Making gifts: musical notebook

What to gift someone who thinks a lot about music? While husband was busy cutting glass for his planter, I made some musical notebooks. I like to use materials I already have, so I looked first to my huge pile of computer paper. I save every piece of single-sided paper I get. We don’t have a printer though, so this pile grows faster than I can use it! Upcycled paper notebooks are a great way to reuse some of it.

musical notebook

Upcycled notebook with some pages for musical musings

I use about 20 sheets of paper per A5 sized-notebook. Because I was making for a musician, I printed a third of the sheets with music staves. I’ve uploaded the file I used here in case you’d like to do this too. Then I folded all the sheets in half lengthwise. Keep the old printed information inside the fold, and you have an A5 sheet ready for a notebook.

Next, the notebook needs some covers. I used thin card from old cereal boxes and the like. If there’s a fold in the card all the better, it can be used as a hinge along the spine! I cut each piece of card to at least A5 size, using the first piece as the cutting pattern for the others.

cutting card

Marking cut points with an existing card cover as a pattern; cutting the cover with scalpel and ruler

Finally, the creative part! Decorate the notebook covers how you like. In this case, I knew my musician loved dragon flies. One of the covers had a square window already cut in it; I used that to frame some dragonfly wrapping paper from my stash. For the second one, I drew a blown up view of a dragonfly’s wing structure in metallic pen. So conceptual 😉

dragonfly wing design

Using a reference image for my macro dragonfly wing design

The last notebook is probably my favourite. I drew a damselfly in pencil, then cut it out like a stencil. Yep, this is a job for a cutting knife, scissors won’t help you here. I glued some foil chocolate wrappers underneath so their colours showed through. I like how the type is still visible, but their new setting transforms the wrappers.

damselfly stencil

Cutting the damselfly design

On to the finishing touches. I glued plain coloured paper on the back side of the covers. This covered up the old packaging designs from the cardboard’s previous life, as well as making a nice inside cover design. I hole punched the pages and bound them to the covers with an elastic band and a paper clip.

The easiest way to do this is to thread one end of the elastic through the innermost fold of the paper clip. Thread the other end of the elastic band through the hole punches. Bring the end of the elastic band back towards the paper clip, and slip it around the outer fold of the clip as quickly as possible. The elastic band is being stretched, and the paper clip may bend under that pressure, so it can be a bit tricky! This binding method is nice for small notebooks, particularly as it allows the book to open flat.

three notebook designs

The three dragonfly notebook designs

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