Make Your Own Booklet

In a previous post I shared about creating a pocket notebook. While extremely useful, many steps are required to create the book.

A booklet is a collection of sheets folded in half and secured in the fold. Many magazines and brochures fit this definition, usually with staples to secure the pages. It is difficult to staple in the middle of folded pages unless you have a saddle stapler, specifically designed for that purpose.

Making your own booklet at home is easy, and you can probably do it right now with materials you have available. Like any book, the booklet requires pages, a cover, and a way to bind the cover and pages together.

Materials

The project featured here is a 24-page booklet with a decorative cover.

  • 3 sheets of 8.5×11 inch paper (standard US copy paper).
  • 1 12×12 sheet of card stock (available from Michael’s and Hobby Lobby). Construction paper will also work.
  • 18 inches of waxed thread. In traditional book binding, a thin, unwaxed linen thread is used. When sewing, the thread needs to be waxed. A simple substitute for this linen thread and waxing it is to use traditional white, waxed floss.

For the illustrative purposes, I used a thicker thread to easily see the stitching.

Tools

The essential tools needed to create a booklet are …

  • Awl to punch holes (the sewing needle works as a substitute).
  • Sewing needle that matches thread.
  • Cutting mat.
  • Knife, scissors, or paper cutter for trimming.
  • Template for punching holes.

Template

The cover and pages of the booklet are secured by passing the needle and thread through five holes. To ensure that the holes are evenly spaced, a template is necessary.

For this project, take a strip of card stock or use a 4×6 index card and trim it to 3×5.5 inches. Fold the card in half lengthwise then unfold. Along the fold, draw small cross marks at these measurements (inches), starting from one end …

0.75, 1.75, 2.75, 3.75, 4.75

Using the awl and cutting mat, punch a small hole at each cross mark.

Cut and Fold

  • Cut the letter size sheets in half, with dimensions of 5.5×8.5 inches.
  • Stack the sheets together and fold in half, for a final book size of 4.25×5.5 inches.
  • Cut the card stock for the cover with dimensions of 5.5×12 inches.
  • Fold the cover in half.
  • Insert the sheets inside the cover and tap the spine against a table surface to align the cover and the pages.
Folded sheets and cover ready for assembly and punching

Punch

  • Position the template in the center of the folded sheets and cover.
  • While holding the template in place, set the spine edge on the mat. Use the awl to punch small holes as marked on the template.
  • Be careful to punch in the fold of the sheets.
  • Remove the template, hold up the booklet, and push the sewing needle through each hole from the inside of the booklet.
Punching holes in the sheets using a template.

Sewing

  • Thread the needle with a length approximately 18 inches (3 times the length of the spine).
  • Tie a figure-8 stopper knot about two inches from the end of the thread.
  • Starting from the inside of the book, push the needle through the middle hole (#3) until the knot reaches the hole.
  • Bring the needle back into the fold through hole #2 and out through hole #1.
  • Bring the needle back through hole #2 again and out through hole #4.
  • Bring the needle back through hole #5 and out through hole #4.
  • Bring the needle back into the fold through hole #2.
  • Tie a double-overhand or square knot where the threads meet at hole #3.
Completed sewing from both sides.

Finish

Fold the extended ends of the cover to be flush with the pages.

Finished, music-themed notebook on a small keyboard

Booklet Mini Workbook (Zine)

Click on the link or image below to download a PDF zine version of the instructions for this project.

Booklet Zine Mini Workbook

This booklet style of bookbinding is an easy way to make notebooks for projects or to bind a small number of printed pages. Depending on paper thickness, I recommend a maximum of 32 finished pages.

32 pages = 16 half-sheets = 8 letter-size sheets

Below is a collection of various booklets in different sizes. I’ll be sharing more in a later post about how to adjust the template for different sizes and how to print a PDF as a booklet.

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