5 minute read

Make Your Own Awesome Notebooks at Home with quad-ruled inner pages

for cheap of course

The Results

To start, let's take a look at what I will be showing you how to make.  It is a simple notebook with quad-ruled inner pages and a custom graphic on the front (and back if you wish).

The Front

Custom Notebook Front

The Back

Custom Notebook Back

 

The Backstory

I have always been a big fan of the Moleskine notebook.  For years, I have used these religiously for my day-to-day notes at work and home.

Recently, I placed an order from Bound for customized and branded notebooks for the office.  I choose the smaller of the two options because I thought it would be convenient.

Upon arrival, I was very pleased with the notebooks and everyone liked them.  I started looking closer at the manufacturing of the books and I realized there was no reason this couldn't be done from home.  So, here's how I did it.  The results have been great so far.

The Goal: A Great Note-taking Notebook

My goal for this little side-project was to build a cheap, reliable, and reproducible notebook for under $1.  Generally, my notebooks are short-lived and I use them to keep me focused for a month or two.  My material choices reflect this.  I did not use acid-free paper and the binding is simply a stitched (aka stapled) binding.  If you want to upgrade your materials it would be simple to do.

The Materials and Cost

All of the materials needed for this project can be found on Amazon.

Other then these, you will need access to some graphic design program, such as Photoshop, and a printer.  The printer doesn't have to be great either.  I have a cheap $99 printer at home that works pretty well.

The Long Reach Stapler is not a recurring cost.  This is something that you only have to buy once and keep it fed with staples.  I use 15 pages of Quad-Ruled paper per notebook so I expect to get about 33 notebooks out of this purchase.  If you calculate the cost of the Kraft and Quad Ruler paper this gives an average notebook cost of about $0.90.  If you factor in the three staples, and the ink necessary (and round up) you get to about $1/notebook.

The Process

1. Photoshop the Notebook's Cover Template

The first step to creating the notebook is to open up your graphic design software and create a 11" x 8.5" page (landscape).  The right half of this page will become the front of the notebook and the left side will become the back.  I put a Vertical Guide at 5.5" so I know where the center is and I can use it to center the text.  See below for how simple this template can be.

Photoshop File for Custom Notebook

 2. Print the Cover Template

Next, you  just need to print out the template onto the Kraft paper.  This should be pretty simple, just make sure to center the text on the front and back if you wish.

Printed Cover for Notebook

3. Add the Quad Ruled Paper

Believe it or not we have passed the toughest part of this project.  Now, get 15 sheets of the Quad Ruled paper and carefully align all of the edges with your cover.  I have found that 15 pages (for a 30-page notebook) works very well and the notebooks last long enough that I don't have to make them very often.

Add Quad Ruler Paper to Notebook Cover

4. Staple the Notebook Together

The Long Reach stapler has a guide that you can set so your staples are a specific distance from the edge. This is hugely convenient. For our notebooks, we will set the guide at 5.5".  First, staple the center of the notebook and then place two more staples on either side of the center staple.

Stapling the Custom Notebook

Notebook with Staples

5. Fold Notebook

Now carefully fold the notebook in half starting at each of the edges.  Try to be as meticulous as possible so the edges are similar on both sides.  Don't worry too much about making a perfect crease as we will handle that in a second.

Once you have your notebook folded in half take something heavy and flat (I am using Radical Engineering Studio Re-Amper =) and crease the edges of the notebook.  Apply as much force as you can and try and make the sharpest crease possible.  You may want to take a few passes going each direction and doing the front and the back.

Creasing our Notebook

Conclusion

So that is all there is to it!  It's pretty easy.  Using this method, you may want to make 4 or 5 at a time since it goes by so quick once you have the covers printed.  You can get creative and customize the front and back very easily.  You could even print on the inside covers or pages themselves (like page numbers) if you wanted to.  I am too lazy for that though.

If you have any trouble or comments just leave a comment below.  Feel free to share on social media too =D.

 

 


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