DIY Notebooks & Stream-of-Consciousness Stories

DIY Notebook

Here is my little tribute to Virginia Woolf, for her love of bookbinding and stream-of-consciousness writing. I saved these five book covers and their accompanying endpapers from the obscurity of the Archive, and I present them to you to print and use as you choose. They make very pretty A6 notebooks and you can easily make a set of one of each, or print out several volumes of your favourite.

DIY Mini Notebooks

Notebook Cover

Printable Notebook Cover Rounded corners.

DIY Notebook

Notebook Binding Cover held on with elastic.

Printable Book Cover

Book Endpaper

Mini Book Journal

Printable Book Card Book card.

Printable Endpaper

A6 Notebook


Click to download the book covers. Inside the ZIP file you’ll find a PDF with the covers and endpapers arranged in the order I printed them. You can shuffle them around to pair the covers with different endpapers if you wish.

Prepare the Covers

Print out the covers on 300gsm (140lb) A4 card at 100%, with the endpapers on the reverse. Cut them out, score down the middle and fold. Round out the corners with a corner punch if you like, then run a permanent marker (gold or black works well) around the edges to hide the white paper and (in my case) wonky cutting.

How to Bind the Pages

Cut and fold some A4 pages into A6 booklets. I used 6 A5 pages for each notebook, bound into a single signature. Add in coloured paper, envelopes, tissue paper, pattern paper and whatever else takes your fancy. If you’d like some inspiration, I recommend watching The Paper Addiction’s videos, especially her Doodle Journal Tutorial.

Once you have your pages, you can bind them in whatever way seems most convenient to you.

Option 1: Sew with thread.
Option 2: Slot together, in this ingenious method I discovered at Designlovefest. The beauty of this method is that more pages can be added as needed!
Option 3: Glue. This method won’t open as flat as the others, but it’s still acceptable.
Option 4: Staple. You can colour your staple with a permanent marker to help it blend in with the cover.

How to Attach the Covers

Option 1: As above, poke 2-3 holes through the spine and the pages and sew them together using a pamphlet stitch.
Option 2: In the vein of the Midori Traveller’s Notebook, simply stretch a loop of slim elastic around the cover, and slide your pages under it.
Option 3: As above, run a thin line of glue along the fold of your paper booklet and set it into the cover.
Option 4: As above, staple your cover and pages together.

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Another option is to print out the endpapers on regular paper and bind them to the outside of your paper bundle. Then you can attach the pages to your cover by gluing the endpaper to the inside of the cover.

A Few More Ideas

– Use the covers as cards for book-lovers. Stick a piece of plain paper inside to write a message, or cut a notch and slot in a book token!
– Tuck a length of ribbon between your pages and cover, to act as a bookmark.
– Make a thicker booklet by cutting the covers in half and adding a spine made of plain card. Then bind several signatures to the spine using coptic stitch or several elastic bands.

How to Write Stream-of-Consciousness Stories to fill your notebooks

So far I’ve written three stories: one called, ‘history of conscious thought’ about a man writing the eponymous book while high; the second called, ‘the descriptor’ about a woman whose work is to travel to different places to describe things; and the third called, ‘hyperdryad’ about a dryad travelling through time & space. Minimal plot, much dawdling over words and drawling by rhyme, reason or word association.

Here are my stipulations, if you’re so inclined:
1. Fill up all the pages in your designated notebook.
2. Give a character a profession and start writing.
3. If you’re stuck, write about a character trying to write. This works all the time.
4. Begin with a quote, exploring the words it contains one by one, savouring them as you chew them over. Extract all their juicy meanings before you swallow them. Make a meal of it.
5. Allow the words to suggest other words by sound or appearance, letting your mind fill in the meaning as you write. Well-meaning, seemingly, and so forth for what it’s worth.
6. Go fast.

I find that a vaguely discernible story arc begins to form as I write, but that is not really the intention of the exercise. It’s mostly an enjoyable way to explore a theme and to exult in words words words! Please give it a go. Notebooks not not-books!

Printable Mini Journal Covers