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The Kid Should See This

DIY Bookbinding: Make a sketchbook with a cereal box, paper, and thread

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Stitch your own notebook or sketchbook together from scratch with help from this CBC Arts bookbinding video. Printmaker, book artist, and Fly Catcher Press founder Phoebe Todd-Parrish demonstrates how.

Start with a cereal box, some waxed linen or thick cotton thread (or dental floss), blank paper, and some supplies that you probably have around the house: a permanent marker, a pencil, scissors, a metal ruler, a cutting mat, a glue stick, a utility knife (with supervision as needed), and a needle that’s sized for your thread.

“You can use anything that you have around the house. Even dental floss will work! In bookbinding, we use waxed thread so if you have beeswax you can wax your own thread at home, or use dental floss that’s waxed.”

materials for bookbinding
stitching the paper signatures together
The book cover is made from cereal box cardboard that’s 5 ½” x 9 ⅛”. The inside will be filled with 12 x sheets of 8 ½” x 11″ paper. Paper from the printer works well.

Measurements are specific, but after you’ve made one, use whatever adjusted measurements you’d like. Todd-Parrish recommends around one hour for this bookbinding activity.

Optional tools include an awl (stay safe, these are sharp), a bone folder (credit cards work, too), any color or decorative paper, and ink stamps to create a cover. Or draw a cover with markers and other art supplies.

bound books
Want to publish your own book? Print or copy completed pages of your work and use the above techniques to bind them together. Make as many as you’d like to sell or share.

Related reading: Bookbinding Techniques.

Or keep it simple for now and watch how to make a zine from a single sheet of paper.

Watch these related videos next:
• The evolution of the book
• The art of making a book: Setting type, printing, and binding by hand
• The hidden art of fore-edge painting
Scott Blake’s Hole Punch Flipbooks
Marion Deuchars’ Let’s Make some Great Fingerprint Art
• Art of the Marbler (1970)

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