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You tend to glue things into your notebooks. Scrapbooks, journals, ordinary notebooks, whatever - by the time the end of the notebook is reached, a rubber band is needed to keep it closed. At the fore edge, the pages are three times as thick as they are at the spine. People ask "got enough stuff glued in that notebook?"

You wonder if there isn't a better way, perhaps the possibility of buying notebooks designed for collaging lots of stuff into them, so that they actually lie flat and stay closed.

As an artist, I have a bad habit of doing this to notebooks. May of them are left unfinished because the mass of pages on the left side is so great that it makes it difficult to work on the right. There are several solutions - the only problem is that they more space notebooks have for collaging, the more you will collage in them, always using more space than is available.

A simple method is to take a pre-manufactured notebook and cut out ever other leaf or two leaves out of three, close to the spine, leaving perhaps a quarter to a half inch of paper. If the notebook has a sewn binding, do not tear out leaves - the other half of the piece of paper - the other leaf - will also fall out. If it is perfect bound, you can simply rip out excess leaves. Not that I recommend this, but I don't reccomend working with perfect bindings at all - they tend to fall apart with the use I give them.

This method could also be applied to a spiral (or other wire bound) notebook - just rip out half or two thirds of the leaves.

More complicated methods.

All of the following assume knowledge of basic bookbinding, either sewing on tapes or sewing on cords, or using a kettlestitch, and some method of putting the covers on. They essentially deal with different methods of sewing the book block.

Be sloppy with the sewing! Sort of. Instead of sewing the signatures to the tapes or cords as tightly as possible, let the sewing be a bit loose. Consistently loose. Finish the book bloc, then attach to the covers, ensuring that the spine is as wide as possible - this is important in all of the following designs - no point in making extra space in the spine if one squeezes it back together when attaching the covers. It's easy, fast, but there is not much precision as to just how much extra space is added.

One can also insert additional signatures and simply not sew them in, then remove once the book block has been sewn, leaving the extra space to collage stuff in. Or, for real precision, add as much material as you think will be collaged in, in the form of other paper, and sew the book block so that it is flat, then remove the material.

The most labor intensive (and generally most satisfying) method is to sew dummy signatures in - about a half inch wide, just enough to have something in there and to keep the other signatures apart. These can be used every other signature or even more often.

So break out the glue and start collaging in a new notebook!

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