glad you like them!

  3. Your tutorial is very clear and I love the mini books you have made... someone will be lucky to win one of these :)

    1. Thank you Sandie, I'm glad you liked them, and actually 2 people were lucky, haha ;)


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