Now, I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that most LARP characters can never have too many notebooks. But notebooks tend to get expensive if you’re buying lovely handmade tomes each time you fill one up.
Learning how to make your own notebooks can save you a bundle over time, and there’s the added bonus of getting exactly what you want! You can make them as big or small as you like, with as many pages as you need.
Thanks to the online scrapbooking community, you can also get just about any design you could ever imagine to print for the covers! I downloaded this gorgeous navy blue Japanese pattern themed pack for my notebooks. It’s from the Design Bundles website with has thousands of great scrapbook ideas that you could use for DIYing your own LARP accessories.
Making the notebooks
First things first print the patterns onto thin card. You want to use thin card because it’ll provide more structure to the finished notebook; paper alone won’t hold up to use.
I selected these patterns because they had a subtle watercolour effect to the blue which makes them look a touch more organic. If it was a solid colour it would look quite machine-made rather than handmade. Once you’ve printed them decide what size you want your notebooks to be. You’re not limited to any regular size, so you could make them fit a pouch or box that you already have in your kit.
Use a trimmer to trim the printed sheets of card to twice the size that you want your notebook to be. Then fold each piece in half – but don’t crease the fold hard. Do the same with the plain pieces of paper that you’re going to use for the inside pages. Cut them to the same size as the cover and fold them gently down the middle too.
Then put the pages inside the cover and line them up carefully (pushing them into the spine of the cover as much as you can). Then take a bone folder (or use your thumb if you don’t have a bone folder) and smooth down the crease, pushing the cover and the pages together at the fold.
Sewing the pamphlet together
You can just stable the spines of the notebooks to hold them together. And I’ve certainly done that before when putting together a higher number of small pamphlets to give out to other characters. But when I’m making them for me I like to sew them. I feel like it makes them just a little bit more beautiful and authentic to most settings.
You’ll want some linen bookbinders thread, which you can buy online. Alternatively, you could probably use topstitching thread which you can get from your local haberdashery. You could even use thin ribbon if you wanted to be really fancy, or twine for a more rustic look.
Open up your notebook to its central page and carefully punch three holes through the centre of the fold and out through the card cover using a big needle. Take your time and measure the distances – make it as neat as you can!
Then you’ll want to put your threaded needle down through the centre hole, from inside to out. Bring it back through one of the other holes you punched to the inside, before pushing it back through the centre hole again. Lastly, bring your needle and thread back to the inside and tie it off with the loose end where you started. Your notebook is finished!
Taking it further
You can take your designs one step further in a few different ways. You could use faded versions of the designs on the inside pages to make the notebooks even more unique. It would be easy to just print the designs on normal copy paper before cutting them and binding the pamphlets together.
Alternatively, if you have a cutting machine you could use the svg files that are also available on the Design Bundles site to create decals to go on the front of the book. It would be great to be able to add group logos or your characters personal insignia as a personal touch to your accessories.