Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Graph Paper Design Book Tutorial and a Giveaway!

Woohoo, it's time for my first tutorial! It does not involve fabric, but it is sewing and design related. I have some other things to share with you guys (some cool stuff has been going on), but I want to keep this post just for the tutorial and the giveaway, so I will be back in a couple of days to share other news. If you really *need* to know, Jennifer did share the most exciting thing on her blog...it involves us going somewhere...somewhere that rhymes with pinneapolis...in May...

Okay, so here's the background on my first little tutorial. A few months ago I was looking for a graph paper notebook to carry around with me when working on quilt designs, but could not find them anywhere (even though I've seen them before). I ended up buying just a notepad of graph paper, but find it difficult to carry around in my bag since it doesn't have covers and the pages end up getting caught, scrunched, and torn because of everything else in my purse. It's also a bit big to be carrying around in my purse - although if you've seen my purse, you wouldn't think this was an issue - so I decided to make my own!

These notebooks are great for any kind of design work where you might want to some sort of dimensional reference, I also thought they could be neat for kids for math homework (I always liked doing math on graph paper) or for drawing. Really, these could be fun for just about anything - the possibilities are endless!

Here are the instructions (with a giveaway at the end of the post):

You will need:

10 sheets 8.5x11" graph paper
1 sheet card stock
About 22" thread, ribbon or twine for binding (I used waxed macramé thread)
Needle (thicker, so that it can punch through the paper easily)
Bone folder
4 paperclips
Embellishments (patterned papers, ribbon, stickers, embroidery thread, etc.)

Instructions (and remember, you can make any of the pictures bigger by clicking on them):

-Take your 10 sheets of graph paper, with the graph side facing up, and fold them in half. Use your bone folder to get a nice crisp edge.

-Do the same with your piece of card stock.
-Open up your graph paper to the centre and, using your pencil, mark seven dots along the crease. Since the graph paper is basically see-through,  I used the blocks of the graph paper as my markers. I marked two blocks up from the bottom and then marked every 5 blocks until I was left with two at the top again (see picture for explanation and ignore the one little dot that didn't erase all the way).

-Insert your graph paper booklet inside of the folded card stock cover and use your paperclips at each corner to secure everything in place.

-Using your needle (without thread) punch through the dots you made so that the needle comes out on the card stock side. Punching the holes through first will help when you go to sew the binding.

-Insert your threaded needle into the first bottom hole from the inside (i.e. graph paper side, not card stock side), leave a short tail (about 2-3") for tying off at the end.

-From the card stock side of the booklet, insert your needle into the next hole up and pull through. You're basically going to be doing a running stitch here. Continue this until you reach the top hole.

-When you reach the top hole, pull the needle through to the card stock side.

-Take your thread and wrap it around the top of the booklet so that it lies flat against the spine and comes over to the graph paper side of your booklet. Insert the needle back into the top hole so that it comes out on the card stock side.

-Here's what it looks like once the needle has been pulled all the way through to the card stock side.

-Insert needle into next hole down and continue until you reach the bottom hole. Doing this "double-running stitch" (that's what I call it) will insure that all spaces on both the spine and inner crease are covered.

-When you reach the bottom hole do just the same thing that you did with the top hole (except that you are going from the graph paper side to the card stock side and back to the graph paper side). Pull both threads (your starting tail and the end tail) down to the bottom and tie them against the bottom of the booklet (I used about four knots, teehee).

-Your little booklet is now done!

-Embellish the booklet in anyway you choose!

-You'll notice when you open your booklet that for the first half of the book, you have graph paper on the right hand side and blank paper on the left hand side. The centre will be two blank pages. I find these blank pages good for making notes, or gluing small pieces of fabric into the booklet. Also, you'll notice that after the centre crease, the graph paper is on the left hand side and the blank paper is on the right. You can either now design on the left hand side, or do as I did and flip the book once you get to the half of the book so that the graph paper is on the right again.

-I didn't really embellish the other side that much, but here ya go!

Now for the giveaway! I am giving away one of these handmade booklets, as well as some embellishments (patterned papers[including some Amy Butler], embroidery floss, ribbon, etc.), covered paperclips, and waxed macramé thread so that you can make your own! Since graph paper, regular card stock, and needles are pretty easy to some by, I am not including those things.

This notebook actually has a slate sticker on the front, and you can use chalk to write on it (wipes off with a damp sponge). I only embellished the notebook on one side, so you can embellish the other if you'd like!

Leave one comment to enter the giveaway. If you are a follower of my blog (or if you become one) leave a second comment and you will get a second entry! The giveaway is open internationally and is open for one week. Yay!

If you have questions about my tutorial, please feel free to ask. Also, any constructive criticism is welcome as this is the first tutorial I've ever written! And, if you'd like, send me a picture of your completed notebook made using this tutorial and I'll post it on the blog. Thanks everyone!

*The giveaway is now closed*


  1. This is a great tutorial! I can't wait to try it out.

  2. That is such a great idea. I am so tired of drawing little squares when I come up with or see a great design. The squares never look right anyway. I am going to make one of these.

  3. This is a good idea, I should make one and stop sketching on paper napkins and back of envelopes!

  4. this is great i have been on the hunt for more graph paper notebooks since i used u my old one...i never thought to make my own. what a great idea. thanks for the giveaway.

  5. Let me see, pinneapolis...in May I think I know where you are headed. I used to live in a little town called Indianapols and well, lets say the end of May zoooooommmm zoooommmmmm if that's where you are headed than that could be fun, check out the museum if you get a chance, really cool. And if you get there the week before time trials and tire testing on the track is neat too... great tutorial, thanks

  6. Great idea! Thanks for sharing with us!

    Hmmm...how about a tutorial on those yummy scones...:0)

  7. What a great idea, I'm so glad I came here to check it out. I'm going to mark your blog to follow. Thanks for the great info.

  8. Thanks for the tutorial, I'm definitely going to make myself one but please enter me for the draw too!!

  9. You did a fantastic job on your tutorial Kaye!

    It's such a clever and cute idea too!


  10. Oh I want to make one! Thanks for this, what a great idea. ANd I love how you can personalize them.

  11. what a great tutorial. loves cute girl. miss you!

  12. Winning your cute little booklet would be the perfect push for me to keep notes on quilt related ideas. Thanks for counting me in.

  13. Hi Kaye,

    What a delightful project, thanks for sharing the tutorial. And please add my name to the drawing list! Thanks!

  14. I love notebooks - what a clever idea! I'll probably make a plain one though, since all we get in France is graph paper!

  15. And now I'm following you too!

  16. i'm going to have a go at this - but in the meantime i'd really like to win one of yours!!!


  17. I love the tutorial and the notebooks! I've never made a book before!

  18. I follow you on twitter and I follow you on bloglovin, too! :)

  19. Great tutorial and giveaway! Have a sweet weekend!

  20. Clever and so pretty! Thanks for the giveaway.

  21. I could definitely use one of these!

  22. very nicely done!!! can't wait to see what you come up with next. thanks for linking up to my site!