How to Make A Watercolor Sketchbook

Walk into any art supply store or browse through a catalog of any mail order art supplier and you’ll see that there are many choices when it comes to purchasing a watercolor sketchbook.  While I use a number of different watercolor sketchbooks from a variety of manufacturers, more and more, I have begun to rely on those I make myself.

This is one of them. Home made watercolor sketch book - made and used by Tony ConnerIts pages are about 6″ x 10 1/2″ – a slightly elongated landscape format which I favor when painting or sketching en plein air.

Watercolor Sketchbook Customized For Your Own Use

There are a number of advantages to making your own sketchbooks :  they can be made to any size you like; like the one pictured, they can be made out of “used” paper – paper that has a not so successful painting done on one side; they can be made out of un-used paper of your choice, which gives you the ability to work on paper that is familiar and comfortable; the covers can be any sturdy and protective material – I use scraps of matboard for most of mine; and perhaps due to all of these reasons, the are VERY cost effective, especially when compared to those terrific but also relatively expensive commercial varieties.

The best news is that they are easy to make.  What you’ll need are a couple or three office binder rings, watercolor paper of your choice and cut to the size you desire, cover material like scrap matboard or something similar cut to a size slightly larger than your paper size and a sturdy hole punch.

HomemadeSketchbook_FrontCover_Noted_72x500Making The Watercolor Sketchbook

To make the sketchbook, cut the paper and covers to size. Remember to make the covers at least slightly larger than the paper.

For the next step, you’ll need a sturdy hole punch.  Set the punch at a reasonable distance apart.  Depending on the size of the sketchbook, you may need only two holes rather than three. Punch the holes in the paper and the covers.  The watercolor paper will challenge the punch itself, not to mention the very thick matboard.

Once the paper and covers are punched, put them together – back cover, paper, front cover.


Next, insert the rings through the lined up holes, close them and you’re done!


Download a one page handout about making a watercolor sketchbook here.

Enjoy your new, custom, inexpensive watercolor sketchbooks.