Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Tutorial - Security Pattern Scrap Paper Notebook

When I wrote about the security-patterned paper notebook I made, I also said that I would have a tutorial up 'in a couple of weeks'. And that was only, oh, I dunno, about a month and a half ago.

But I've finally got my arse into gear and taken some photos of the steps required, so you can make your own little notebooks out of scrap paper too! Of course, you can make them any size you like, I make mine A6 as they fit into pockets easily. You don't really need any bookbinding equipment, but it probably makes things much easier if you do. I don't.

1) Gather your scrap paper, and cut them into size if they're not the size you want. I use a range of papers from magazine pages and envelopes. You'll also need a piece of cardboard - cut into the same size as the paper you're using - for the cover. For this tute, I'll be using an old postcard for the cover, but you can cut up old cereal boxes or other suitable items too.

2) You'll also need some tools - if you're professional, you'll have an awl (for punching holes), a bone folder (for scoring paper and cardboard), a metal ruler, upholstery thread and maybe an upholstery needle. Oh, and a Stanley knife.

If you're like me, you'll use a thick canvas needle (for punching holes), your fingers (for folding), crochet cotton and a darning needle. I do, however, have a metal ruler and a Stanley knife named Stanley! Wahey! I've actually got an excellent metal ruler that has an indentation running all the way down the middle so you can place your fingers in it and slice away without worrying about your fingers. I bought it coz I was seduced by its good looks, then realised that it was also cheaper than the standard flat ruler, so, double score!

3) Decide on the number of pages you want in your notebook. Remember: each piece of paper gives you 4 pages when folded in half. I wanted 32 A6 pages in my notebook, so I picked out 8 A5 pieces of paper and folded them all in half.

You'll get a nicer fold with a bone folder, but I don't have one, so...I used my fingers.

4) You'll then need to collate your folded pieces of paper. Just put them all together in the order you want them.

5) Fold your piece of cardboard/ postcard in half too. If you have a bone folder, score the cardboard down the middle before you fold it for a sharp, professional look. I'm jsut using my stubby little fingies.

6) This is where having an awl comes in handy. If you haven't got one, get hold of a thick needle. In my case, I'm using a thick canvas needle. Piece 3 holes in the spine of your notebook. Hold all the pages together, then make a hole in the middle of the spine, then one each nearer the edges. If you want to be neat, you can measure out where you want the holes to be and mark them with a pencil before piercing, but I just guess where I want them and poke. Just like life.

7) Do the same to your cover. The easiest way to get all the holes aligned is to put the pages into the cover, hold them all tight, and put your needle through the holes you've already pierced, then push it all the way through the cardboard cover.

8) Next thread your darning needle. Or a proper bookbinding-type needle if you have one. The professionals use waxed linen upholstery thread (I think?) but I'm using some nifty red crochet cotton instead. Coz it's what I have. Oh, and don't knot your thread at the end.

9) Then open your notebook to the centre page, and put your needle and thread through the middle hole, leaving a tail about 2 inches long. You'll need this tail later.

10) Put your needle back through the top hole...

11) ...and bring it back out through the bottom hole.

12) Then bring the needle back into the middle hole, and made a knot with the 2-inch tail that was left there. Trim the tails so you don't have too much of a bulge when you close the notebook.

13) We're almost there! You'll notice that the pages tend to stick out, so you can choose to leave them as they are, or trim them. At times, you'll be trimming mere slivers of paper, which can get fiddly, so you can always them like that and say you were going for the 'shabby chic' look.

14) Because this is a tute, I'm gonna to show you how to trim them. This is where a metal ruler and Mr. Stanley Knife come in handy. Make sure your blade is sharp too, or you'll end up with gross rumpled edges (shabby chic, again?). A metal ruler works much better than a plastic or wooden one in this case because the blade doesn't cut into the metal, so you'll be almost certain that you're cutting a straight line.

I say 'almost', because sometimes my fingers go crazy and don't listen to me and I end up with wavy cuts anyway.

So, place yourmetal ruler against the edge of the cover, and make light but firm cuts till you've trimmed all the protruding edges way. Don't rush this, as the blade might drag on the paper and tear bits off.

And it's done! I've put up some examples of different ones that I've made, so you get an idea of the kinds of covers you can use. Of course, you can use any type of paper inside, or make a little storybook out of it too.