Handmade Stocking Gifts (handbound book and notebook)

I didn’t grow up with Christmas stockings—it’s not something we did in Brazil, probably because winter decorations don’t make much sense there, as Christmas is in the summer. I always chuckle internally when folks here complain of a green Christmas… even in the couple areas that get a bit of snow in the South of Brazil, they never get a white Christmas, since the holiday is in the summer, lol).

Anyway, I digress. Because I didn’t grow up with them, I wanted to do something a bit different to incorporate it into our Christmas, and to step back from all the consumerism associated with the holiday. So we decided, since the kids were born, that stocking gifts were for handmade items only. It can be as simple as a handwritten letter or as elaborate as you like, as long as you made it yourself. It’s OK if the gift doesn’t fit in the stocking, we just hand it out when stock opening time comes.

This year, I wanted to learn how to bind books, so I took the opportunity to create 2 types of handbound books for my stocking gifts.

For my kiddos, I printed the first installment of my “How to Adult” book series, and handbound a copy for each of them.

For my husband, I made a notebook.

It was a learning process, and I made a lot of mistakes, and I will have to re-bind at least one of the books, but I’m glad I gave it a try.

I did enjoy the process, as annoying as it got at times.

Here’s the book for the kiddos.

I printed the front and back covers on cardstock, then glued them to the back and front of cereal boxes from Costco. Then I used some self-adhesive vinyl to reinforce the whole thing. Finally, I used colorful duct tape as an extra reinforcement around the spine.

I had meant to use contact paper to then bind the whole thing more securely, but I was doing this literally the night before our celebration and… there just wasn’t enough time.

I didn’t bind the separate “signatures” together too well… so I ended up having to reinforce the book on the inside pages.

Lessons learned:

  1. I must bind each “signature” (or group of single pages, in this case), to the previous signature. The binding is just not secure enough otherwise.

  2. 1 inch is probably too much space between the spine and the binding. I’ll try 1/2 an inch next time.

  3. I must allow 24 hours for the glue to dry before doing the next steps. Which leads me to…

  4. I must plan ahead to do multi-step projects like this… December 23rd is not a good day to get started :joy: (considering we celebrate on the 24th).

Here’s the notebook I made for my husband:

Lessons learned:

See all of the above for the kids’ books, and…

  1. Your fabric must be thick enough, or the glue will seep through the fibers…

  2. Turn the cardstock/cardboard you’re using away from the front and back covers, or you may be able to see through the fabric to the vinegar box :joy:

  3. Cut the reinforcing pages for the front and back covers to be the same height as the covers. It will look neater that way.

and finally…

  1. Actually follow the advice of the awesome video I watched to learn how to do this… leave things to dry overnight, and bind the signatures more tightly… thank you @Edel for the tips and video. I am going to try this again and do a better job of following all your great advice, because your books are amazing!

On a somewhat related note… I have a random question… I’ve never been able to add more than one tag to my posts… am I missing where to do it? If I try to add another tag, it says “no tags found,” but before I added the first tag, the other tags were showing as well… not super important, but thought I would ask.


These are great and I love your “how to adult” theme! Remember the best books are the ones you actually make, perfection is the enemy of completion. And if you wanted a perfect book, you would just buy one!


Thank you so much for your kind words :heart:

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There’s also this tool on AliExpress. I’ve bought it but not used it yet, I always struggle with cutting off the correct amount for corners, so this looks like a useful little jig.

I have no idea why my AliExpress links come up in German


What great gifts! I’m sure I’d be doing them at the last minute, just like you did. I think I read somewhere that you can only use one tag for each topic (unless you’re a moderator)…? Not sure, though.


Only moderators can add more than one tag.


I need a couple books on how to adult. This is a fantastic idea. I still call my mom with questions!


Great idea! You pulled it off nicely!

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