At Too Cute Tuesday, we like to do random stuff that we kind of stink at. But on a rare occasion, we actually like to draw on the talent of our members.

Sarah has taken a book binding class and for years I’ve obsessively bought pretty blank notebooks. But why would I continue to do this when we can make our own, personalized notebooks?

Warning: This craft takes a little longer than a couple of hours and may lead to frustration among impatient types. But the result is well worth it.

Sometimes, Nicole is not so patient. If you're impatient, make sure you have a calming friend, or an extra cocktail.

A girl with a drill: it's a beautiful thing.1 hard bookcover (check the discard bin at your local library or a yard sale)
Ruler and pencil
Exacto knife
Two elastics
Deep sea fishing line and thread (waxed thread works too)
Drill (and small bit)
Old board (to protect your work surface)
Vice (Nice, but not entirely necessary)

Cocktail of the Day: Baileys fudge (Sam brought it and apparently put a little extra Baileys in for our enjoyment. Awww!)

1. Begin immediately consuming Baileys fudge. Yum. Count it as your cocktail since you can taste the Baileys pretty definitely.

2. Pick a bookcover you want to work with. Cut it into two perfect rectangles using the Exacto knife on the old board protecting the nice table you are working on (we’re ignoring the internal pages and existing spine).

3. Cut the paper you’ll be using so it fits inside the covers with about a quarter of an inch of extra cover all around.

Friends help friends unmake their mistakes. Yup, that's Sarah fixing Nicole's book for the third time. And look, she's not even mad. Now that's a good friend!4. Make little booklets of paper by selecting the same number of sheets in each bundle and folding it in half. This bundle of pages is called a “signature”. Nicole’s signatures were ten pages of thin graph paper while Sarah’s were five pages thick because she was using thicker sketchpad paper.

5. If you feel like making your life easier, at this point you would put all your signatures (unbound) in between your book covers and put them in a vice for awhile. This will make the signatures lie flat which makes it easier to bind. But since Too Cute Tuesday is not meant to be easy, we skipped this step.

6. Put your signatures along the edge of both bookcovers like you are about to bind them together. Lay the ruler along the spine and mark at regular intervals along the cover and each signature. These are where your holes will be so take care in lining them up!

7. Using a thumb tack, punch holes in the marked places along the fold of the signature. Do this for each signature.

8. Hold both covers together using the elastics and where you’ve put the dots on the cover of the book, use the cordless drill to create the holes. Watch as Dorrie nervously watches you not cut through to her table. That’s what the old board is for!

9. Now is the fun part. The stitch we used is a modified coptic bind* but the idea is to use the thick thread (start from the inside on the end of one book cover) and bind the book cover to the first signature, taking care to go through each of the holes and double knotting at the end. After, you attach the first signature to the second signature. You keep going in just this way until you are binding the last signature to the other cover.

I don’t mean to oversimplify this. This will take awhile, especially if you’ve never done it before and you will probably have to unmake it a few times. The important thing is to be consistent with the stitching and at the end of each signature, double knot and keep going!

The final product is a blank notebook made just the size you want just the way you want. Keep it for yourself or give it to a special person because you worked hard on that thing!

Aren’t you crafty?

Check out the Too Cute Tuesday Facebook page for advanced notice of the craft, the photos that didn’t make the blog and all that other fun stuff! 
*A traditional coptic bind uses four strands and this one just uses one. Don’t you sound smart!

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