Adventures in Book Arts: Three Places To Buy Beautiful Handmade Notebooks

Posted by Sara Habein

Though I have probably a dozen blank notebooks in varying sizes and styles, I cannot resist buying more. The ability to create one’s own journal or project portfolio is a skill that I’ve always wanted to develop, but until I do, I will continue to covet others’ handmade gems.


Here are some highlights I’ve noticed lately:

BB HANDMADES: Almost as much as I love acquiring and filling notebooks, I am hopelessly enamored with Doctor Who. This TARDIS-print notebook by BBhandmades is stunning. Featuring the dfferent styles used over the years for everyone’s favorite Time-And-Relative-Dimension-In-Space vehicle, it is hardback with lined paper, and it lies flat when opened. Almost as tempting is the shop’s notebook picturing cartoon version of each Doctor on the cover.

BITS & BOOKS: Elsewhere on Etsy are Bits and Books tiny notebooks, measuring just 1.5″x2″ in size. I have no idea I would need this one for, but I was quite taken by them.

Maybe it could be used for literally thumbnail-sized sketches or an exercise in being very economical with words. I also really like the recycled newsprint cover, as well as the fact that each tiny book can be attached to a keychain or necklace. Always travel with a method by which you can record sudden ideas!

HAPPILY EVER PAPER: Another store in which I would happily spend piles of cash (were it possible) is Happily Ever Paper. Their notebooks go beyond the usual handmade Etsy fare, elevating themselves into functional high art. I love almost every product featured on their site, but perhaps my favorite is PUNKTUM series.

Also featuring a coptic-stitched spine that allows the book to lie flat, each cover has punch-out shapes that can be used to customize its appearance. The three-notebook set comes with circle, square, and triangle patterns, with multi-color interior pages. It’s a beautiful and unique idea that could be quite useful a more unusual thought process.

Finally, if you would like to try your hand at that same binding stitch, the YouTube channel Sea Lemon has a very straightforward tutorial. From what I understand, a coptic stitch isn’t necessarily for beginners, but maybe one day I’ll work my way up to it.

Do any of you make any sort of book arts? Give me a shout.

Sara Habein is the author of INFINITE DISPOSABLE and lives in Great Falls, Montana. You can find more of her work at Glorified Love Letters and her miscellaneous thoughts on Twitter (@sshabein).