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Bookbinding at Home, Part 1: How to Stitch a Single Folio Sketchbook

Bookbinding at Home

The state of the world – and the pause it is giving – has me thinking about and enjoying the small things in life – like wild violets, meringue cookies, and the scritchy-scratchy sound a pen makes. It has also brought me back to the early days of making books, and the small things that made them so special.

As a result, we have put together a long overdue tutorial on bookmaking. I have prepared a list of things you will need to make your first notebook. This is a very simple start—you can use materials that you have at home and anyone, any age can join in! So, let’s make books!

Project No. 1: Single Signature Notebook

Postcard by @deborah.j.stein
Card by Egg Press and tea box from Yogi Tea

Here is what you will need:

1. Needle — bookbinding needles have roundy tips and big eyes, but most needles will work!
2. Thread — any thread will do. If it is super thin, double it up.
3. Pencil — grab your favourite pencil to plot your stitching holes.
4. Paper — this is for the inside. Do you like lined paper, sketch paper, the back of used paper, graph paper? Gather your favourites, mix em up or stick to one!
5. Cover – raid your recycling bins and cupboards for tea boxes or snacks whose boxes you adore. Use this time to clean up your drawers find postcards and note cards saved. All of these things make wonderful covers for little book!
6. Thumbtack – or something sharp to poke holes through paper and cardstock.
7. Scissors for trimming your cover.

    If you have everything on this list at home, great! If you don’t and wish to order online – PLEASE consider buying from small businesses and Etsy sellers who REALLY need everyone’s support.

    Visit our blog for the how-to process video! Please share your little books with us with hashtag #quarantinebookbindingclub – we’d love to see what you are making, and share the results!

    Coming Soon…

    Stay tuned for our next bookbinding project: a coverless journal like our Anselm Bookbinding Kit! You do not need the kit to join, but if you’d like to get started with one (it includes a bookbinding needle!), find them on our shop.

    If you are housebound or feeling directionless, there are oodles of projects online and on Instagram including the #quarantineartclub hosted by @CarsonEllis, a live book club for kids by @MacBarnett, and, coming up – one of my personal favorites, the #100dayproject!


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    This was so clear and helpful! Thank you. I too came over from handstories.

    This is very sweet! Thank you for sharing…

    Thanks so much for the supplies + tutorials … do you have a suggestion on thickness, etc… of waxed thread? Enjoy your day.

    Found my way here from handstories blog … am looking forward to following your blog in the future …

    lovely video.

    Made one with an Ansel Adams post card I’d forgotten I had. My cat assisted, very helpfully chasing the thread and biting at the final product. This was fun and easy. I look forward to doing many more!

    What Fun !!! Thank you – as always for your time and generosity : ) Made mine and a few others (sooo ADDICTIVE : )
    Blessings, Sandra : )

    Thank you so much. I really love the tutorial and the inspiration.

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