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How to Make Booklets for your Refillable Journal

Follow these easy steps to make journal refill booklets at home

The refillable leather journals were the second style to emerge in our collection of hand made journals. The bound journals are super dreamy, but we had many admirers looking for a refillable option. In an effort to meet the needs of our practical, ecologically minded, and/or minimalist supporters, we went ahead and developed our refillable journal.

In this post I’m going to share information on the paper we use (the exact brand and sizes), how we make our booklets, and some even easier ways you could make them at home. Next time, we will look at how to replace the elastic binding if it ever stretches out or breaks.

The Paper

We use Clairefontaine Kraft paper in size

  • A4 (8.3 x 11.7”) for the large booklets

  • A5 (5.8 x 8.3”) for the small booklets

We originally sourced this paper from Opus and it’s sold there as an economical sketching paper and works well with graphite pencil, coloured pencil, chalk, charcoal, pen and ink and dry brush water media techniques.

We like this paper because it has a really nice weight and feel to it. Thicker than basic copy paper, but still light and easy stitch and fold in groups of 10 sheets. It has an interesting, lightly ribbed texture and it’s a warm brown kraft colour because its made with natural unbleached virgin fibres.

Another really great feature of this paper is that it is PEFC certified which means it’s made from sustainably managed forests and controlled sources. Since its made with natural, unbleached, virgin fibres, the paper itself is all natural and 100% biodegradable.

The Booklets

Our refillable journals contain 120 pages. They’re made with 6 booklets (or signatures) of 10 pages each.

1. Fold one piece of paper in half to use as a guide

2. Group 10 pages of paper together, ensuring they are nicely aligned

3. Add your guide to the group of page

4. Clip the bunch together

5. On a heavy duty sewing machine, straight stitch along (but not into) the guide to create a centre line

  • Use a heavy needle such as 90/10

  • The thread we use is a 100% cotton, 12 weight quilting or embroidery thread

6. Remove the clips and pull the loose thread from the top stitch through to the bottom, tie the two threads off and trim.

Stitch The Paper By Hand

If you don’t have a heavy duty sewing machine or are not comfortable subjecting your machine to this type of use, you could just make 2 or 3 long stitches in the paper by hand

1. Align the papers up in the same way as described above

2. Use an awl to punch a few holes

3. With a needle and thread, stitch the papers together using a few long stitches and tie off

Other quick and easy options

1. Align the papers

2. Fold in half

3. Staple at the top and bottom of the fold


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