Handmade Notebooks

On my course at university, we don’t really use sketchbooks or large pads of paper. Having bought an A2 pad of paper to print onto for a for a recent project and then not needed it, I decided to put the pages to use by creating a couple of A5 notebooks.

For the first notebook (the one on the left), I started out with my massive A2 pad of paper and folded each sheet of in half.

Using a ruler, I ‘cut’ the paper down the folds.

I then folded this sheets in half again and ‘cut’ them with my ruler.

This is the how the A2 sheet cuts down. The two smallest pieces are being used for the first booklet (A5), the middle sized piece (A4) is used for the second booklet.

With my paper cut down to size, I looked at designing my cover. For this, I used Adobe InDesign. This was then printed, as single pages, onto a textured A4 card. Due to the design being A5 in size, I printed the crop marks so that I knew where to cut (and just the crop marks on a second piece of card).

Using a metal-edged ruler and a scalpel, I cut out my front and back cover, making sure the ruler was perfectly lined up with the crop marks, and held tightly in place when cutting.

Once cut out, I made sure my pages and my covers were all to the same size. Due to the ‘cutting’ method, the rough edges peak out from the covers slightly, but as this is a notebook for creative works, I decided to leave these rather than trim them off.

Next, using my manual comb binding machine (mine was originally from Staples but they don’t seem to have it on their website) I punched all of the pages and placed them onto the comb bind.

As the comb bind was designed for A4 sheets of paper, I trimmed it down to size using a pair of scissors.

And this, is the finished notebook.

The second notebook is saddle stitched, which simply means ‘bound using staples’.

For this notebook, I used the middle size paper which is A4 in size. The cover was printed on A4 paper, but as a spread, rather than a single page as before.

This, along with all the pages were, were folded in half to A5 size, but were not ‘cut’. These were then slotted inside each other.

The pages were then flattened out and, making sure the folds were aligned, they were stapled together using a long arm stapler. I put three staples down the spine. One near to each end, and one roughly in the middle.

As the paper is quite thick and with the nature of folded pages being slipped inside one another, there is always likely to be creep. This is where the pages ‘creep’ out from the standard size fold. Normally, this would be trimmed to ensure the the booklet is of the correct size, but again, I decided to leave this as I didn’t want to trim off the torn edges.

So, there you have it. Two A5 handmade notebooks.

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