Mini Paint Chip Notebook Tutorial

While searching the paint isles for the perfect color to paint our daughters’ bedroom, I was just overwhelmed with giddiness looking at all the different colors! I took quite a few paint chip samples home to show the girls, and decided to create mini notebooks with the leftovers.

Mini Paint Chip Notebook Tutorial
I’ll show you how to create these cute notebooks using a SIMPLE three hole pamphlete bookbinding stitch. These particular mini books are created with 5″ x 3 1/4″ paint chips, but you can use this bookbinding technique with any sized book!  

What you’ll need:
*Cover for your notebook (I used 5″ x 3 1/4″ paint chip samples, or you can cut a magazine cover, cardstock, or anything else with a little weight to it.)
*Text weight paper
*Cutting mat, exacto knife, and ruler
*Awl (great to have one, but optional)
*Large needle
*Thread (I used DMC stitchery floss) 
*Embellishments (optional of course)

Step 1: Cut your text weight paper to size using a paper cutter, or your ruler and exacto knife on a cutting mat. Your paper should be about 1/8″ smaller than your cover, so in my case I cut the paper to 4 7/8″ x 3 1/8″. Fold each paper in half matching the short ends, making what we call a “folio”. (You can also fold your cover at this time too.) I used about 10 sheets per notebook (10 folios), which equals 40 pages to write on (counting both sides of each page). 

Step 2: Stack your ten folios inside each other to create a “signature”. When stacking multiple folios, the edges stick out towards the center, so I decided to clean mine up a bit by trimming the open edge. This is an optional step, its all up to you and your style. (Obviously you would hold the ruler straighter than I have here in the photo! lol) 

Step 3: Time to poke your holes! You can use an awl, or a large needle. I’m not exactly sure what the tool that I am holding is called… its like an awl, but without the fancy handle. I purchased it as a cheaper option many years ago. Inside your signature, poke a hole in the very center, through all ten folios. Then, poke two more holes, one to the left and one the right of your center hole, for a total of three holes. (If you’re using a proper awl, it may be easier and/or faster to poke all the holes with the cover on.)  

Step 4: Take the inside folio out of your signature, and center it inside your cover. Use it as a guide to poke your holes in the cover. When you’re finished, put the folio back on the inside of your signature, then place the whole signature inside your cover.

Step 5: Next, its time to pick out your thread! You can use just about any type of thread or cording, as long as its not too thick (so it won’t fit in your needle or holes) or its not too thin (to wear out or break as you use the book). “Professional” bookbinders like to use a waxed linen thread made especially for bookbinding. But since this is a mini book just for fun, I decided to use DMC stitchery floss (and also because I had a whole tin full!). Cut a piece about 12-15″.

Step 6: Thread your needle with your thread, and push your needle into the center hole on the outside of your book. Leave a 3″ “tail” hanging out of the center hole. Then, push your needle through the bottom hole going from the inside of your book to the outside, as shown in the photo below. 

Step 7: Next, bring your needle through the top hole (from outside to inside), and then exit again through the center hole, as shown in the photo below.  

Step 8: You should now have both your ends coming out of your center hole. Pull on them a little to be sure your stitching is tight. Arrange them on either side of the thread that is running from top to bottom, and tie your ends together in a tight knot. Trim your ends, or leave them long to add beads or other embellishments later.


Step 9: Now for the fun part! Gather some supplies, and get creative decorating your little books. My favorite thing to do is rip out pieces from an art book like Cloth Paper Scissors. They’re chock full of inspiration, colors, and textures!  

For my blue notebook, I layered a ripped magazine image, a ticket that says “giggle”, some designer tape by Bella BLVD, and two mini staples. (I just LOVE mini staples! he he) For my pink book, I was inspired by the paint color name, which is “Watermelon Smoothie”. I just couldn’t get “watermelon” out of my mind! (Which is why I went with green thread!) I doodled some “seeds” on the cover, then glued down a ripped piece of pattern paper, then added some black buttons. I wanted to add some small black beads to my threads, but unfortunately my bead collection is still packed away somewhere in our basement. :( But I was lucky to find a little green leaf hanging out on the floor in the kids’ room. (You never know what you’ll find on their floor! lol) So I poked a hole in that with my needle and threaded it onto my DMC floss.

I just love how they came out! I’ll be keeping one in my purse, and one in the diaper bag to jot down notes where ever I go. :)


I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Feel free to pin on Pinterest (just be sure to click on the blog title link first) or share this tutorial with your friends. :) And if you decide to make some of your own, don’t forget to show me! Post a link to your photo in the comments section, or you can also share photos on my facebook page. Have fun!!

PS I found some great resources you might be interested in…
50 Fun Things to do with Paint Chip Samples 
Paint Chips – Are You Stealing? 


  1. Loved this idea. So very cute. Gonna make some of my own! Embellishments are endless! lace, buttons, leaves, flowers, blah, blah, blah! LOL!

  2. Cute Kristal! I love little notebooks!


  3. Oh. Such a cute idea! I’m going to make one for my daughter’s “lunch box hugs from mom”. I’d much rather write my little quirks in this than the random little stickies I used last year! Thanks!!

  4. great tutorial kristal, gonna give this a try! going on my list of things to do and tutorials to save, there so useful too , for all sorts of notes and memos, brillient, I especially , like the watermelon colour notebook, great design. i’m off to the diy shop for paint sample cards!!! lol

  5. So glad we connected via Flickr mail, and even more glad that I found your blog. Great idea for a mini journal…love it! I’ve made many a journal out of many “found” items, but never a paint chip. Too cool!

  6. Really like the discussion re ethics of taking paint chips.

  7. Gerda Frankes says:

    That’s a great idea, I have some paint chip samples, so I’m gonna make one,two ore maybe even more.

  8. I can’t wait to make these for the girls in my Girl Scout troop (I am a leader). My other leader somehow came across a bunch of paint chip samples that were going to be thrown away. They are a little too young still to make their own, but if they hold up well I will make them every time theirs get full and eventually teach them to make their own. Plus I know they’ll have a blast decorating them, and they love to up-cycle stuff. Thanks for the super cute and fun idea!

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