Saturday, March 28, 2009

Matchbook Logbook

For those of you that make your own logbooks but don't have a Bind It All yet (gasp!), here are some simple directions to make a sturdy logbook for your letterboxes. The directions are pretty lengthy because there are a lot of steps but all in all the logbooks are easy to make.

These are the supplies that you will need for this project: scissors, ruler, pencil, blank index cards, decorative paper, needle, embroidery floss, 1/8 " hole punch, and I forgot to add to the picture an awl and something to place under your paper to punch holes such as styrofoam.

For this size logbook we are using 3" x 5" blank index cards cut in half for a logbook page that measures 2 1/2" wide and 3" long. Cut 15 sheets in half to give yourself 30 logbook pages per logbook. With this size page you can get 6 logbooks from one package of index cards with 10 cards leftover that you could probably cut in half for a 20 page logbook.

30 pages will fit in a 1/4" length for the top and bottom edges of your logbook. Below I will show you where that measurement will be on your decorative paper for your cover.

Before we get to the cover of your logbook we need to prepare the logbook pages. Take one sheet of your 30 pages to use for the template. Draw a line across the 2 1/2" side, 1/2" from the top. We are using a 1" flap for the front so the holes will be punched half of that measurement. If you are making a smaller logbook with a 1/2" front flap, punch your holes half of that measurement from the top at 1/4".

Make a mark on this line at every 1/4". This is where you will punch the holes to bind your logbook with embroidery floss. Make sure that the width of your logbook has an even amount of 1/4" marks for an even amount of holes.

With your 1/8" hole punch, punch a hole on each one of the marks you just made along the line. This is now your template to punch the rest of the holes in your pages. Lay this template over 5 pages at a time and punch through all of your pages until you have done this to all 30 pages.
Now you need to prepare your decorative paper cover to wrap around your pages. For this size logbook I have cut a piece of decorative paper 2 1/2" wide and 8" long. With your pencil make a mark (do not draw a line) on the inside of your cover on both sides of the length at each one of these measurements:
1" for the top front flap
1/4" for the top edge of the logbook
3" for the length of your pages for the back cover
1/4" for the bottom edge of the logbook
2 1/2" for the bottom front flap
The reason I said not to draw a line is because the inside of your cover will look cleaner without the pencil lines drawn all the way across your paper. Lay your ruler across the cover at the marks and fold the paper over the ruler to give you a nice straight fold.

Do this at each one of the marks on the inside of the cover. The bottom line that was made at 2 1/2" you can draw a line across because you will be cutting this end of the paper off so it can be tucked under the front flap.

Cut off the 1/2" on the end of the cover. This will make the front flap slide under the top flap like a matchbook. You may still need to trim some more off this end to fit snug but you will not know this until you reach the end of the project.

Lay your page template on the inside of the cover, lining up the top of the template page with the second fold on your cover. This is where your pages will fit. When your pages are all inserted into the cover, they will be the width of the 1/4" fold with the front flap laying over the top of the pages. With your awl or something used to punch the fine holes, start punching a hole in the cover at each one of the holes that you punched with your 1/8" hole punch. You need to do this with the awl because the hole punch will not reach all the way across the paper.
(Tip- Use a hole punch for your pages rather than punching the holes with an awl because you need to be able to sew through these holes and they line up much better with a hole punch than a hole punched with a pointy object. It is okay to use the awl for the cover since that will be the entrance and exit of your needle when sewing.)
This is what the inside cover will look like when you get the holes punched with the awl. This is the inside of the back cover.

Now take the page template and turn it upside-down on the top front flap at the first fold on the top of your cover and punch the holes with the awl just like you did for the back cover.

This is what it will look like after you have the two rows of holes punched for the front flap and the back cover.

When you bring the front flap over the top of your pages, all the holes will line up on the front flap, the pages and the back of your cover.

Now you are ready to sew your logbook together to bind it. Use a needle that will take embroidery floss. A number 24 works well. Embroidery floss comes in 6 strands so you will need to split the floss so you are working with three strands of embroidery floss. Give yourself a length of about 18 inches of embroidery floss to bind your logbook.

Start your sewing on the back of the logbook. Put your needle into the middle hole on the back and push the needle all the way through. You may need to wiggle the needle a bit to get the pages all lined up. This is why we used the 1/8" hole punch to punch the holes because your needle will slide through much easier if your holes are all the same size.

Here the needle is pushed all the way through to the front.

Pull the needle and floss through the hole from the back and with a length of about 2", hang onto that length of floss with your thumb while you sew the rest of the logbook. You will need that length to tie off the floss when you finish.

Sew your logbook by putting your needle through the next hole at the front of the logbook and pull all the way through to the back. Your needle will come out the back side of the logbook.

From the back side of the logbook, place your needle into the next hole in the back and pull your needle all the way through to the front of your logbook.

And again, place your needle through the next hole in the front of the logbook and pull it all the way through to the back. You should be at the last hole at the one end of the logbook.

Bring your needle around the edge of the logbook from the back and put it in the first hole in the front. This should be the last hole that you previously put your needle through to the back.

Repeat this process all the way across the other half of the logbook making sure to go up and down, into and out of the holes from the front to the back.

When you reach the last hole on the other end, bring the needle around the side of the logbook, from the back to the front, and pull your needle through the first hole on that end to the back of the logbook.

Continue until your embroidery floss has linked all of the holes in the front of the logbook. Your needle should end going from the front of the logbook to the back.

You should have two threads side by side on the back of your logbook like this.

Tie the two ends together in a tight knot. You may want to add a drop of glue to make sure that the knot holds.

Trim the threads for a nice, clean end to your binding.

Turn your logbook over and slide the front flap under the top front flap. You may need to trim the bottom flap so that it fits snugly under the top flap with no gap at the bottom of the pages. Now you are done!

These matchbook logbooks can be made in many different sizes and can be dressed up by adding beads or charms in the binding as you sew across. If you are making a smaller logbook, make sure that you have at least half a measurement for the front flap to tuck the bottom flap under to close the cover. Your top and bottom edges should always be 1/4" and the back of your cover is the length of your pages. The width of your cover is the same width as your pages.


  1. Thanks so much for such a great idea. Your instructions are easy to follow and the pics really help. I can think of other ways I can use this little book too! Marilyn

  2. Thanks CFL--very well done! Terrio

  3. Cool, CFL! I've just been thinking about making logbooks. :o)

  4. I was so inspired by your idea, that I made some of these today after seeing your post only yesterday! I cheated though - instead of punching holes and sewing the book together the right way, I used scrapbooking paper and glued it on top of a premade cover (of a small store-bought pad). I would be glad to email you pix if you're interested. :) Thanks so much for the idea! Mine are heading across country in letterboxing kits for my nieces!

  5. Newish letterboxer says Thank you! Thank you, Campfire Lady!