View Full Version : Handmade sketchbook for pastels

Barbara WC
03-07-2009, 01:25 AM
Handmade sketchbook
I thought I would share this with everyone.

I was in Dick Blick's a couple of weeks ago and saw a beautiful sketchbook that contained different colors of Canson Mi-teintes paper- the size was around 8"x10". I think it had around 24 sheets. For $30!

I enjoy Mi-teintes for soft pastels, charcoal, and oil pastels.

I decided to make my own sketchbook! Dick Blick had Canson paper on sale for $1.39. I choose 9 large sheets in different colors. I use the smooth side of Mi-teintes with a twist: I sand it with fine sand paper to create more tooth. The size I decided on for the sketchbook was 8.75" by 10.5". I sanded the paper and cut the sheets up to those dimensions (can get four pages out of one sheet). I then used the cardboard back of an old pad of newsprint. The front cover is matt black thick cardstock (thinner than matboard, thicker than most cardstock).

I took the whole thing to a small office supply store in town that does binding. They put a cool coil binder on it, and voila, a 36 page sketchbook with a stiff carboard backing.

The cost: Paper: $12.50. Cardboard and front cover: free (I had both in my closet). Binding (here's the surprise to me): $2.50.

So, I have a fabulous sketchbook, with pages the color, size and brand of paper that I wanted. All for only $15.00 One could do this with any paper- watercolor, pastel paper, even sanded paper (I'd probably leave an uncoated edge for the binding). If you want to do this with Canson Mi-teintes but don't want to cut all the pages, Canson does sell multi-colored tape bound pads pretty inexpensively- if you don't mind the colors, you could just rip them out of the pad and get them bound. Canson sells only white and black Mi-teintes in a coil binding.

Here are a couple of photos (sorry they aren't so great, much nicer IRL).




Hope this is helpful to someone :)


Lisa Fiore
03-07-2009, 08:48 AM
What a fantastic idea!! :clap: :clap: :clap: I'm looking to save money where I can and will use this idea--thank you!! :) Your sketch book looks terrific!

Donna T
03-07-2009, 09:02 AM
Only $2.50 to have a book bound? That surprised me too! This is a great idea, Barbara and thanks for sharing it and the photos. I think I've seen a sketchbook for pastels that has sheets of glassine paper between the pastel papers to keep smudging to a minimum. Maybe you could try that when you fill this book and make another. Or you could just make a pocket inside the back cover and keep some sheets of glassing in it to protect your very best sketches.


Paula Ford
03-07-2009, 11:31 AM
That's wonderful Barbara! Thank you!!

Barbara WC
03-07-2009, 11:36 AM
Donna- I had thought about including glassine interleaving, but that would have meant cutting the glassine to size.:eek: I do plan on cutting a few pieces of glassine and keep them in the back of the book to insert where needed, but cutting 36 pages of glassine would have been too frustrating!

On the best sketches I will probably attach glassine on top of the page with a bit of double stick tape on one edge of the glassine so it doesn't slip out of the book.


03-07-2009, 11:40 AM
Great idea! I used to buy various color paper pads, but always used only about half the sheets because I had no use for the other colors that I didn't like. This way you get only the colors you want!

And where I work we have binding equipment (not that I would ever think of using it for non-company business)!

Don't tell my boss!


03-07-2009, 01:56 PM
Excellent idea, Barbara! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

I also like your idea of taping the glassine in place as you go. When it's interleaved it seems to pull away from the spiral binding and partially tear off. Taped in place is more secure. Good!

Here is more info on custom-made sketchbooks (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=484093).

Here (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=468400) too.


03-08-2009, 12:28 AM
Great idea! and inexpensive! I agree to the taping glassine, not as much slippage as there would be if included in the binding.

Jan what a terrific thread! Tons of ideas. My favorite is the Koolbinder system. My sister made me one with that. Pocket size to take on trips. Very handy to slip out, and replenish with new papers.


03-08-2009, 07:20 AM
Great idea Barbara, thank you very much for sharing this with us all!!! :)