Ravenous Craft

Notebook Binding

Mallory LanceComment

Keeping a notebook to set intentions, track progress, explore thoughts, write and sketch in is an essential tool for self exploration, centering and working toward achieving goals. There's really no replacement for writing things out in a physical book, as it provides a space for your mind to wander in a way that technology doesn't readily offer. It's also so important to take a break from technology sometimes, and to see your plans and drawings on a physical page. I personally have been keeping journals for years now, and they help me make my creative plans and stick to a self-imposed schedule.

For the first full moon of the new year, we explored the art of bookbinding and made our own notebooks of varying sizes, from recycled materials. This way we could choose how many pages we wanted, and the size and shapes of the notebooks. This craft is a great entry point into crafting with your coven, and will provide you with the tools to make notebooks as needed throughout the year, as you fill yours up.

What you'll need:

  • Card stock or recycled fabric or leather for the cover
  • A spool of recycled paper for the pages, sold as "kraft paper"
  • A ruler for measuring out pages
  • A pencil & eraser for marking measurements
  • An exacto blade
  • Scissors
  • Small binder clips
  • An awl for making holes in the binding
  • Bookbinding needles
  • Sinew or thin twine

1. Measure out the cover for the book. It should be twice the size of the book you want to make, as you'll fold it in half around the pages.

2. Measure out and cut out the inner pages. These should be about a half an inch on each side shorter than the cover you have cut out. So, for instance, if you're making a 5x7 inch book, the outer cover will be 10x7, and the inner pages you'll be cutting out from the recycled paper will be 9.5x6.5. Mark the paper and cut along your ruler with an exacto blade.

3. Cut out as many as you would like in your book, keeping in mind that the final pages in the book once you bind it will be double. So if you want your book to be 40 pages long, that translates to 20 sheets of paper, which are really 10 sheets doubled over, so you'll cut out 10 sheets total.

4. Arrange your sheets so that they're uniform, using the scissors to snip off any excess material.

5. Crease the pages within the cover so that they fit nicely within the book. Use the binder clips to keep the pages snug within the cover. Keep the book slightly bent so that the crease stays defined.

6. Make evenly spaced holes in the crease of the book with your awl. You'll want to use strong, even pressure to make the holes and make sure not to stab yourself. Try and keep your holes about a centimeter apart from each other.

7. Thread your binder's needle with some sinew or hemp twine - you'll want 4 inches more than double the length of the spine so you have enough to work with.

8. Start stitching the binding by pushing the needle through the center hole in the midway point of the binding, from the inside to the back. Leave a tail of about 2 inches. Then push the needle back through the hole immediately to the right of the starting point, from the outside to the inside. Next, stitch from the inside to the outside on the next hole. Continue doing this until you get to the end of the binding, then work your way back so that each skipped area gets stitched.

9. Continue stitching in the same manner until you get to the other end of the binding, then work your way back toward the middle point. When you're done you should have two ends sticking out in the center of the book.

10. Tie those two ends together and double knot them. Cut off the excess thread.

You're all set. The book is all yours to do what you want with. Check out our stamp carving tutorial if you'd like to personalize your book.