katharine likes to make things: tea towel sketchbook

I like to make things. I’ve built up a considerable stash of craft supplies and odds ‘n’ ends to upcycle at some point. Sometimes I make things and they turn out pretty decent. These cases are rare as I lack the patience to sit down and measure things and take my time to make my projects camera-friendly.

This is a sketchbook I created using tea towels and a chopped up pad of layout bond paper. The pads are far too cumbersome to wrangle and draw on and I’ve got several left over from my stint as a design student.

I can’t provide a tutorial for this project because I slapped it together on a rainy afternoon a couple of years ago and took no notes on the process. I can share the materials list and provide some of my intentions with the project.


Two tea towels

Sturdy cardboard or illustration board


14 x 17 layout bond paper pad

Velcro with adhesive backing


Most of my projects start with scraps and leftover boards. In this case, I lucked out that my chopped up paper fit the height of a piece of cardboard I had in my cardboard stash (you don’t have a stash of old cereal boxes and Amazon packaging? Tsk, tsk.). Because I knew I wanted a perfect bound sketchbook, I cut the cardboard into three pieces—front, back and spine.

The inner binding is quite ugly. I devised a thinner strip of cardboard covered with fabric as a way to mask the Velcro binding. I used Velcro to hold the paper to the cover so the cover could be reused once the original pages were filled. (It’s been two years and I haven’t used the book yet because I have that affliction of collecting pretty journals and refusing to write in them because they are pretty. All my drawing is done in cheap sketchbooks I pick up at Michael’s on sale because Moleskine is too fancy.)

Signatures of the pages are bound with glue on the tippy edges of the sheets. The whole thing is held together with E600 glue and faith.

The original 14 x 17 pad was cut down roughly into quarters. The finished book is probably about 7 x 9.

It’s a handsome book if one doesn’t look too closely at it. Or use it. I’m going to use it soon.

I unearthed a couple of extra layout pads a few weeks ago. Maybe I’ll make a tutorial of the next book I make.


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