Have trouble finding the perfect journal? This tutorial may help you make the ideal writing tablet from pre-made books and a little effort and creativity.
Step 1: Gather Your Books!
The first thing you'll need are the books you want to combine. This tutorial specifically works with case bound books, but with some creativity anything should work.
For this tutorial I will be making two books; one with an ecosystem journal and a cover I customised, and one with a soft imitation leather journal and something called, I kid you not, a "Bloke Pad" where the only thing I liked was the nice grid paper inside. To save money, try buying your books from places with sales on their notebooks, or at Half Price Books, for instance. I find a lot of their notebooks are infuriatingly lacking in just one necessary aspect, which inspired this tutorial. All of these were bought at Half Price Books, except one which was on clearance at Barnes and Noble.
And you will also need:
-a craft knife
-glue (I prefer a glue stick)
-elastic(if you are making a pen loop)
Step 2: Cut the Book Block Free
See in the first picture where there's a gap in the spine? This is typical of case bound books, and this works for you. The first step is to cut out the book block from each journal, which is the pages themselves, generally added to a book as a block of pages.
Find the end page at each end of the book. It's usually thicker and decorated, and it's also usually where the block is connected to the cover.
Cut this in half with the craft knife, aiming for the empty spot in the spine. You should be able to take out the block completely.
If you accidentally cut into the block, like I did in the ecosystem block, cover the entire spine of the block with a glued on strip of scrap paper to strengthen it. Let dry before continuing.
Step 3: Attach the Book Block to Its New Cover.
Now you are going to put the bock you want into the book you have. Put glue over one of the end pages on your book block and attach it to the inside of the cover you want it in.
If the block is too big or, alternatively, too small, fear not for there are solutions to that problem. Just make sure the block is centered and the spines are parallel, then glue and place the other endpage on the other side to complete the basic book.
Hooray! You've "made" a custom book! Now some quick steps to make them useable.
Step 4: Adjustments: Soft Cover Book
The soft cover book only really needed one adjustment: the book block from the "Bloke Pad" stuck out from the sides, so I took my craft knife and started carefully cutting the block, using the cover as a guide.
...then I got bored and used scissors, cutting it in dozen-page chunks. The result is rough, but I'm less picky on finish when it comes to personal supplies.
Step 5: Adjustments: Hard Cover Book
The hard cover book needed a bit more... fine tuning. The book block was a good deal smaller than the cover. This was intentional, because I realized I could make the book easier to carry by using the extra space for a pen.
The first thing that needed to be fixed was the lack of a spine. I had an extra composition book spine from another project, so I trimmed out a bit of the spine and glued it over, applying glue to the edges, but not the center, so the book opens easier.
The second fix was the endpages. The endpage was far larger that the book block, which made it clumsier that you'd think. I trimmed down the end page to match.
The last fix was the pen loop. The default elastic pen loop was both too weak and too far out of the book to remain useable, so I yanked it out and glued in a new one that was both more secure and actually in the book. It fits the pen I chose, and fits in the book.
Step 6: Success!
By following these steps you should be able to make the notebooks you need at less of a cost than ordering your perfect notebook. You can also use this to add your own handmade cover.
For the extra book blocks, I recommend you hang on to them for a bit. They could be added to another more ideal cover, or the pages could be used as always necessary scrap paper. If all else fails, recycle the things. This tutorial is made for the sole purpose of satisfying those with very fickle notebook needs and does not encourage fickle waste of resources.