Wednesday, January 19, 2011

notepad tutorial

Here's a lovely little notepad you can make for yourself or another favorite person!

(I found the basic idea online. I think Amy Powers or Kellie Dykast is the person to thank. Will post the link if I find it.)

Step 1. Gather your materials. You will need a sheet of white paper, a medium-sized gift bag, and scissors.

gift bag, sheet of paper, scissors

You may of course have different sources of clean paper, fancy card stock, and something to cut with.

To bind your notepad, choose one of these options: a., a smallish rubber band (simplest), b., hole puncher and cord, or c., needle and thread (most elegant).

Step 2. Fold your paper into eighths. Fold it in half, in half, and in half, and then hold it against the gift bag before cutting, to make sure the size will work. Use the folded edge of the gift bag as the spine of your notepad.

(Yes, my pages are still double-size. The folded paper is now too thick to fold properly, so I'm saving that last fold for later.)

By the way, my pad came out about 1.5 inches wide by 2.5 inches tall. If you want a larger pad than that, either use a jumbo gift bag, or use a part of the bag that isn't pre-folded and just give it a good sharp fold yourself. If the pad you're making is twice the size of mine, you might want to use a second sheet of paper so you get more pages.

Step 3. Cut on the folds. You may have fold marks; try to cut them away. If you have a proper paper cutter and got to skip step 2, lucky you! -- no fold marks.

You should now have eight little sheets of paper.

eight sheets

Step 4. Fold your papers in half. Fold only four sheets at a time so that can get a good sharp fold. A notepad skeleton!

You will find that the inner pages stick out past the edge of the outer pages. Don't trim them yet. You'll probably want to trim all the pages once you have the cover, so that will take care of these pokey pages as well.

Step 5. Lay the folded notepad skeleton (why, don't you think that's a cute turn of phrase?) on the edge of the gift bag, and cut a piece for the cover, slightly larger than the pages.

(Not a great pic, sorry! Hope you can see where I cut.) You may bump into the inside fold of the bag's side panel. Just keep cutting, or you can start from another direction and finish the job that way.

And voila! (Or something like that.)


Before we get back to work, here's a nice surprise I found. Since I cut my folder from the top of the bag, which had a neat folded edge, I got a folder for my notepad. Just about big enough to stash a postage stamp. Cuteness!

Step 6. Trim the pages, a few at a time. You want them to fit inside the cover, and to look even to each other when the notepad is closed.

Step 7. Book-binding time.

The simplest way to hold the pages together is with a humble office rubber band.

 rubber band binding

If you are willing to spend another few minutes for a more elegant result, I recommend you go for one of the other options.

Here's option 2: punch two holes and put a cord or ribbon through. Tie a good knot on the outside of your notepad. Voila!

punch holes


notepad bound with cord

I used the cord that came as the handle of the gift bag. Fancy!

But the nicest way to bind your notepad is with a needle and thread. I don't have a sewing machine but if you have one, go ahead and try it. Here are some pics of a notepad I bound with thread.

thread binding outside

thread binding inside

Secure the extra bits of thread with a tiny dab of glue.

Show me yours! I'd love to see the embellishments you come up with. I'm thinking some cute beads or buttons in the knot.

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