Hello! Holli here again, and I'm excited to share a little DIY with you today! In my post last month I shared tips for visiting an art gallery with kids, and one of the main tips people seemed excited about was bringing a sketch book and pencil with you so kids can sketch as they get inspired. I thought it would be fun to carry that idea over this month and share a DIY sketchbook idea.

This is a great project to use up fabric scraps, and it uses thin cardboard like cereal boxes to create the cover, so you're recycling while you're at it! You (or your kids) will have a one-of-a-kind sketchbook to capture your creative whims. If you're anything like me, a new pretty notebook is sometimes all it takes to kickstart some creativity! 

There are two binding options- machine sewn or hand bound. You'll need a sewing machine to apply the bias tape to the edges of the cover anyway, so I suggest machine sewing to bind the book as it's more durable. 

Let's get started! 


Thin Cardboard (cereal boxes work well)

Fabric Scraps

Blank Paper

Bias Tape (double or single fold)

Glue stick or Mod Podge

Heavy String(for hand binding option only)




Paper Cutter

Foam Brush (if using Mod Podge)

Sewing Machine

Large needles (for hand binding option only)

Small Hole punch (for hand binding option only)

1.     Cut paper to size.  For the larger notebook I used standard US letter size paper and didn’t cut. For the smaller ones I cutstandard letter size paper in half.

2.     Cut cardboard to size. It needs to be a bit wider than the total width of the pages in order to fold nicely around the thickness of the pages. Mine is about ½” wider, so ¼” on either side. I originally cut it to be taller by the same amount, but later cut it to be the same height as the paper as it looked cleaner.

3.     Cover one side of the cardboard with glue or Mod Podge. If using recycled cardboard cover the printed side. Apply fabric, smoothing from the center out. Trim excess fabric.

4.     Fold paper in half. Use a pencil or handle of the paintbrush to really crease it well.  Repeat with cover.

5.     Working from the bottom back of the cover, fold bias binding around the edges and secure to first corner with binder clips or paper clips.

6.     Sew using the longest straight stitch on your machine, backstitching one or two stitches at the beginning and at the corner. Cut threads.

7.     Fold the bias binding over the corner, smoothing the binding flat at the corner. Sew the next side, again backstitching one or two stitches at each corner. Repeat until you get to the beginning of the bias tape, then overlap slightly, trim, and finish sewing with a small backstitch.

8.     Align center fold of pages with center fold of inside cover and secure in place with binder clips or paper clips.

9.     With the fabric side up, stitch along the fold using the longest straight stitch on your machine.

10. Alternate binding method: After step 7 punch two small holes in the center fold of the cover, equal distance from the edges. Repeat with paper.

11. Align paper with cover and use the string and needle to thread the string through the top hole from the inside of the book and back through the bottom hole. Pull snug and tie tightly with a double knot. Trim String.

12. Trim your threads and admire your handiwork!





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