MAKE IT / 10

I am a notebook addict. With all the technology that is available to me I still prefer to write all my ideas down in one place. I go through them quickly and always need to have a stash of fresh ones on hand. While traditional bookbinding is complicated art form, making this little notebook is nothing but easy. You need little more than a few sheets of paper and a pair of scissors.

what you’ll need:
– 10 sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 paper
– a sheet of decorative paper (12 x 12 or larger)
– ruler
– exacto knife
– pencil
– double sided tape

the steps:
– cut paper in half to make 20 sheets of 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 paper (I have my local copy shop do it so that they are perfect)
– fold all of the pieces in half
– make a mark on the fold 1 inch from the top and bottom

– on half of the sheets cut in between the marks (these are called slots), on the other half cut from the edge to the mark (these are called tabs)
– take two sheets of tabbed paper and gently roll one side from top to bottom and insert through two sheets of slotted paper. (see our handy gif below for reference)

– continue to make pairs and place in a stack with all of the tabbed sides up (these pairs are referred to as signatures). you should have a stack of 5 when you’re done.
– using the same method now connect each signature to each other by feeding the top 2 tabbed pieces into the bottom 2 slotted pieces of the signature on top of it. So the top tabbed sheets of your second signature will feed into the last slotted sheets of you first signature and so on. When you’re done all of your pages should be connected to each other.

for the cover:
– for the cover,  cut 2 pieces of decorative paper that measures 5 1/2 x 12 inches.
– draw a line 3 1/2 from the edge and cut one sheet as a slot and one sheet as a tab.
– attach the covers sheets just as you attached each signature to each other.
– lastly wrap the remaining cover paper around the two pieces of paper on top and bottom and secure with a piece of double sided tape.
– get out your pens and pencils

the great thing about this notebook is that you can easily add more pages if you like. I usually keep mine anywhere from 20-30 pages, but it’s as simple as just adding more signatures to your stack.

(photos & creations by natalie shriver – see more DIY projects here!)


Add your own

    Hannah says:

    This is amazing! i’m going to try this 🙂

    Cyn | decyng says:

    Great tips! I´m like you, although we have iPads, iPods, laptops, I prefer paper.

    Sarah says:

    The perfect craft for over the weekend! Love it.

    jen says:

    nice work, gals.
    um, i’ll take the one with the glitter (duh!)

    Mfree says:

    I just wanted to pop in and say that I love the little videos you have been adding to posts lately. They are super cute (and the notebooks are too!)

    stephanie says:

    yes the added video is great!

    Justyna says:

    I love it! Definitely going to try this over the weekend. I love the videos… adds a nice touch!

    ana flávia says:

    wonderful! i prefer paper too and if we can add some of our favorite pattern on the cover, even better!

    whew! these are awesome! i love binding/rebinding books, but somehow i’ve never seen this done with the signatures before. love it love it.

    Stephanie says:

    Love this! Polka dots are my fav. BTW – How did you get that pink effect leaked in the corner??

    Thank you!

    These are beautiful! I love the colours and that bleeding effect!

    Amy says:

    these are fabulous!
    Where are the lovely patterned papers from?

    Kate says:

    BRILLIANCE. I’m a notebook addict too, much to Jack’s chagrin – will absolutely be trying this out in lieu of buying new ones constantly!

    bri says:

    amy, they are from paper source!

    What a great idea!!! thanks for sharing it.

    Amy says:

    yeah – thank you!
    Papersource here I come…

    Elisse says:

    I love these! So Cute. I really want you guys to do a post on where you buy all of your awesome crafting materials.

    OH MAN! This is wonderful…and seems so so simple! Thanks for a fantastic DIY, Natalie!

    Amy says:

    Awesome! What is this type of binding called?

    Danette says:

    this will be perfect for my daughter’s art party!

    Patty says:

    This is wonderful! I am a photographer and always look for new ways to use photos. I just found one!

    thia says:

    great idea for keeping all those special greeting cards, make them into a booklet- perfect!

    Marie says:

    I love this idea and the crafty way of binding. Plus what a fun gif! 🙂


    Ashley says:

    Ahhmazing! Very simple, love it!

    look see says:

    I love this idea! 🙂

    Cam says:

    always adore a great stationary DIY! fabulous .. xo


    Kateri says:

    really nice idea – and gif images are so helpful, wow! I really want to make my own little notebook!

    Katie says:

    I also love notebooks- its funny cause I am never without my ipad or my macbook- but I still always write in a notebook- they are the best. I am still using my one from the London blogshop!




    Dude this is seriously LEGIT! I am so doing this. Please check out my blog thanks<3

    Chris Qualls says:

    These are awesome!!!

    Trix says:

    Love the way the binding looks from the side. Thanks for sharing this clever tutorial!

    sooki says:

    Wowzer!!! Great tutorial and love the animation!

    Sara says:

    This is so great, wonderful tutorial! Hope you don´t mind that I share it! 🙂

    Natsumi says:

    Thanks for this! A great diy gift.

    colleen says:

    this is AMAZING! love the little gifs! your instructions are so perfect until the cover part, where i got a smidge lost. (maybe it is just me!)

    This is so cool, I love small notebooks like those!!
    Definitely making one, plus it can become a cute gift for mother’s day if I write poems in it!!

    kate says:

    great idea! love it! i got a little lost with the cover too. could you do an animated gif as well.

    Stacey says:

    Fantastic idea! I will try! 🙂

    How clever! And seemingly simple. I’ve been looking at a scrapbook for my recent holiday, but I think I might just have a go at making one from scratch – thank you!

    Great step by steps! I also got lost with the cover but it kind of worked out for me. My binding looks different, not as nice, but maybe that will improve with another try. And I used just white computer paper for the pages, is that a bad idea? Great project though and I’m definitely going to try another to perfect my technique. Thanks for the great DIY!

    Sofia says:

    WOW! Please just explain with pictures on how to apply the cover! :)))

    Sofia says:


    Natalie says:

    Where did you get that paper? It’s so pretty and compliment each other perfectly! I want to get some for when I make them. Thanks!

    Natalie says:

    Haha and it’s cool how we have the same name! Amazing idea btw. I never knew making a notebook could be this easy!

    Lisa says:

    Applying the cover is difficult. I agree with Sofia.

    Sal says:

    I’m with you, Sofia and Lisa. Such a cool design, I was so excited to be able to make some as gifts, but PLEASE could you explain the cover further? I just can’t figure it out.

    Lyn says:

    I couldn’t figure out the cover either but I changed it and it works, both pieces need to be tab pieces, no slot piece. Insert one from the front and one from the back and fold around the first two pages of the book and tape or glue together. Essentially you lose the first two pages of the notebook as they are inside the cover. I couldn’t make it work with one piece of cover stock being a slot because the top and bottom of the book are both slots so both had to be tabs to work.

    Hayley says:

    i’ll definitely be making these for my friends for Christmas!

    Nikki says:

    im having trouble getting the slots and tabs together.. help! i dont get how they fit together.. love the project though 🙂

    Nikki says:

    i finished 😀 i LOVe this project!!!!!thanks for sharing!!!!!

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    Tom Marino says:

    I am a notebook addict also. This is my first try in making one. I have all of the pages together and I have the cover together but can’t figure out “lastly wrap the remaining cover paper? and how to the pages get into the cover?


    Robin says:

    Cover was tricky…but I got it.
    Slip the tab of the back cover through the last 2 pages of the last signature. Fold the excess paper over the last two pages and the small tab you will now see on the inside of the last signature. tape.

    For front cover slip two pages of the front signature through the covers’ slot and fold the excess paper over the first two pages and the small section of cover paper you now see on the inside of the first signature.

    It’s easier than it sounds.
    Love it!
    I’m teaching my students to make these and use as sketchbooks. So much easier than punching holes and stringing together.

    maria says:

    This is so cool!! I’m a big fan of notebook and now i have a chance to make one..thanks to u

    onel says:

    OMG, this is so cool!! Thank you so much for the inspiration. Definitely making a notebook with this! 🙂

    Michal says:

    I just made it! Turned out so pretty!!!! Can I send you a picture?:)

    Isabel says:

    Hello this looks great! However, could you upload a video on how you can go about making it? (: Im not sure about how to attch the cover and how to attach the signatures.

    katelyn says:

    nice job he or ashe

    Ceci says:

    L0v3 1t <3

    Bianca says:

    Hi! I love it. Where did you get the paper? Specifically, the blue, red, and white one. Thank you. 🙂

    Carly says:

    I’m having issues connecting my signatures, the slot pieces are ripping when I try and put it together

    SannE says:

    O, thanks for sharing this, never saw anything alike. It’s surprising and looks great. I’m going to try this.

    Laynie says:

    This is so insanely amazing! I too go through entirely too many notebooks, and while I love getting them on sale (hello ten cent notebooks, come to me so I can LOVE you!!) I also make my own.

    I’ve been doing coptic binding, which is fun and soothing and all that, but it’s also SLOW. The end result is beautiful, but this one is pretty darn cool too! You could do a fun cover that ended up covering the whole back if you liked, as well.

    So much fun, I’ll DEFINITELY be doing this one. Thanks for the instructions!

    ratih says:

    thanks for sharing 🙂

    jimpap says:

    Total respect. Thank you!

    Hello & Thank you very much for this nice tutorial.
    I shared on my blog(with credit of course), but I haven’t translate it to French yet…
    I work on recycled papers and your post fills my head with loads of nw ideas.
    Thanks again !

    Kristi says:

    This is fantastic! I’m hoping to make this with my kid this summer as a mixed media project. We’ll make fancy mixed media covers and then use them to make your little notebooks! Thank you!

    craft lovers says:

    it so cute…I LOVE IT!!!!

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    rozana says:

    wah very nice can make for teacher’s day gift!

    Urte says:

    So this amazed me so, that I am actually trying it.. And apparently it’s not as easy as it looks or at least not for me 😀
    I am struggling to make this part happen: “feeding the top 2 tabbed pieces into the bottom 2 slotted pieces of the signature on top of it. So the top tabbed sheets of your second signature will feed into the last slotted sheets of you first signature and so on.” I’ve tried and tried but I suppose my tabbed ones don’t get where to go.. Do you by any chance have any visuals for this part so it gets a bit clearer? Now I am really determined to finish my book! Thanks

    Annalese says:

    not many people understand the cover or how to connect the signatures together. So if anyone is reading his then what I’ve found is that this Youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJvlUT_daQA explains how to connect the signatures together (if you fast forward a bit).
    For the cover all that needs to happen is that you pretend each cover sheet is a signature and go from there, slotting the tabs into the the little hole then folding around to the back of the page and finally gluing it. The cover with the hole in it just needs the first book page slotted into it and your done! 🙂

    Nina & Clara says:

    Great- took us two hours!!!! Instructions & notebooks are really cute

    Ella says:

    Omg ur way on how to put the book together is amazing. You’re a genius! I’ve never seen anything like it!

    Inger says:

    It’s amazing and really easy to do. I just have to find out how to connected printed papers together in a certain order, not just white papers. Thank you for the great idea!!!

    Hello, I’m Maymunah and just like yourself I love an old paperbook for notebook even tough I already have an android to write my ideas digitally. I’ve been doing lots of DIY notebooks projects for my holiday but I’ve just learned your way and it’s very amazing. It’s the easiest way and it doesn’t need much tools like glue or something to bind it up. Thank you for your awesome way and I’m about to share it on my blog along with any other way that I’ve been doing and of course there are the credits…. anyway, it’s amazingly awesome 😀

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