Hello! Thanks for makng this a stop on your web travels today. (See what I did there? ;) ) Let’s take a look at my latest paper obsession: DIY travler’s notebook covers.
I created this project for Echo Park Paper Co., using the very delightful new Summer Adventure collection.
You can read more about my process and tips for this project on the Echo Park blog.
You can also see a video of the action right here OR on my YouTube channel.
I was inspired to create this project by this video on YouTube by LiveLoveScrap.
DIY NOTEBOOK COVER
Step 1: Cut a piece of patterned paper to 9”x8.5” and gently fold that sheet in half (no hard creasing) so it measures 4.5”x8.5”. Open the paper back up so it's flat but with the center lightly creased/identified by your fold.
Step 2 (optional): Die cut words from your cover. (I used the Explore Outdoors Die Set by Echo Park Paper Co. to cut my outdoor phrases.)
Step 3: Pierce holes along your center fold, approximately 1/4” down from the top of the page and 1/4” up from the bottom, followed by two holes on either side of each of these holes, 1/4” over. Finally, pierce one hole approximately in the middle of the center fold line. (This should leave you with seven pierced holes (three on the top, three on the bottom, and one in the middle..)
Step 4: Score lines running parallel to your center fold, connecting your pierced holes. Fold your paper along those lines to give you your notebook shape.
Step 5: Flatten the cover back out and place it in a laminating sheet; laminate. "
NOTE: If you do not have a laminater, you can use self-laminating pouches for this step.
Step 6: Trim away any excess laminating film, re-fold your book along the scored lines to give you your cover shape, and re-pierce your holes.
Step 7: Thread elastic cording following the steps below.
NOTE: It helps to have a needle with a large eye for this, as elastic cording can be tricky to thread.
A. Starting on the lower right hole, coming from the front of the cover inside, thread elastic cording, leaving approximately 6” of a tail.
NOTE: Pull your cording fairly tight, leaving only enough room to tuck a notebook insert between it and your notebook cover.
B. Thread your cording through the hole directly above the hole you just threaded. (This should have your needle now back on the outside of your cover.)
C. Thread your cording through the center hole, just to the left of the hole you came out of. Thread your needle through the center hole on the bottom of the cover. (Your needle should now, again, be on the outside of your book.)
D. Thread back in, this time using the far left hole on the bottom, followed by the far left on the top. (You should now have three bands of elastic cording running along the inside spine of your notebook cover.)
E. Your needle should now be on the outside of your notebook, at the top. Thread it back through the top, center hole. Leave approximately a 6” tail and trim the rest of your cording away from the packaging. Remove your needle.
F. Thread your first 6” tail through the needle and bring that piece of cording back through the bottom center hole. You should now have two 6” pieces of cording on the inside of your notebook cover. Meet them in the middle, tie them in a double knot, and trim away any excess. This will leave you with a total of four elastic bands running along the inside of your notebook spine.
G. Trim a new piece of elastic cording that is long enough to wrap around the center of your book one and a half times. Fold that piece in half, thread the folded side through your needle, and thread that needle through the center hole of your notebook, coming from the inside of the cover out.
NOTE: Be careful not to pull the cording all the way through the hole.
H. Leave just enough cording to wrap around your notebook as a closure, and tie a double knot to prevent the rest of the cording from pulling through the hole. Trim away any excess cording. This will leave you with a center elastic closure that will hold your notebook shut.
With your notebook cover made, you can now add DIY paper inserts.
DIY NOTEBOOK INSERTS
Creating DIY notebooks to go inside your traveler’s notebook cover is easy and fun. Simply follow these quick steps:
Step 1: Bundle several sheets of patterned paper and fold them in half, making sure they’re cut to measure smaller than your notebook cover when folded.
Step 2: Keep your folded sheets bundled together and pierce three holes along the center fold.
Step 3: Thread a needle with baker’s twine or embroidery floss (roughly 48” in length); thread your needle through the center hole, going from the inside of the paper bundle, out.
NOTE: Leave a tail (approximately 4”) here.
Step 4: Thread your needle through the bottom hole, coming from the outside of the bundle in. Thread back through the center hole again, going from the inside out. Thread through the top hole (outside, in). Your needle should now, again, be on the inside of your paper bundle.
Step 5: Thread your needle under the lower binding loop that’s in place and tie then tie what’s left of your thread to the original 4” tail you left in place. Tie using a double knot. Trim away any excess twin you have. Your book should now be completely bound.
Don’t let my lengthy list of steps fool you. These techniques really are easy to do. I just wanted to break it down to make it easier to follow for those of you reading the instructions to complete your project (vs. watching the videos). I hope I haven’t left you confused at any point in the process. If so, leave me a comment or send me an email, and I will happily answer any questions you have.
I can say from my own experience and that of students I’ve taught this to—once you create these, you won’t want to stop. You’ll find yourself making books for your family and friends, too. It’s such a happy process and end results. I hope you enjoy this technique and idea.