D.I.Y or Don’t

Illustration by Mia Hovila

By Katie Naphas /// Features Editor

The semester is winding down and, honestly, I’m running out of space in my notebooks. Instead of going out and buying a couple, I decided to make my own notebooks. In the remaining weeks, I’m not expecting that I’ll need a full notebook worth of notes, so this project suited me perfectly. All it took was some magazines (or, for me, a clothing catalogue), Washi tape, embroidery thread, a needle, scissors and some printer paper (though lined or graph paper is perfectly fine).


To start off, I perused a catalogue that had been sitting around the house for approximately six months. All you need for this is some sort of page in a magazine (or or similar publication) that’s aesthetically interesting to you, and you can get going. I found some inspiration among the home section of the catalogue and carefully tore out a page with some couch cushions on it. One of the cushions on the page I chose was yellow, so I decided not to go with yellow (and patterned) Washi tape, and instead opted for the blue tape I’d picked up at JoAnn’s. It should be noted that if you’re going to get tape that is made out of fabric, cutting it exactly straight is a little bit of a Herculean task, but it is possible.

In any case, all you have to do next is trim your magazine page to a size you like and then take some paper (printer or otherwise) and cut that to be slightly smaller than the magazine page, which will ultimately be the cover. Fold the magazine page and the filler paper in half and put the paper inside of your future notebook. Then take your needle and some embroidery thread and sew the pages into place. After you tie up the ends, you’ll essentially have a completely functional notebook, but it might not look super pretty. That’s where the Washi tape comes in. I recommend cutting the tape smaller if you picked up a big roll so that it doesn’t cover a significant portion of your notebook, but, if you have small rolls of Washi tape, it should work out just fine for you.

Lay your notebook flat so that the cover is facing you and line up your tape so that it will cover the binding and add some flare to your notebook. You’re going to want to have half of the tape on either side of your notebook, so try to get it even, but don’t worry too much if it’s not perfect. It’s homemade and your second time around will be better.


Honestly, once you find pictures you like (that work sideways, if you go with traditional magazine pages), this project is super easy and takes under half an hour. I made a few more notebooks after my first because they’re decently sturdy, and once you get a hang of the process it doesn’t take very long at all to get them how you want. Have fun and enjoy some productive procrastination.


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