This week, my oldest (Benjamin) is starting Kindergarten… which means I have a new excuse to buy school supplies. I’ve been an organizing, doodling, labeling, sorting, decorating tornado, doing what I can these last few days to make sure Ben is ready for and excited about his for day of school. But I’m also a little worried about all of the new things I’m going to have to keep track of, so I decided to make myself a few cute mini notebooks out of cardstock and graph paper to keep in my purse and help me stay organized.
While shopping at Staples for school supplies, I also picked up these great sets of Sharpie markers, as well as some classic black fine tip Sharpies. (Right now the multi packs of the fine and ultra fines are on sale at Staples while supplies last.) I’m particularly smitten with these neon Sharpies in bright and fun colors. They’re even florescent under a black light. The neon sharpies have found their way into a number of projects around my house, and the turquoise, pink, and yellow markers started to inspire me to create something in CMYK colors.
What you need:
2. Graph Paper
3. Black Sharpie
4. Needle & Thread
5. Paper Cutter
6. (Optional – Vinyl)
What you do:
1. Cut your cardstock (cover) to whatever size you want. I cut mine 5 inches by 7 inches, which makes a book that is 5 inches tall and 3.5 inches wide. Cut your graph paper to slightly smaller than your cardstock. I cut 3 sheets of paper 4.75 inches wide, then I folded them in half and trimmed the folded papers to 3.25 inches.
2. Use paperclips to hold your paper in place while you sew the binding. I used a pin to poke the holes along the fold of the book to make it easier to sew. It ended out being really easy to sew through the paper and the cardstock.
3. Tie a knot in your thread and start sewing the binding so that the knot is on the outside of the book. Sew back and forth, and tie another knot at the end on the outside of your notebook.
4. DECORATE and enjoy. You could also use washi tape to cover the binding, but I liked how the thread looked by itself.
To create the negative space Sharpie dot art on the covers, you will need a classic black fine point Sharpie, and something to create the pattern. I used my Silhouette machine and vinyl to cut out an R, a heart, and a cat. You could also buy vinyl at any craft store and cut out any shape you want with scissors. You could also just print out designs onto paper, cut it out and use removable tape to hold in in place while you make the dots.
If you’re using vinyl, I would recommend making it a little less sticky so that it doesn’t tear the paper when you pull it off. The easiest way to do this is to stick the vinyl on the top of your hand a few times before you place it on your paper.
Start by making a handful of evenly spaced dots across your paper. Then start making more dots closer in to the design. Continue adding more dots closer and closer to the edges. Make sure that a lot of dots cross over onto the vinyl to create a nice, clear edge. When you’re done, peel away the vinyl.
I made my books very thin, but you could play around with adding more pages. I stacked a couple of heavy books on top to make sure the little notebooks stayed flat. If you find that they are staying open, you could keep them secure with a paperclip.