DIY: Saddle-Stitching Your Own Booklet

6 Jul

Hi, friends!

I hope everyone had a fun Fourth. The festivities were rained out here but Will and I celebrated his promotion at home with a Lord of the Rings marathon. That’s right. He had a three day weekend so I’m getting a late start on everything this week.

Since I made a booklet for a friend of mine this weekend, I decided it would be fun to share with you a couple ways to make your own. Now, the booklet I made used the text from an excerpt that I formatted using Microsoft Word. Believe it or not, you can create and print your own miniature books from your home and if you’re really interested in that, go watch this video: DIY Booklet Instructions. The only tricky part of this process is figuring out how to print. Unfortunately, not all word programs will put the pages in the correct order for printing and it usually requires a lot of trial and error. (For me, I had to use another program to order the pages correctly and then printed it using a PDF program.) It can be done, though, and Word has a good number of features to help your pages look like a real book. Play around with it. Many books are in the public domain including most classics so using an excerpt is completely legal and can make for cute gifts. (Think Jane Austen love scenes or epic Moby Dick sections.)

Today I’m going to focus on showing you how to bind your booklet. First up, the simple and popular saddle-stitch using staples. For this, I’m just going to use a greeting card and some regular old notebook paper to demonstrate how to make your own adorable notebook.

First, pick a cover and prepare your paper. Covers can be made from a lot of things and as I said, this one is a greeting card. You could also use posters, folders, old album covers (I’ve seen a lot of interesting record covers), or pretty much anything that can be folded and has a decent thickness to it.  You should take into account the quality of your stapler in picking the paper too. If you have a standard stapler, pick standard office paper or something pretty thin. If you want to use some kind of card stock but don’t have the right stapler for the job, any copy shop will probably have a nice long-arm stapler you can use.

So let’s cut your paper to size! Remember you want this to fold so you need to use your whole cover to outline your paper size. Like so:


Cut as carefully as you can around the whole outline. If you don’t have a straight edge-cutter, it won’t come out perfectly because as you cut, the paper will shift…unless you want to outline every sheet of paper and cut them individually. Which, uhm, why would you care that much? If it really bothers you that paper is uneven, you can always trim it at the end.

So after the paper is all cut out, fold it in half with the flattest and sharpest fold you can make. Wedge it into your cover’s fold and pinch it in nice and tight.

Almost done.

Now flip it over with the paper down and the cover on top. Try to make sure your paper is still lined up and tight against the cover. Now staple twice. You want them to look kinda symmetrical with one sorta close to each end. Proportionally speaking, You want them both about a quarter of the way in so there’s about half the length of the book between them. Make sense?

I would show you the finished product, but since my stapler is absolutely terrible…I can’t. Instead, I’m going to use the same paper and cover to show you how to saddle stitch with thread and needle. There aren’t any videos on the internet about how to do this (as far as I can tell) so I’m excited to share that with you….but not until tomorrow! 😀


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