Notebooks galore

by Suw on March 2, 2012

I’ve been spending some time making notebooks recently and have finally got round to taking some photos of them.









I’ve been using Chiyogami paper, block-printed Japanese paper that is very high quality indeed. It’s not cheap, but it’s gorgeous to work with. Because the paper fibres are randomly distributed, not aligned in parallel like most Western papers, the sheet won’t curl when it is pasted up.

The final photo above is a quarter-bound notebook, with the spine bound in bookcloth, in this case water-resistant bookcloth. Next week I’m going to pop into Falkiners whilst I’m in London to get some more colours as at the moment I only have dark blue and white, and I’m not a fan of the white as it tends to get dirty quickly and is a bit too see-through for my liking. Working the quarter-bound style like this does mean that you get to save a little on the expensive Chiyogami paper as you use less of it, and you can also bind in full bookcloth too, so I’m definitely going to invest in some more colours.

Five of these notebooks go to the winner of the Argleton geogame. The others I may put on Folksy. I have some more bookblocks to bind, which I’ll be doing as soon as I have a bit more spare time, and plenty of paper still to fold and sew!

I did actually buy a couple of reams of good A3 paper, but annoyingly discovered that the grain of the paper ran parallel to the short edge, instead of the long edge as I had hoped for. You usually fold parallel to the grain, which is fine if you’re doing an A6 book, because you’re cutting an A4 sheet in half, then folding it parallel to the grain. But for A5 that means folding an A4 sheet perpendicular to the grain, which is frowned upon.

Because the A3 paper I got is shortgrain instead of longgrain, that means that if I cut it to A4 size and fold, I’m still folding perpendicular to the grain. Most annoying! If I want to, I can trim it down to size so that the grain is going in the right direction, but that means weirdly shaped offcuts that aren’t massively useful for bookbinding. Meh. My search for cheap but decent paper continues.

Here’s a slideshow of all my notebook photos so far:


Melissa March 2, 2012 at 7:04 pm

These are gorgeous!

Suw March 2, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Thank you! I just added a slideshow at the bottom there so you can see some of the others. Can’t wait to have time to bind the other bookblocks I have sitting, waiting.

Laura Pep Wu March 9, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Suw, I found your site through Taleist – thanks for a super helpful post on Crowdfunding!
I LOVE these notebooks. I lived in Japan for several years and the paper is so familiar and nostalgic. Where can I get my hands on them? 🙂 I can’t find any links to them but I’d love to know more about purchasing them. – Laura

Nikki Magennis March 15, 2012 at 11:15 am

Hi Suw,

Love the idea of the Queen of May project. I’m also keen to start doing a bit of bookbinding, and was wondering if you could recommend a good book? I did a course years ago but need to prod my memory.

many thanks


Suw March 15, 2012 at 11:26 am

Laura, I hope to be putting some of the notebooks on Folksy soon, so will email you when they are up!

Nikki, there are some great books out there on bookbinding. I’ve heard people recommend Bookbinding: A Step-by-step Guide by Kathy Abbott, and I myself have used The Bookbinding Handbook by Sue Doggett which is pretty good. There’s another I have which I can’t remember off the top of my head but I’ll check when I get home!

Nikki Magennis March 21, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Magic, Suw, thank you very much! I’ll look these up. Your notebooks are beautiful.

Daniel Honigman March 24, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Those notebooks look pretty sweet. You should throw some up on Etsy. Could sell some for a pretty penny.

Suw March 26, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Thanks, Daniel! I’ll be putting some up on when I get a moment!

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: