It can get a little frustrating when you can’t find that sketchbook with your preferred size and paper quality. My favorite sketchbook sizes are the A5 (measures 148 × 210 millimeters or 5.83 × 8.27 inches) and the 9 x 6. Local art and stationery stores don’t usually have these sizes. I prefer watercolor paper in my sketchbooks, too, but unfortunately portrait watercolor sketchbooks are hard to find in my area. Ordering from online art stores based in other countries may seem like the next best idea. But after calculating shipping fees and the time these sketchbooks will have arrived at the post office (if they would arrive at all), I knew that buying online is just another impractical thing. Given these limitations, I was naturally compelled to make and design my own watercolor sketchbooks.
I made my first watercolor sketchbook late last year. The idea just popped in my head one day, and while the thought balloon floated on top of me, I went to National Boosktore and bought a 9×12 watercolor pad. I rushed home, grabbed my tools and began to work. Here’s how I came up with my first 9 x 6 sketchbook:
1.) First, I cut the watercolor pad in half, crosswise. If you have a 9 x 12, you cut the 12” side in half to make a 9 x 6 portrait sketchbook. I used my Cricut paper trimmer to cut the sheets one by one, including the cover and the hard board at the back of the pad. You can use a small handheld paper cutter or a large pair of scissors to cut the pad — whatever cutting tool you’re comfortable with. Remember to keep the loose sheets. You can use them for watercolor projects that you may want to frame, scan, or use as embellishments.
2.) Next, I wrapped the rough edges of the hard board with strips of washi tape. (You can use masking tape.) You don’t need to do this if your cutter is sharp and big enough to cut smoothly through a thick board.
3.) Finally, I covered the front of my sketchbook with wrapping paper. If the watercolor pad has a nice cover, I no longer bother to change it. The pad that I used in the photo above is a Canson watercolor pad. It didn’t have a sturdy thick cover, so I glued the other half of the hard board to the thin sheet and wrapped them with printed paper. Just to make it neat and clean.
Aside from the usual 9 x 6’s, I have also made watercolor sketchbooks that measure 9 x 9 and 12 x 9. When I get the chance, I will try to learn how to bind the loose sheets as well. But for now, I’ll be spending more time with my new watercolor sketchbook. I hope you’re getting busy with yours, too! :o)