Creativity to make you happy

Nov 11th 2015

DIY 3 Section Notebook

DIY Three Section Notebook

I've been wanting to share a notebook tutorial with you all since starting these DIY projects but I didn't want to start with something too complicated and put you off so here's a really easy bookbinding tutorial using a pamphlet stitch and only 5 pieces of A5 paper.

This notebook is especially good because it has 3 sections which you can label as you wish, so you can be super organised and keep different notes and drawings to different sections. I'm always writing notes down and then forgetting where I wrote them so I'm hoping this proves helpful for me too. Please excuse the slightly dodgy photographs once again - my lights were playing up and I'm definitely not used to this Winter light yet!

I'm thinking about doing a couple of bookbinding posts for beginners, introducing you to some basic tools and techniques, so please let me know via social media or email if that's something you'd be interesting or if there's another DIY you'd really like to see featured. I'd love to hear from you.


3 Section Notebook Materials

  • 1 sheet coloured A4 paper for your cover
  • 4 pieces A4 paper for the pages
  • Needle
  • Thread (waxed or linen thread is best but any will work)
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Scalpel
  • Cutting Mat
  • Bradawl (don't worry if you don't have one, you can use your needle if you're careful)
  • Scissors
  • Pen for decoration
  • Bone folder (if you have one)


On your coloured sheet of paper, mark out a rectangle that is 10.5cm x 28cm.

3 section notebook step 1

Carefully cut this out using your scalpel. Remember to do something fun with the remaining paper... maybe you can make TWO notebooks!

3 section notebook step 2

Fold this strip in half and then in half again - you should end up with a folded piece of paper that looks like an M or a W.

3 section notebook step 3

Take one sheet of your plain A4 paper and fold it in half lengthways. Place this on top of the other sheets, carefully stack them up so that they're neat and even and then cut along the fold. You'll notice I switched to my metal ruler for better accuracy!

3 section notebook step 4

On one of these strips mark 13.8cm on the top and bottom.

3 section notebook step 5

Carefully stack this marked strip on top of the other strips of paper and cut from the top mark to the bottom. You can do this in 2 sections if you find it's easier to cut. Repeat the process with the remaining paper so that you end up with 16 rectangles which measure 10.5 x 13.8cm.

3 section notebook step 6

Fold 15 of these in half and divide into 3 sections of 5. Each folded sheet needs to be inside another, like in the image below.

3 section notebook step 7

Take your cover sheet and on both the left and right folds mark the halfway point (5.25cm) and then 3cm either side of this. You want to make sure you mark on the fold as neatly as possible. Turn the sheet over and mark these same measurements on the middle fold.

3 section notebook step 8

Place one of the sections of 5 sheets inside one of these folds. Stack up neatly and turn over so that the cover is on top. You need to put this on top of some scrap cardboard, a board or a stack of newspapers - something you don't mind making holes in. Using your awl (or very carefully with your needle) stab the marks you just made so that you make a hole all the way through from the cover to the bottom sheet of the inside pages.

3 section notebook step 9

Now you can sew this section on! Thread up your needle with a short length of thread. Sew from the inside middle hole out, leaving a short tail of about 5 cm, then back in through the top hole. Bring this down to the bottom hole and poke your needle back out (sorry if my photos are confusing, I've just noticed I turned it upside down halfway through!). Finally poke your needle back through the centre hole so that you have a piece of thread on either side of the long stitch in the middle of the inside pages. Finally tie this in a double knot and trim.

3 section notebook step 10

Repeat this process for the other two sections.

3 section notebook step 11

The final step is to label your sections or decorate your notebook cover. I labelled my sections Ideas, Doodles and To Do (for my ever-growing lists!).

DIY 3 Section Notebook

Now you have a completed notebook! Easy right?

3 Section Notebook DIY

I keep mine neat and tidy with some extra contrasting thread...

Mini 3 Section Notebook DIY

I hope that wasn't too confusing and you've been encouraged to make your own notebooks. If you wanted to start off with an even easier project you can use this same technique but just with one section. Or you could make it more complicated and use a larger piece of paper for your cover and make a 9 section notebook!! I'd love to see how you're using yours, so if you've made one of these books please let me know on instagram or twitter.

Tagged: DIY bookbinding