Thursday, November 21, 2013

Budget Bodge it Bookbinding by Lynn Davy

Budget Bodge-It Bookbinding


On a recent holiday, I made three little books to use as diaries. They were a bit of a challenge as I’d gone away without any crafting materials: all I had was a pair of nail scissors, a pencil, and a free sewing kit from our hotel room.

I had to be very ingenious and collect every possible scrap of paper ephemera, including luggage labels, a bus timetable, receipts, tourist brochures, teabag packaging and my airport boarding pass.

Adding content was also a challenge with no glue!


I’ve since been asked how I made these books, to which the short answer is that I don’t exactly know... but here’s how you can make something similar, and experience the fun of creating something unique and personal out of whatever happens to be in your wastepaper bin.


Plus, you won’t get sticky fingers and you don’t need to wait for your book structure to dry before you can start writing in it.

You will need:

  • Scrap paper. Don’t go too big or too small: two or three inches square is fine. If your paper is used on one side, choose pieces that are twice as long as they are wide, then you can fold them blank-side-out to make double-thickness pages
  • Something for the covers, not rigid but a bit heavier than the pages – for this example I used a couple of old photo prints
  • Strong sewing needle and thread
  • Scissors
  • Any embellishments you like, e.g. buttons, ribbons, sequins
Choose half a dozen pages. They don’t all have to be the same size. Fold used paper so the used side is on the inside.

Fold larger bits of blank paper to make two pages.

Trim the left-hand margins if necessary, and line them up. (You can paper-clip them together if you like.)

Add the covers and make sure the margins are aligned. Trim if necessary so that the pages will all more or less fit inside the covers.


Thread your needle with a generous length of thread and punch a hole through the book near the top left corner. Stitch through the hole from back to front. (You can rule a line down the front cover and mark holes before you start, if you like; make sure there are an odd number. You can also punch them through with a bradawl or large needle to make the stitching easier, a good idea if you’re using thick thread and/or heavyweight papers.)


Stitch through the same hole again from back to front, pulling the loop of thread round the top edge of the book.

Stitch through the same hole a third time, this time pulling the loop round the left-hand edge of the book.

Make a second hole near the left-hand edge, a little way along from the first, and stitch through the pages from front to back. Stitch down through the second hole a second time, pulling the loop of thread round the left-hand edge.

Now make a third hole and stitch from back to front...

Carry on until you reach your last hole. Stitch through twice from back to front, pulling one loop round the bottom of the book and one loop round the left-hand edge.

Now stitch back along the row of holes, filling in the gaps so you have continuous stitching on both sides.


When you reach the last gap (on the back cover), knot the ends of thread together. Tie a bow if you like. Trim the ends.

Fold the covers back along the line of stitching so that the book will open and close.

Now have fun stitching on embellishments and adding content. Write, draw, stitch...

A bit of envelope can be used as a ‘pocket’ to put things in (or you can stitch the bottom of a double-thickness page). You can use a length of ribbon or thread to attach whatever is in the pocket so it doesn’t get lost when you take it out to look at it. Or attach a small gripseal bag or a bit of clear packaging to put small objects inside. It’s up to you!



  1. What a fab tutorial, thank you Lynn xx

  2. Wonderful creativity! And hats off to your solution to limited supplies!

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