How To Make A Sketchbook Out Of An Old Book

Today I’m sharing a fun recycled craft and will walk you through the steps of how to make a sketchbook out of an old book using a Book binding with glue technique!

I have tried Hot Glue Book Binding and Staple Book Binding, today lets up cycle an old book into a sketchbook with watercolor paper. I’ve recently tried folding a sheet of paper in this How to Make a Zine post. Today’s How to Make a Sketchbook out of an old book tutorial turned out really neat an dI hope you enjoy it!

This is a super simple tutorial- I don’t use staples and there is no sewing at all!

how to make a sketchbook from an old sketchbook

I thrifted a cute book from Goodwill for a few cents and I knew immediately that it had a great spine to convert into a sketchbook. Making my own sketchbook has long been a wish of mine, and today I’m so excited to share the outcome!

I’ve used a Bookbinding Kit today. It comes with a great collection of tools for bookbinders! For this Book Binding with Glue, the glue I used is a basic white glue that you will probably already own.

How to make a sketchbook out of an old book Tutorial:

  1. Cut out the old pages of your book with an Exacto Knife
  2. Pull out all of the old pages carefully
  3. Measure old page size, then
  4. Trim your watercolor paper down to that size, doubled
  5. Using a Bone folder or paper creaser, carefully fold each watercolor paper in half and crease. Repeat
  6. Place folded watercolor papers on top of each other and build the pile till you have enough to fit the book spine you have
  7. Using binder clips or clamps hold all of the watercolor papers together
  8. Apply liquid adhesive into the book spine, and along the paper folds
  9. Press papers into book spine firmly, and hold in place to dry using more binder clips or large rubber bands
  10. Wipe off any excess glue that oozes out and let dry
how to make a sketchbook out of an old book

How to make a sketchbook out of an old book Youtube video:

In my new How to make a Sketchbook without Sewing Video, I use an old thrifted book, watercolor paper and basic white glue to make my own book.

how to make a sketchbook Tips:

  • Liquid adhesives used for Book Binding are mainly the basic white glue itself. You don’t need a fancy glue if you are beginner.
  • White glue dries a bit slowly, so you will have enough time to make sure that your pages are aligned properly and readjust accordingly if needed.

More Sketchbook Ideas

Now that you have learned how to make a sketchbook, you can take any old book, cute book or even an encyclopedia and watercolor in it.

Affiliate links have been used at no extra cost to the reader. You can read my full disclosure here. 

Smitha Katti creativespace e1577349763159

Hi I’m Smitha! I live in Minnesota with my husband and two daughters. You’ll always find me painting florals in my sketchbook. And I love the sheer joy of making something with just my hands! But my bigger love is capturing it all on camera Read more.

Thanks for stopping by today! If you learnt something from this tutorial, do share this post with a friend or on social media! Tag me @smithakatti #smithakatti I’d love to see what you create!


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  1. Always the BEST upcycles, Smitha! Thanks for sharing as a part of the Creative Crafts Recycled Edition!

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