DIY Crazy Quilt Covered Blog Planner-Part 1

So today I’m going to be starting a short series on how to make your own blog planner.  This project is a little involved, and definitely not for younger children (there is pretty heavy use of sharp implements and a sewing machine), but for those who are willing to attempt it, they’ll be shocked at how easy it is to make your own books!

First though, a supply list:

  • paper to use as book pages
  • heavy cardboard for the book cover
  • embroidery floss (you’ll see it inside the book so pick a color you like/matches your pages)
  • a curved needle
  • an awl
  • a ruler
  • a cutting mat
  • an xacto knife

Day 1 of DIY Blog Planner:  Book binding!

For this project I used a free printable blog planner that can be found here:  blog planner.  I really love her stuff it’s super cute and clean and efficient, but there are TONS of free printables to be found on the internet, and there are even tutorials to teach you how to make your own lined paper (or alternatively you can just use fancy scrapbooking paper!).  So this project can easily be adapted to just be a regular journal, or a day planner or whatever you want.

Step one of this project is to print whatever you are going to use as the pages (if they need to be printed).

To make this easy to bind as a book using coptic stitch you have to manipulate your printer settings a little bit.  First of all, you cannot just hit print and print the whole thing.  Because you’re going to be folding these pages into signatures (a section of pages in a book that are bound together) in order to bind them into a more traditional looking book you have to print just a few pages at a time.  The most common size for signature is 4 pieces of paper that are then folded in half to make 8 pages (16 if you’re counting front and back area).  To print Ruth’s blog planner in a way that will allow you to fold it into signatures of 4 pages at a time you need to set your printer to look like this:

how to print signaturesOnce you finish printing pages 1-16 you can then print pages 17-32, 33-48, 49-64, 65-80, 81-96, 97-112, 113-128, 129-136.    As each set of pages prints, it a good idea to fold it while the next set of pages is printing.  The way you fold it is down the middle in the order they come out of the printer.  That way when you hold that one little section of pages like a book the pages flow in the right order.  Once that set of pages is folded set it aside, and fold the next set-being sure to stack the folded signatures in the right order.  It’s SUPER DUPER SERIOUSLY I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH IMPORTANT that you DO NOT GET THE PAGES MIXED UP!!  That is a nightmare, or at least it was for me, and so i literally had to start over. Fold as you go, don’t wait to fold everything at once.

Also, it’s really ok that the last set of pages isn’t going to make a 4 sheet signature.  That’s ok, to have the last signature be “short”.  But if it really bothers you, you can print 132-135 just like you did the other signature pages and then insert it in the middle of the last signature set.  Doing it that way won’t disrupt the page order, and all it does is give you extra “notes and ideas” pages.  And who couldn’t use more of those?

Once you have all your signatures folded and stacked appropriately, take the top signature and measure it.  Use those measurements to cut two covers for yourself from heavy cardboard.  I bought a 3 pack of cheap canvas covered boards for painting and cut them up to be the size I needed. But if you want to do this on a serious budget-RECYCLE!  Grab yourself a box and cut the covers from that.  Don’t worry if it doesn’t look pretty-it doesn’t have to look pretty, because in part 2 of this tutorial we’re going to cover the outside covers with some fun, funky, quilting!  (Trust me, not as hard as it sounds.)

Step two is to actually begin binding the signatures together into a book.

I could put the pictures of me doing this part up here for you to look at and try to figure out what’s going on, but honestly it’s much easier for everyone to understand how to actually bind their book if I send you to view a free video on the subject and then come back for part 2 of the DIY Blog Planner.  A few tips I’ve learned through experience though, before you go watch the video:

  1. It really is MUCH EASIER to bind using a curved needle.  You can get them in the craft section of walmart for literally $2 for a 4 pack.  They might be labeled as upholstery or quilting needles, but whatever the brand you buy calls them they should be seriously curved.  Like “C” shaped.
  2. Waxed thread isn’t really important.  I’ve used both waxed and unwaxed thread, and I’ve never had problems either way.  If you want to make your own waxed thread so you don’t have to order some off the internet, just take a small tea lite candle and run the thread of choice over the candle to wax it.  Zoila!  Waxed thread.
  3. The thread I’ve found to be easiest to use is embroidery floss.  It’s nice and heavy, doesn’t tangle much, and comes in a million colors to match any project.  Also it’s cheap.  You can do this whole book on a single skein of embroidery floss with floss left over, and at my local Walmart a skein of embroidery floss is literally $0.33.

And now without further delay!  Go watch this video from SeaLemon on how to coptic stitch bind books so you can finish part 1 of the DIY Blog Planner and be ready for Part 2 (Decorating!!!) next week!  When you’re all done it should look like this:

blog planner collage

Hope you guys like this new tutorial!  I’m excited to show you my “cheater” method for crazy quilting using a sewing machine!

Much Love!