Smashing Sewn Sketchbooks | Get Creating

So get this... you can make your own sketchbooks! Amazing right? I know what you're thinking 'but Georgia, I can just go buy one'. Yes, you could... But when it's so easy to make one as personal and as gorgeous as these are, why on earth would you? We've all spent eons painting over boring white negative space on sketchbook paper, or painstakingly ruling lines so you don't get wonky writing, but with super simple saddle binding those painful days are over. I can absolutely assure you that this is speedier than ruling even one page with those pesky annotation lines too!

This is a technique is suitable for almost any age too, I have run many a lesson on from primary age up, so even littlies can have a go! You just might want to provide a little adult support, or a safety needle as a little sewing is involved. But I cannot stress enough how simple this is, so don't give up just yet!

In this post I am sharing how to make the book block which in simple terms is the paper section resulting in a soft cover book, but we will be taking a look at how to make a hard cover with an exposed spine (like above) in the future!

Lets get started with materials. You will need:

1. Paper | you can use whatever kind of paper you'd like, that's the point! Coloured, tracing, watercolour, whatever best suits your artwork style. I chose some rainbow coloured copy paper for this book.

2. Ruler

3. Pencil

4. Needle

5. Thread

optional 6. bone folder if you happen to have one! But this certainly isn't necessary.

What to do!

1. To begin you must fold up your paper, for your first book it is wise to begin with 7 pieces of A4. You want to make this folding as accurate as possible, otherwise you will have a wonky book! Fold with your piece of paper in a landscape orientation, you will end up with an A5 book this way.

2. Now you need to make yourself a guide for where you need to sew. Begin by taking a scrap piece of paper and tearing off a piece that is the same height as your folded paper, and fold in half length ways (a valley fold). When placed in your folded book pages this should nestle in like another small page!

On this template piece you will need to mark 5 equally spaced dots. For a folded piece of A4 like I have the space will be 3.5cm. To work it out on another size simply measure the height and divide by 6! This number will be the gap you will need to leave.

3. Now it is time to use our template to prod our holes! This will make it much easier when you are sewing as you already know where you need to go! Line up your template with one page and use your needle to pop a hole where each of your 5 marks are. You can do this through multiple pieces at once, but it is much easier to do the pages one at a time.

4. Now comes the sewing! Thread your needle with an arms length of thread, this gives you a little extra but not enough to get knotted up in!

Use the sheet provided here to help where exactly you need to go. But I will explain down below too just in case! The colour of the thread, and circle around the number correlate here so be sure to follow along. Rainbow order as always!

• Start by going from the outside of your book in through the centre hole, leaving yourself a little tail to tie off when we finish.

• go out through the hole directly above.

• sew back in through the top hole.

• go back out the hole below (the one we stitched through before this one).

• now skip the centre hole, and sew through the hole one below centre (our 4th hole down). We are making an extra long stitch here!

• sew back out through the bottom hole.

•go back in the hole above (our 4th hole again).

•sew back out our centre hole for your last stitch!

5. Now simply tie the two ends of your thread together in a double knot and you're all done. you can either snip the extra thread off, or tie into a bow for a fancy finishing touch!


• if the eye of your needle is wide enough you can use multiple colours of thread to give your sewing a funky effect!

• want a bookmark? Well make your thread extra long and leave yourself a nice tail at the start. When this is tied up wrap it over the top of your book and fold in for a place marker.

• fancy a jazzy cover? Simply add a patterned or painted piece of paper as your first sheet! Good quality thicker wrapping paper works nicely for this.

That's it for todays plan, but do check back soon for how to add a hardcover to your book block for a sturdier sketchbook! Come back for more making!

Georgia de B.

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