Notes, shopping lists, ideas, memos, stories… we all need something to write them on. Personally, I like to write them with pen and paper instead of computer. So why not make your own notebooks?

This project is simple and it’s great for those who like to eat cereals. Why? Because we are going to use the box to make our notebook cover.

 

Here’s what your are going to need:

  • Cereal box
  • Paper (aprox 15 A4 sheets)
  • Craft paper/wrapping paper/colour paper
  • Button
  • Cotton thread
  • Scissors
  • Rug knife
  • Ruler
  • Glue
  • Sewing kit

notebook-steps

I know it looks like a long list, but this is not going to be hard at all. So you start by flattening the cereal box down. I took the chance to make two notebooks, so you can cut out the flat and rectangular parts of the box – the front and the back of it.

That’s going to be our cover. Now you can keep the cereal box looks if you like it or you can cover it up. For one of the notebooks I chose to cover it up with wrapping paper (that I had saved from a gift) but the other one I actually used the rough looking cardboard material as a cover.

So now that you have your cover, measure it and find it’s center. Draw a line through it and with the help of the ruler press the scissors round edge through it. The idea here is to mark the cardboard so that it becomes easier to fold. After that is done you glue the paper you are using for decorating the outside (and the inside if you want).

Depending on the size of your cereal box you might not need to adjust the size of your inside paper sheets. I had to do it because I created two 14 cm wide notebooks. But if you find a cover that fits, you only have to fold the A4 paper in half. So my next task was to find the sizes of the paper I should have: I ended up cutting out 4 cm on the short side of the sheets and 3 cm on the long side. If you own a guillotine, this task is peanuts, but if you don’t (like me), use the same technique as before: measure, draw a line, use the ruler and cut it out with the rug knife.

After that is done we are going to put it together. So, what we are going to do is to sew the notebook together. So, again let’s measure the sheets of paper that are going to be the filling of the notebook and find their middle. Instead of drawing a line through it, this time we are going to make a small mark at every centimeter. So we are going to end up with a line of dots, one centimeter apart from each other. Since it’s not easy to punch holes in a bunch of paper. My trick was to puncture each of the dots before I start sewing. That way you only have the cover to go through.

Position your paper filling in the center of the cover and align the binding. Start sewing from the outside part in and follow the dots and holes. When you are done, make sure that the leftovers of the lines are on the outside of the notebook. Here’s why: you are going to glue a strap of paper/tape/etc to reinforce the notebook and consequently glue and hide the line leftovers.

After the sewing is done, cut a strap of paper/tape/wrapping paper, etc and glue it to the fold, on the outside. I did mine 3 cm long and it was enough. Just be careful when folding the notebook shut, make sure the strap is well glued on the surface and that nothing rips.

Now we are going to saw in a solution to close the notebook. There’s a lot of options for this, but I chose a simple one. A button. Measure the long side of the notebook and find the middle. Mark it with a dot and remember to give it a little bit of space: do not mark it on the margin, but instead do it a centimeter inwards. Now use the needle to puncture the holes correspondent to the button of your choice and proceed to sew it onto the notebook cover.

Then take a cotton thread and tie it around the button. Make it long enough to wrap around the notebook once or twice and there you have your closing system. Enjoy taking notes on your brand new handmade, unique and special notebook. And if you know someone that really likes to write down things… this is the perfect gift.