Hey paper nerd!
Today I want to show you how you can make your own little notebooks for your Midori Traveler’s Notebook /fauxdori.
There’s also a couple of free printable inner pages for you further down. Let’s get crackin’!
What you’ll need
- Inner pages
Use paper from a paper pad, blank printer paper, design your own and print or print the free designs below.
Patterned paper or cardstock is perfect for this!
- Cutting tool
I used both my paper trimmer (in the photo) and a cutting mat + scalpel/knife.
- Bone folder
Use the end of a ruler or similar, if you don’t have a bone folder
A t-square ruler makes getting the angles exactly 90 degrees super easy, so you don’t get a wonky notebook. And if you plan to cut your notebook with a scalpel/knife you’ll want to use a metal ruler to avoid damaging the ruler when you cut.
- Sewing machine
Any kind will do. You can also use a long-reach stapler or even just a needle and thread (if you’re patient and don’t mind the handmade look).
How to make your notebook
First things first. Let’s make some inner pages for your notebook!
Free printable notebook pages
- Notebook Pages – Prints on A4 Paper(zipped PDFs)
- Notebook Pages – Prints on Letter Paper (zipped PDFs)
Nice to know about the printable notebook pages
- The page designs are ruled, dot grid and squared. Mix and match as you like!
- The pages can be printed on A4 or Letter sized paper.
- The printed pages measure 13 x 21 cm or 5 x 8.25 inches when cut down. This is known as ‘Cahier Size’ and is the same size as the ‘Large’ size Moleskine Cahiers/Journals and Notebooks.
- Pages can also be cut down to the original Midori Traveler’s Notebook size, 11 x 21 cm or 4.33 x 8.25 inches – just trim a little bit more off at the end step.
The page designs are meant to be printed on both sides of the paper. I have a little guide to how you print on both sides but mainly just check the boxes like in the photo below where the arrow is pointing.
Once you’ve printed a little stack of inner pages (6-10 sheets of paper should be fine) it’s time to score them down the center (14.8 cm in on A4 paper or 5.5 inches in on Letter paper). I use my trimmer and bone folder for this.
Don’t worry about trimming down the width of the notebook yet. We’ll trim it at the end when the notebook is assembled.
Note for Letter sized prints: You need to trim off the bottom bit of the pages where the dashed line is before scoring! The height of the page must be 21 cm or 8.25 inches.
Then you take your cover material and cut it down to the right height. Again, don’t worry about the width of the cover yet. Just make sure you cut the height to 21 cm or 8.25 inches.
Also, score the cover down the center to make the spine of the notebook.
This next step is optional but it really helps with keeping your pages and cover neatly stacked and the fold/spine lined up for assembly.
Line the fold/spine of your inner pages and cover up and clip one or two bulldog clips on the stack to keep it together. Now the pages won’t shift as easily during assembly.
I’m sewing my notebook together on my trusty IKEA sewing machine. I put the stitch setting on C (large dashes). In never touch the tension dial ’cause to be honest it’s usually fine where it is and I pretty much only ever sew on paper, not fabric.
This tutorial shows how to machine stitch the notebook together but you can also use a long-reach stapler if you have one. In fact stapling is much easier but I want to show this method as I’m guessing more paper nerds have a sewing machine (or access to one).
With the cover facing up, start sewing carefully near the start of the spine. Start a few millimeters in so you don’t rip the edge.
See how nice this looks! :) Keep going.
When you’ve reached the end of the spine you may remove your notebook from the machine and make sure to leave enough thread so you can tie a knot in a minute. We don’t want this binding to unravel.
It’s really hard to photography this but I’ve tried: Pull the thread on the inside of your notebook so that the end thread on the outside comes through to the inside. See below how the outside thread is looped around the inside thread. Pull on the loop so both threads are now on the inside and tie a tiny double knot.
Cut off the thread ends. Nice and neat! You can hardly tell there’s a knot.
Now fold the notebook closed and give it a good rubbing with the bone folder to make it lie flat.
It’s starting to look like a notebook!
Now it’s time to trim off the sides. If you’re making a Cahier sized notebook, make a mark at 13 cm or 5 inches.
If you’re making a standard Midori sized notebook, make a mark at 11 cm or 4.33 inches.
The t-square is so handy for this! Easy as pie.
You can totally use your paper trimmer to cut down the pages of the notebook but definitely recommend using a scalpel/knife, metal ruler and cutting mat instead for a cleaner cut.
Lay down your metal ruler and start cutting down the marked edge. Be sure to keep the notebook closed when trimming regardless of what method you use or the edge will look super uneven when the notebook is closed!
Don’t put a lot of force into cutting the pages. You may accidentally rip the paper and there’s no way you’ll cut through the entire stack at once anyway. Just take your time and hold the ruler firmly in place so it doesn’t shift.
Ah, beautiful. A nice clean and straight edge.
You did it! Time to enjoy your finished notebook and add it to your Midori/fauxdori.
I hope you liked this very thorough and photo heavy tutorial. Personally, when I’m trying something completely new I love having photos of every step so I don’t get lost, and of course I want to provide that to you also.
Have fun making notebooks! :) See you soon.