Pocket Sketchbooks


When I look around my house to find a fresh sketchbook I can always find a pretty hefty stack, but every single one has already been started.  Being the OCD person that I am, I simply cannot use a half started sketchbook to begin a brand new series. This leaves me with two options.  1) Rip out the drawn on pages so I can start again totally fresh. Or 2) Buy another new sketchbook.

In order to save a little bit of money and prevent ripping out and destroying all of my old stuff I decided to start making little pocket sized sketchbooks so that every idea can have its own little book.  These quick little sketchbooks are perfect size to carry around and fill up entirely. Plus it certainly doesn’t hurt that they are pretty darn adorable.

What You’ll Need

  • Thick Cardstock
  • Patterned Paper (Cover)
  • Colored Paper (Inside Cover)
  • Sketch Paper
  • Ruler
  • X-Acto Knife (Or Scissors)
  • White Glue
  • Waxed Thread
  • Large Needle
  • Fabric Tape

First, cut out the pieces for the cover.  Each of the two cardboard pieces for the front and back cover should be 5″x7″.  The piece for the spine should be 7″ tall and however thick you need for the number of pages you are going to insert.  The piece for the spine I cut was .75″ thick for a .25″ spine, because you need to fold the edges in as overhang so you can attach each third between the covers using a thick bonding glue.

As for the patterned paper to wrap the cover in, add an additional .25″ on each side and .25″ (or however thick you are making your spine) in the center. That would make the rectangle of patterned paper 10.75″x 7.5″.  Using a pencil and a ruler draw lines .25″ from each edge on the back of your sheet of paper. This is where you are going to fold the edges over into the inside of the cover. Fold the paper in half and measure out .125″ from the center in each direction and score to form the spine.  Then cut the pieces of excess on the corners out like I’ve shown in the photo of Step 2.

Very thoroughly glue your paper cover around the cardboard using rubber cement or crafting glue, folding up the edges up onto the inside as you go. Make sure to score the folds on the spine and make sure the entire cover folds and unfolds properly so that the paper doesn’t tear from being wrapped too tightly over the base.

Next, cut out the pieces for the inside cover.  Each piece should be 4.5″x6.5″

Glue the pieces onto the inside cover, careful to leave an even amount of space on each side.

When cutting out the pages, it is important to make sure they are going to be smaller than the cover so they fit inside snuggly.  The pages should be cut at 9.5″x6.5″.  Fold the pages down the center.  On one page make a mark about every inch for holes for binding.  Poke the holes through where you made a mark when you are satisfied with your placement, and use this page as a template for the rest. With the template mark and poke all of the holes consistently. Also use the hole template to poke holes in the spine of the cover going fully through both the cardboard and paper layers.

When finished poking the holes into the pages and the spine, it is time to stitch them into the cover.  Place each sheet unfolded on top of each other and line the entire stack up with your spine’s holes.  Starting from the center hole use the waxed thread and needle and weave through the holes, wrapping around both ends when you get to them and finishing back in the middle. Tie and knot with the thread in the center and cut the remaining thread down.

Adding a strip of fabric tape over the stitching will help hold everything in place and cover any mistakes, but it isn’t really necessary for these sketchbooks. I made several different versions below to show some of the different patterns, options and varieties of sketchbooks that can be made using this simple book binding technique. I really hope you can enjoy them as much as I do!

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