Friday, July 17, 2015

DIY: Saddle Stitched Notebooks

A couple months ago, I came across these cute little notebooks while browsing at Joann's.  I loved their size and simplicity so I bought the set (there were 3 but I used one for my May Listers Gotta List challenge).  The size was perfect for making me feel comfortable as a new papercrafter... not too much space, but enough to get artsy.

inspiration photo

As I was working through the May challenge, I kept thinking... I can make a book just like this.  So I watched a couple videos on YouTube on saddle stitch binding and set out to make my own notebook.
(If you want to see a really well explained video on how to do the saddle stitch, watch Sea Lemon's -here-.  She also has a playlist of a bunch of different binding methods.)

Here are the supplies you'll need:

supplies needed
Paper trimmer/scissors, small hammer, yarn needles, embroidery thread, ruler, awl/pointed object. 
Not pictured: binder clips.
paper selections
Printer paper or whatever paper you want for the pages, cardstock or other heavyweight scrapbook paper for the cover.

[Measurements: small books 8"x5.5" / medium books 9.5"x6.5"]

Step 1: Measure the cover paper and page papers to desired size.  Using a paper trimmer or scissors, cut all the sheets down. (I went with the measurements for the medium size book.)

cutting the pages

Step 2: Clamp pages together using binder clips to make sure they don't move.  Use a ruler to find the center of the cover page and make marks every .5" down that center line.  This is where you will pierce holes for the stitching.

marking the stitching holes

Step 3: To pierce the holes, the proper tool to use is an awl.  But if you're like me and don't have one, a small hammer and a pointed object will work.  (I have used a nail, a yarn needle, and a knitting needle.)  Use the hammer and pointed object to punch holes down through all the pages.

punching the stitching holes

Step 4: Now to do the saddle stitching.  Thread the yarn needle with embroidery thread (waxed bookbinding thread is recommended, but I didn't have any and embroidery thread is more colorful) and starting on the center hole on the inside of the book, bring the needle through and to the outside.  Sew a running stitch through the rest of the holes going to the right.  Loop around the edge of the book and sew a running stitch through the same holes going all the way back to the left edge.  Loop around that edge and finish sewing a running stitch back towards the center.  Tie the ends together and tuck your ends under the other stitches.

sewing a saddle stitch book

Step 5: Fold the cover outward and the pages inward.  Then fold the cover over the pages and press down.

folding the pages

Whew!  Your book is pretty much done from here.  The following steps are purely aesthetic and optional.

finished handmade book

Step 6: Using a paper trimmer/scissors/rotary cutter and trim the edges of the pages so they are flush.

trimming raw page edges

Step 7: Corner round the pages. (Because who doesn't love rounded corners, right?)

corner rounding punch

Step 8: Use washi tape or fabric tape to cover binding and to add extra sass!

washi tape spine cover

Step 9: Stamp the date on the back cover of your new one-of-a-kind notebook.


Now you have a cute little notebook for your poems, stories, diary entries, or crochet ideas!  I love making these so much that I have to resist :)  I mean, I only need so many little notebooks after all.  They are so easy to make in less than an hour and would make a unique gift.  If you make one take a photo and tag me on instagram (@nadiratani) I'd love to see it ^.^

two sizes of DIY handmade saddle stitched notebooks

two sizes of diy handmade saddle stitched notebooks
This photo shows a couple binding options: top- stitching every inch, middle- stitching every 1/2 inch,
bottom- stitching every 1/2 inch with fabric tape covering.


  1. Is it horrible that instead of being inspired to make one for myself I thought of one you could make for me? :-P I'm thinking a customized Disney autograph book... ;-)

    1. Not horrible. We can make it together :) I'm always looking at the Disney scrapbooking paper at the craft store. Now I have an excuse to buy some ^.^

  2. Okay, a) Disney scrapbooking paper? That sounds amazing. I'm so envious of the craft stores you have in America. Secondly, I've been making saddle stitch books for a while and never thought of washi taping the spine. Genius!


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