Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Custom Bullet Journal

Yes, it has been a long time since my last post. A lot has transpired, and I may post about it someday, but I'm going to just get right to the point of this post: my newest bullet journal.

I'm a paper snob. I have always loved paper, but I have always wanted paper to feel a certain way when I write on it. I'm also frugal (i.e. sometimes too cheap for my own good), and I can't bear the idea of spending nearly $20 or more on a notebook whose paper may not feel good to me.

If you're familiar with the bullet journaling community, you probably recognize names like Moleskin and Leuchtturm. I don't have a local source to feel them before I buy, and I've already found a paper that I love that doesn't bleed through when I use my PaperMate Flair or Triplus Fineliners on it. Surprisingly, I found it at Wal-Mart. It's a graph composition notebook with 100 sheets, and it costs a whopping $0.97 as of today.

The only problem is that a full-sized composition notebook is a bit big to carry around with me everywhere. I used one (actually two different notebooks) for the last year, but I now need portability, too.

I've thought about this for a few days. I need a new journal for July, and I don't have much time left. Fortunately, the right solution came to me last night. Basically, I tore apart a new graph composition book (the exact one that I love), cut it down to the size I needed, and then put it back together.

Let me walk you through the process, so you don't have to reinvent the wheel if you ever want to do this yourself.

First of all, I used a seam-ripper to cut the threads that hold it together in the middle.

Then I pulled the pages away from the cover and clipped the threads that wouldn't pull off.

Now it was time to cut down the pages and the cover. I needed it to fit into this folio cover, so I measured the ideal dimensions:

Then it was time to cut the pages and cover. I measured out from the "spine" where the binding holes were and cut everything to the right size. My paper cutter can handle the composition book cover, but you need to know if yours can handle it. If not, you may end up breaking your paper cutter. That would make your notebook signficiantly more expensive, so please don't make that mistake.

With all of that out of the way, it was time to reassemble everything.

The first thing you want to do is use a large, sharp needle to poke holes on the cover from the inside out. Otherwise, you won't know where to insert your needle from the outside, and the process will be very frustrating.

Now you should be ready to sew it back up. Use a large, sharp needle and strong thread. I used upholstery thread, but hand quilting thread should work fine, too. And, of course, bookbinding thread would work perfectly, if you have some on hand.

Here it is, all sewn up:

I chose to round my corners, too, but that's just a personal preference.

And that's really all there is to it. Here's my new bullet journal, all ready to start writing in:

I hope that helps someone else. If nothing else, it will remind me next time how I did it!