Nifty Notebooks with Rosemary

At the studio we have a little selection of simple note books Rosemary made. Using old off cuts and packaging and printer paper.
What you will need:
  • Plain paper (good for writing on)
  • Card for the cover (food box or gift card, or something a similar thickness)
  • Patterned paper for decorative pages (optional, old envelopes, wrapping paper etc.)
  • A steel rule
  • A craft knife
  • Thread (waxed linen thread or book binding thread, embroidery thread, thin string)
  • Needle (sturdy one, not too thin and teeny)
  • Wax – optional (a candle would do)

Step by step:

  • Start by choosing a cover and trimming the edges to make a rectangle the size of the book you want to make.
  • Fold the piece of card in half either by gently folding it or measuring half way and gently scoring a line before folding.
  • Choose approximately 10 leaves of thinner paper pages for inside.
  • Fold each page in half, one or two at a time.
  • Slot each folded page inside the next until you have a stack of all 10. This is the folio.
  • Using a craft knife and steel rule, trim the folio to a few mm smaller than the cover (the top, the bottom and the loose edges). Making sure all the pages remain tightly stacked.
  • Slot the folio into the cover.
  • Cut a length of thread three times the length of the spine.
  • Wax it by pulling it gently between your finger and a block of beeswax or a candle. Thread the needle with this waxed thread.
  • Measure to find the middle of the spine on the middle page and mark it.
  • Mark a spot approximately half a centimetre from the top of the page and the bottom and make a hole through all the leaves and cover.
  • Push the needle with the thread through the spine to the cover in the centre hole. Keep hold of a tail on the inside – long enough to tie a double knot with later.
  • Push the needle back, through the hole at the top of the spine through to the top of the middle page.
  • Push the needle back through to the outer cover, through the hole at the bottom of the page.
  • Push the needle from the cover through to the middle page, through the hole in the middle of the spine (the one you started with).
  • Tie the two loose ends over the long stitch now down the middle pages, in a double knot.
  • Trim the ends of the threads and voila!


  • When cutting straight lines hold the ruler firmly and stroke gently with the knife.
  • When trimming the top and bottom of the pages start your cut from the spine side.
  • Gift cards (used or not!) make really good ready folded covers!
  • If you don’t have linen thread or a thin string you can try using an untwisted thread or two from an embroidery skein, thin wool or string, or tripled up cotton sewing thread (a single piece of sewing thread will likely rip the pages).
  • Use pretty papers as page dividers or fly papers.
  • Experiment with ripped edges.

Notebooks by Ann, with beautiful calligraphy titles

Gift card print turned into a notebook. Jane

Rosemary notebooks using waste papers from calligraphy and mark making courses

Notebooks by Rosemary, misc. covers

Notebooks by Karen.

Notebook with chocolate box cover, rejected drawings and coloured paper pages and decorative cut outs by Rosemary

Fabric used from printing turned into a notebook cover. Jane

Notebooks with imperfect lino print cover and old wrapping paper and envelope leaves by Rosemary

Sketchbook revival notebooks. Jane