I have a thing for notebooks. I’ve covered plain notebooks with fancy paper and repurposed paper and I’ve collaged on them with felt and bits of fabric. And, just recently, we made a boatload of hand tied storybooks.
Notebooks mean that bits of information, bits of the present, are being hand recorded with lines and twists and tiny drawings. When I read a page in an old notebook, I see our Chinese food order next to a phone number of a friend next to a craft idea next to our weekend chore list next to a poem next to a score tally next to a packing list. These are tiny stories that make a boat load of sense to me.
After making the stack of rainbow storybooks the other week, I was itching to make more. This time around, I was hanging out with my Moleskine notebook and I was loving up the curved shape, the delicate stitching, the flexible feel, so I decided to make my own out of cereal box and recycled paper. I was going for the general Moleskine shape while fully embracing the handmade, made-from-a-box quality.
The spring The Paper Source catalog arrived the other morning in the mail, and I was inspired by the sunshine-y flowers and spring colors.
I used a mini shredded wheat box because I like mini shredded wheat, but you can use any kind of box. Cut a 10″ x 7″ piece of the cereal box (or any size you like), fold it in half and crease it with a bone folder, and snip the edges with a corner rounding punch (or leave them nice and pointy). Spray the outside with an adhesive (or use a thin layer of craft glue), and press one piece of catalog paper onto the front and one on the back. If you want front and back to be the same paper, then just cut one long piece. Smooth the paper with your hands and then also with the bone folder to be sure that there aren’t any wrinkles or air bubbles. Lay it in a sunny patch on a table to dry for a few hours (mmmmm. sun beams). Cut a stack of recycled paper (mine was 9 1/4″ x 6 1/4″) so that it is a bit smaller than the cereal box cover. Fold the paper in half, making a sharp crease with the bone folder, and set it aside. Once the adhesive is dry, trim the edges off of the paper on the cover, being especially careful as you go around the rounded corners. Insert the creased recycled paper into the creased cereal box cover.
Now it is time to bind it. Lay the cover and paper flat. You can either hand sew it using an awl and waxed linen thread or quickly run it through your sewing machine. I’ve done it both ways, but I used my sewing machine with this one because it was late in the evening, and I wanted results. If you do use a machine, you might want to use a sturdy needle, like a denim needle, to slowly stitch the paper onto the cereal box cover. In either case, be careful to follow the center fold.
I covered the outside edge with book binding tape. You don’t have to do this, though. I tend to leave the binding exposed when the book is one piece of material, but since I used two different pieces of paper to cover the front and back, I decided it would be nice to cover the binding (where the two pieces of paper meet).