Make This:

Notebooks With Stitched Covers

The last time my parents visited we went on a tour of a very beautiful old mansion. At the end of the day I was left with a commemorative sticker and the embarrassing realization that even though I spend nearly all of my time working on DIY projects I didn’t actually have anything dedicated to collecting up the pretty bits of ephemera. Now I do – these notebooks with stitched covers are made from cardstock (from those variety packs I always need every color of.) They’re fun to stitch and sturdy enough that you could stick all kinds of drawings, leaves, feathers, and other things inside of them!

Notebooks With Stitched Covers



– cardstock – 5 sheets, these are all from one pre-packed set

– embroidery floss – probably 2 skeins

– sharp knife

– cutting mat

– ruler (clear is best)

– masking tape

– cork panels

– thumb tacks

– sewing needle

– scissors

template sheet (click here to download)


Cut each sheet into quarters (4.25 by 5.5 inches.)

IMG_4674 IMG_4677

Lightly score each sheet at 2.75 inches so it cleanly folds in half. I used the back/dull side of my knife (be careful not to cut yourself!) You can also use a bone folder or any other pointy but not actually sharp object.


Fold each sheet.


Assort them into 4 groups with the pages in the order you’d like them to be.


Neatly close each one, making sure the pages are all the way together at the spine edge. Determine which sheet is the shortest.


Trim all of the pages to match the shortest one.


Hold the ruler tightly, it will probably take several cuts to get through all of it.


It should now be nice and even like this.


Pick a template for one of the covers.


Align the template on the cardstock and tape it to your cork panels – just the template, though, don’t tape the cardstock.


Place one pin in at the corner of the design to help stabilize the pattern. Use another to start pinning at the points were the lines cross.


This is how it should look when fully stabbed.


Thread the needle with a long piece of embroidery floss. Tie a knot at one end.


Starting at one end stitch up through one hole and down through another, but don’t pull the thread tight.


On the back, slide the needle between the strands right by the knot.


Pull through and tighten. This way you don’t need to make a large enough knot that it won’t pull through the paper.


Continue stitching the pattern, replicating the lines on the pattern.

IMG_4746 IMG_4750 IMG_4756 IMG_4758

Using a running stitch you can fill in half of the stitches, turn around, and fill in the rest.

IMG_4761 IMG_4767 IMG_4770


Eventually you’ll run out of thread. Stop with a bit more than one needle’s length of thread left.


Slip the needle under a stitch near where the most recent stitch ended but don’t pull it all the way.


Send the needle through that loop as shown and carefully tighten, making sure you don’t loosen up your last stitch on the front.

IMG_4783 IMG_4785

Repeat that knot around another stitch.

IMG_4789 IMG_4792

Leave your tails until you’re done with all of the stitching, then trim. Repeat the starting and ending process until all of your stitches are in place.

IMG_4795 IMG_4797

Stack the pages back together and you’ll now need that narrow template. Fold it in half the long way, then center it in the notebook.


Stab through the center hole with the push pin. Do this very carefully, you want it to come out on the fold on the out sheet. Work through page by page if you need to. Leave the pin through the holes.


Pin the other two holes in the same way.


Flip it over and it should look like this.

IMG_4813 IMG_4816

Cut a piece of floss at least 4x the distance between the top and bottom hole and thread it onto the needle. DO NOT tie a knot at the end.


Stitch down into the center hole.


Stitch up through one of the end holes.


Down through the other end hole.


And up through the center making sure you don’t split the existing threads.


Make sure there’s a tail on each side of the long stitch, even up the ends and pull the thread tight.



Overhand knot the strands together. Tighten it as close to the book as you can, then separate the strands and pull each of them at the same time to really tighten it down.


If you want them to lie flatter than they want to naturally just store them under something heavy for a few days, that flattened mine out a lot. That’s it! Time to start filling the pages!

Notebooks With Stitched Covers Notebooks With Stitched Covers Notebooks With Stitched Covers Notebooks With Stitched Covers