Learn how to make your own custom bound notebooks, planners, journals, scrapbooks and more with the amazing bookbinding tool, the Cinch! This DIY notebook tutorial will walk you through the basics of making your first notebook with the Heidi Swapp Cinch.
The new year brings with it new possibilities, dreams, goals, and more. I love the fresh start of a new year and have been spending some time over the past couple of weeks thinking about what I want to accomplish this year, brainstorming, and scribbling in all kinds of notebooks, planners, and journals.
In the midst of all this planning and dreaming, I received my newest crafting tool, the Heidi Swapp Cinch, and I am so excited about all of the new crafting and bookmaking possibilities my new toy opens up!
Today, I’m going to share with you all how I made my first project with the Cinch, a little notebook that I will use to focus my day each morning.
I will also walk you through all of the basic steps of working with the Cinch in this DIY notebook tutorial, so you can make your first project as well!
DIY Notebook Tutorial Supplies:
- Cinch Bookbinding Machine
- DIY Notebook Covers or Cinch Chipboard Sheets to create your own covers
- DIY Notebook Pages
- Notebook Binding Wire
- Colored Cardstock
- Paper Trimmer
- Heidi Swapp Alphabet Stickers
- Heidi Swapp Planner Stickers
- My Top Three Printable (click the link to download the PDF)
Step One. Prepare Your Cinch Machine.
Start by removing the Cinch machine from it’s packaging and unhooking the elasticized latch from the Cinch’s handle.
Next, for a brand new machine, you will need to do a bit of practice punching to clean off any grease remaining on the punches before beginning work on your project. Simple grab a few sheets of scrap paper and punch through it several times.
Step Two. Prepare Your Covers and Pages.
For this notebook, I used some of the ready-to-go covers and pages from the Heidi Swapp Magnolia Jane collection available on Consumer Crafts.
These pages and covers are beautiful and make things extra easy, but you can also easily create your own custom covers and pages easily with the Cinch. If making your own custom Cinch covers, start by trimming your chipboard down to size with a craft knife and then by covering it with some favorite paper.
In addition to the readymade bullet journaling pages, I wanted to add some custom pages. At the beginning of each work day, I like to make a quick list of the top three things I need to accomplish that day. I find that this helps me to focus on the most important tasks each day.
Because the readymade pages and covers were sized to 8.5″ x 5″, I designed my custom pages to be the same size. If you would like to use my “Top Three” pages, you can get the free printable from the supply list above.
I printed off 40 pages, and then trimmed them down to size using my paper trimmer.
Once they were all printed and trimmed, it was time to punch!
How to Punch Your Pages with the Cinch.
The Cinch makes it really easy to perfectly line up the punches in your pages so that everything comes together perfectly. The machine has a handy guide printed right on the base to help you figure out the settings for the perfect punch for your project.
First, you need to know the length of the paper you are punching. My pages were 8.5″ long. For pages longer than 6″, you will need to punch twice.
You can punch up to 20 pages at once. Here are the steps for punching your pages.
- Line up the edge of your pages with the guide in its original position. Pull the handle down to punch.
- Pull the guide out so it is fully extended, and line the edge of the paper up with the guide.
- Push the alignment down through the hole below it to make sure everything stays aligned for your next punch.
- Pull the peg indicated on the guide. For my 8.5″ paper, I needed to pull the #5 peg. Finally, punch again.
And that’s it! Perfectly punched custom pages!
I also cut down some pink cardstock to create tabs to separate the different sections of my notebook and punched those as well.
Step Three. Assemble Notebook.
When you have your cover, pages, tabs, and any other contents punched and ready, it’s time to assemble your notebook.
If your binding wire is longer than your notebook, trim to to the correct length using wire cutters.
How to Assemble Your DIY Notebook with the Cinch.
- Start by placing the wide looped side of your wire binding onto the hooks on the side of the Cinch.
- Then, place the pages of your book onto the wire binding. Place the pages in the order you want them to appear in your book. Placing your pages first before the cover will ensure that the seam of your wire binding is hidden in the notebook.
- Next, place the front cover on the binding on top of your pages.
- Finally, place the back cover on to the binding with the back side facing the front side of the front cover.
Next, it’s time to cinch that binding! Start by turning the knob on the back of the machine to line up with the width of your binding. (You may have to check the packaging to determine the size.)
Then, carefully move the entire notebook to the back of the machine. Place the opening of the wire binding flush against the back of the machine. Then making sure to keep your fingers clear of the binding mechanism, pull the handle down to close the binding. For bindings wider than the crimping mechanism, move the binding down and repeat the process.
When the binding is cinched, simply flip the covers around the their proper arrangement, and your notebook is all done!
I’m so happy with the way this little DIY notebook tutorial turned out, and I can’t wait to put it to work! What would you use the Cinch to make?
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Alexis Middleton is a lifelong crafter/DIYer and blogger at Persia Lou. She started crafting at a young age. As a girl, she spent summers with her grandmother crocheting baby doll afghans, making coasters out of plastic canvas and yarn, and canning apricot jam. Today, Alexis spends a lot of time dreaming up and working on projects for her family’s home. She loves mixing traditional crafting techniques with a more modern aesthetic.