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DIY Bind Your Own Sketchbook Tutorial

I recently made these cute sketchbooks with my art lesson girls and realized it would make a great tutorial! I can think of a million things you could bind in these cute little books. Here are some ideas: sketch paper, different colored paper, watercolor paper, your child’s artwork, greeting cards you’ve been saving, ruled paper. . . Leave a comment if you think of another great use for these little books:-)

DIY Sketchbook Tutorial


  • Corrugated Cardboard
  • Paper for inside the book
  • craft knife or box cutter
  • scissors
  • hole punch
  • pen or pencil
  • something to tie it up with: raffia, yarn, wire, ribbon. . .
  • patterned paper for decoration
  • glue stick



Step One:  Cut out two pieces of cardboard slightly larger than the paper you plan on binding inside the book.

Tip for cutting cardboard: First score the line you want to cut half way through. Then bend the cardboard at your cut before cutting the rest of the way through.

cute the front and back cover

score before cutting

Step Two: We are going to make the cover where it can swing open. This is why it is important that you use corrugated cardboard for this project. You will measure about an inch down on the piece you intend to use as the cover. Using a piece of cardboard as a straight-edge, score the cardboard, only cutting through that top layer. When you stack together your sketchbook, the scored piece is the cover. The scored side of the cardboard will be inside so that your book will open easily.

score the cover

the cover will swing open

Step Three: Punch two holes in that top section of the cover. You will then use the cover as a template to mark the holes on the back cover and on all of the paper. You will need to divide the paper into sections that are thin enough to punch through and mark the holes on each section.

punch holes in top section

trace the holes

Step Four: Punch all of your holes and then stack together your sketchbook. Make certain all of your holes line up. You can use a pen or pencil to wiggle through and get everything aligned. Remember that on the front cover the scored-side goes inside.

line up the holes

Step Five: Thread through the raffia or ribbon and tie in a knot just like your shoelaces. Pull it as tight as you can and then double or even triple-knot. Trim any excess.

tie and trim

Step Six: From this point forward I hope you will get creative:-) I glued down layers of patterned paper with a glue stick and sewed on buttons. You could also use photos, sheet music, or covers of old greeting cards.

sew on buttons

These buttons are scrapbooking elements. You could also use real buttons, brads, beads for the ribbon or raffia, rubber stamps, etc.

ideas for decorations

Tip for sewing on buttons: Glue them down where you want them first.  Poke the holes through the front so that you can see where to sew from the back.  I glued down a patch of paper to cover the knots.

patch to cover knots

Last I added this matching charm by attaching the o-ring to the knot. This charm is from a pair of earrings I made and then promptly lost one:-)

bird charm

All done!  I hope you love your little book.  Let me know the cute ideas you come up with when you are making yours!

finished cover

cover ideas

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