Pin Busters! D-I-Y Mini Notebook

I saw a really cute mini notebook on Pinterest - made from a cereal box! Since Buddy eats a truckload of cereal, I knew that if there wasn't already an empty box, there would be one (probably more than one!) soon. And I had all of the other necessary items, so this was something I could do without having to spend any money! (Gus likes it when I don't have to spend any money.)

Here's the list of necessaries:
  • empty cereal box
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • large needle & heavy thread (I used upholstery thread but the original poster used several strands of embroidery floss)
  • button (I forgot to put it in the picture)
  • about 10 sheets of paper (enough to make 2 sheets from each)
  • scrap of scrapbook paper
  • gluestick (or regular glue) (I forgot to put this in the picture, too!)
I have a small paper cutter, so I opted to use that to make the cuts quicker and more precise.

You can really make the notebook cover any size you want, as long as it's within the measurements of one side of the cereal box. I made mine 8" X 5". After mine was cut, I went ahead and folded it in half so that it would have a crease for the spine.

Next, you need to sew the button on one side. I put mine in the center, but I don't think it matters where you put it. (My note: I found it difficult to get the needle through the cardboard, so I marked the placement of the holes in the button & then used an awl to carefully poke tiny holes in the cardboard.)

After you knot the thread to secure the button, be sure to leave about 20" of thread hanging (this will wrap around the notebook & button to keep the notebook closed).

Now you need to line the inside of the cover so that the printed side of the cereal box is hidden.  Just cut a piece of scrapbook paper a little larger than your cover, glue it on, then trim away the excess paper.

Now the fun part (just in case you weren't having fun yet). You need to cut the paper into sheets that measure approximately 1/4" smaller than your notebook cover. I made mine about 7 3/4" X 4 3/4". This is where my paper cutter really came in handy. I can't imagine doing all that by hand.

Once those cuts are made, you will need to secure the paper to the cardboard cover. The original poster just shows the paper being stitched on...but I had 20 sheets of paper and there was no way that I could push a needle through all of that paper and cardboard. So I had to figure out another way to do this step if I wanted to use all of that paper. I ended up using a hole punch to put 3 holes in each sheet of paper - first, I folded all of  the paper in half so the center was marked, then I took 3 sheets and punched holes near each end of the crease and another in the center of the crease. For the other sheets, I used one of the punched sheets as a template and held it over 3 unpunched sheets at a time to show me where to punch.

At this point, I was cussing wondering if I was ever going to finish - and questioning why I ever decided to do this in the first place...

Now - to sew the paper onto the cover. Yikes. I stacked the paper, positioned it over the cover, and held it in place with the paper facing me. Then I started at one end, positioning my needle under the notebook (so the knot of the thread would be on the outside of the notebook), and brought it up through the exposed cardboard, right next to the paper. The next stitch went down into the first hole, making the thread/stitch lay over the paper. Now back up through the same punched hole from the underside - and back down into the center punched hole (so the stitch lays on the paper again). I repeated this until I got to the other end of the notebook.

I finished the stitching by pushing the needle through to the "back" (which is actually the front of the notebook). Then I snipped the the needle off the thread, leaving two long threads that I then tied to secure the stitching. I trimmed the threads to about 2", then I ran a strip of glue (using a gluestick) along the thread on the spine of the cover.

Good grief is it over yet? Now to get the scrapbook paper on the cover. I just cut a piece about 4" X 6", folded it in half lengthwise to get a crease in it (for the spine), then coated it with glue from the gluestick. I pressed it into place with the notebook lying flat, then I carefully folded the notebook to made sure the paper stayed in place. Then I trimmed the excess paper away and threw the stupid thing across the room admired my handiwork.

The verdict: Pin-worthy! It's cute, but that's an hour I'll never get back. And it's paper, people. I'd rather just pick up a little notepad from the store for $1. If I want a cute cover on it, I can glue some scrapbook paper over the cover. Ta-da!

I'm not trying to take anything away from the person who created the tutorial - it's a cute idea & you re-use a cereal box - I'm all for recycling. For me, it was just a little too complicated and time-consuming for the resulting item.

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