How to Bind a Traveler’s Notebook Insert

Hi Everyone!

For anyone who’s been following me on Instagram, you have likely noticed my recent obsession with book binding. I’ve been trying a bunch of different styles ever since I discovered Jose Naranja binds his owns books (check out his method here, he rocks). A few of you have asked me for an instructional video or post, so I figured I would start with the most basic type of binding I learned so far, and work my way up. Today’s post will show you how to make a traveler’s notebook insert.

First things first, here is what you will need:


  1. Paper you like to write on for the inside (I like to use Rhodia paper)
  2. Cardstock for the cover (I recommend scrap-booking paper from Michael’s
  3. Needle and thread
  4. ruler (mine is triangular but that’s not needed)
  5. An awl (pictured on the top left) or thicker needle to punch holes through paper
  6. Clamps or binder clips (not pictured above but you’ll see them in pictures below)
  7. Exacto or box cutting knife
  8. Scissors (not pictured above, but I’m
    sure we all know what those look like :P)
  9. Any old hard-cover book (also not pictured above, but you’ll see it below too!)
  10. Ribbon (optional)
  11. Duct Tape (optional)

*Everything I listed in steps 3-6 can be purchased in this kit on amazon).

Now, for the fun part – actually making the book 🙂

Step 1: Fold your sheets of paper and the card-stock cover in half. Cut them to the size of journal you would like. Make sure the cover is the right height and width (the journal I’m making here is 7 inches tall and 5 inches wide). The inside pages just need to be the right height. We will worry about width later because sometimes the pages move while binding them.

Step 2: Put the pages inside your cover and clamp them together so they don’t move.


Step 3: Open your hard-cover book and place your insert inside. With your notebook inside the hard-cover, measure where you’d like to punch your holes. I recommend making them 1 inch apart. Make a dot where the holes will go with a pencil or pen.


Step 4: Punch holes through each mark with your awl or thick needle. Doing this with the crease of your hard-cover book beneath will make it easier to punch the holes.


Step 5: Sew the pages together. I recommend by starting with the center hole (as this will be where you tie of the book). Place the need through the back to the center of your book, tying a knot in the thread so it doesn’t pull through completely. From there you will weave the thread through all holes. (I’ve been trying to find a way to write this part out, but I feel it will be easier to view my instructional video for this – it will be much clearer when seeing it in action!)


Step 5. After you finish sewing and tying the thread, it’s time to cut the inside pages to size. Take the binder clips and clamp the book shut. From there, place the ruler where you’d like to cut the pages, and start cutting with the knife.


Step 6. BONUS: If you’d like to add some more decorative elements, you can add duct tape to the spine (instead of super glue), and a bookmark by taking a ribbon and super-gluing it to the back cover.




And that’s all folks! If you are more of a visual learner (like I am), I have an instructional video on my YouTube channel, or embedded here below. Enjoy!

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