DIY HANDMADE NOTEBOOK // recycled & muji-inspired
S & I have been spending our free moments getting to know the Bay Area better, and especially trying to explore the South Bay and peninsula, which, despite living in, we tend to neglect somewhat. This past weekend we took a trip down to San Jose to wander around the downtown and get way too caffeinated -- seriously, the lattes at B2 coffee were amazing. But, most importantly, we got a chance to drool over the beautiful home goods at MUJI, a small Japanese department store.
One of my favorite things at Muji has to be their stationary section -- it has beautifully simple notebooks, notepads, pens, and pretty much anything else you would want for your desk. Since buying cute notebooks is becoming something of an addiction, I decided to try my hand at making some myself.

DIY HANDMADE NOTEBOOK, makes one 5.5x4 inch notebook (instructions adapted from here and here)

  • 1 empty cereal box -- you'll only use half of it, so you can use the rest for a second notebook!
  • 5 pieces of 8.5x11 inch printer paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Embroidery floss, about 1.5 feet
  • Embroidery needle
  • Pretty paper, 5.5 inches long and about 2 inches wide (depending on how broad you want your decorative binding to be, I just used leftover strips of origami paper)


1. Open up the cereal box along its glued sides and cut a 5.5x9 inch piece from one of its faces. Trim each of the four corners of the cardboard rectangle into a rounded shape (this is optional, but I thought it made the book look much more finished).

2. Spread glue on the colored side of the cardboard rectangle and press it firmly onto one of the pieces of white paper. When dry, trim the excess paper from around the rectangle

3. Cut the remaining four pieces of printer paper in half into eight pieces of 5.5x8.5 inch paper. Trim their corners into a rounded shape to match the cardboard rectangle.

4. Fold the stack of small papers in half again, into an approximately 5.5x4 inch booklet. Repeat with the cardboard rectangle and place the paper booklet inside. Before you sew anything together, make sure the paper is the right size for the cover and trim down if needed.

5. Remove the booklet and use the embroidery needle to carefully punch a line of eight holes along the fold of the booklet, going all the way through. 

6. Place the booklet back into the cardboard cover and use the holes in the paper as a guide to punch matching holes in the fold of the cardboard. 

7. Beginning on the inside of the book, thread the embroidery floss through the holes in the paper and cardboard. Leave enough thread at both ends to tie a knot at each end of the book. Trim the ends.

8. The book could be finished now (see above, with the thread showing along the fold), or you can glue your strip of colored paper in place along the binding. Trim any excess decorative paper away from the edge of the cardboard and you're ready to go!

Do you have any favorite notebooks or notepads? I'm always looking for new suggestions!

xo Diana
Topics: projects + diy
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