Freebie Friday! The Adventure Time Dos-a-dos Notebooks

The notebooks are back! But this time with an interesting twist! I don’t know how many of you have ever heard of a dos-a-dos, but it’s a form of book binding from the French meaning “back to back” as you can see. It’s not a kind of book I see all that often, and I think that’s a shame because I think the effect is so cool! One book makes two because they share a back cover – you simply flip the book over and you can access the other side. With the double-sided nature of the notebook it just seemed too perfect to apply it to the Adventure Time characters and their gender-swapped counterparts 😀 In fact I’ll probably try this out on some of the other characters because they turned out so great ^-^ And they helped to use up a bunch of my paper stash too.


There isn’t much sewing to this project besides the appliqué in the beginning, but the assembly of a two-sided book takes a bit of accuracy.
Makes one double-sided notebook that measures 4 1/2” x 5 3/4” and has 40 pages on each side.

Materials & Tools:
• Poster board for book cover
• Two pieces of decorative paper for the inner lining
• Twenty sheets of coordinating 8 1/2” x 11” printer paper
• 1/4 yd. of lightweight interfacing
• Fabric glue (and optionally, rubber cement)
• Matching sewing thread
• Basic sewing tools (sewing machine, scissors, iron, needles, pins, fabric marker, seam ripper)

For Finn/Fionna notebook
• 1/4 yd. of turquoise lightweight fabric for outer cover
• Scrap appliqué fabrics in peach, white, black, yellow, red, and dark red
• 1/4 yd. of 22” wide lightweight or heavyweight fusible web

For Jake/Cake notebook
• 8” x 8” piece of white and yellow lightweight fabric for outer cover
• Scrap appliqué fabrics in yellow, white, black, gold, and pink
• 8” x 8” scrap of lightweight or heavyweight fusible web

Before you begin:
1. Print out the project pattern here
2. Assemble the pattern pieces, see the page here for more help
3. Lay out the pattern pieces on your fabric and cut them out
4. Mark the fabric pieces with the markings from the pattern

1. The brunt of this project involves the appliqué that goes into making the faces for the characters, so I decided to take this part step by step so there’s no confusion. First you’ll want to take your fusible web and layer it over your appliqué pattern pieces with the glue side facing down, then trace over the shapes you need for the character you’re making (the pattern pieces in the .pdf file are reversed for this technique). Use lightweight interfacing if you want to sew your fabric pieces in place, or stick with heavy duty interfacing if you want to make life easier on yourself and skip the sewing. You’ll want to group together like colors while tracing to make the next step easier.

2. Cut generally around the shapes for each color – as you see here these are all the shapes needed in gold for Cake. Layer the fusible web with the glue side down over the wrong side of your appliqué fabric and iron the fusible web in place.

3. To make assembling the book a little easier on yourself, we’re applying some interfacing to the cover fabric. This will give the fabric a big more stability so it’s easier to glue and wrap around the poster board. Simply iron each interfacing piece on the wrong side of your fabric pieces for the book cover.

4. Now the fun part :B At least it is for me. Cut out your appliqué pieces, remove the paper backing, and start assembling them on your book cover fabric. Use the guidelines found in the pattern to get the proper placement and layering. When you have it just like you want it, iron all the pieces in place.

5. Now, if you used lightweight fusible web, this is where you’ll want to sew the edges of your fabric pieces. I personally sewed a zigzag stitch around the outside of each fabric piece. You could also do a straight stitch. BUT, if you used heavy duty fusible web, you can skip sewing it altogether 😀 The heavy duty stuff doesn’t need any sewing and is meant to keep your pieces secure with just the adhesive alone.

6. Jake’s face poses one exception, the lines needed for his ears and mouth are too small to do with fabric pieces. Draw in the lines for these parts as they’re indicated on the pattern guidelines. In this case I sewed mine on with a satin stitch, but you could also sew it with a straight stitch on your machine, draw it on with a fabric marker, or paint on the lines with fabric paint – no need to get too fussy 🙂 They’re just little lines after all, but they’ll pull together the whole look of his face.

7. Now, onto the body of the book! First we’re making the folds that create the distinct shape of the dos-a-dos binding. From your poster board, create a valley fold and mountain fold along the fold lines indicated in the pattern. I made mine with a bone folder which is a great tool for the job, but any other blunt kind of tool would work well too. When you finish, your book cover should fold up like an accordion (an accordion with just two folds, but an accordion nonetheless).

8. With your book cover in the right shape, you can apply your fabric covering. I use rubber cement here because I like the kind of semi-permanent hold it gives for this part of the project. You can use craft glue as well (but you’ll probably want to wait until the glue fully dries before moving along to the next step). Either way, coat the fabric within the fabric margins as indicated by the pattern. Then lay the poster board over the wrong side of the fabric so that it lies within the margins and the mountain fold faces the wrong side of the fabric (it should match up with the line marked on the fabric pattern as well). This will ensure that the front of your book is facing the right way.

9. Repeat this with the other side of the poster board and your remaining book cover piece. When you finish it should look something like this, so note that you should end up with fabric on opposite sides of the poster board 😀 It might look wrong, but it’s totally right!

10. To clean up your edges, trim off the corners of your fabric margins and fold them over towards the poster board. Here’s where I used more rubber cement, as a super strong bond here isn’t really necessary, so a light coating of craft glue would also work. I find that using a rubber mallet or a similar whacking tool to smash the edges makes them look very clean and sharp – really nice for good-looking corners!

11. To cover up the raw edges of fabric on the inside of your book, we’re adding in a paper lining. This is where you’ll want to break out and fancy paper you might have, such as scrapbook paper or cardstock. Cut it according to the pattern guideline, then score a valley fold down the middle from the right side of the paper.

12. When your inner lining is nicely folded, you can then use it to cover up the blank area left in step 10. Center it over the fabric margins and glue it in place with some craft glue. You’ll want to avoid the rubber cement for this part, as the hold it provides won’t be quite strong enough for what you need.

13. Now to prepare your inner papers! With your 8 1/2” x 11” papers, cut them in half widthwise. You can use your scissors for this, but an Xacto is much more precise. You should be left with rectangles that are 8 1/2” x 5 1/2”

14. To fit them into your book, fold each set of 20 papers in half widthwise to create one fat section of papers. I used a bone folder to crease a section of five papers or so at a time, then each creased section is slipped inside the previous one to create the book pages. When you finish you should have a set of 2 book paper stacks with 40 pages each.

15. Now open up your book pages and make sure the middle crease of all the papers are lined up nicely. Center that crease on the valley fold over your decorative paper book lining. Using your longest stitch length (any shorter and your paper will be perforated), sew down this crease to attach your book pages to your book cover. Go slowly with your machine, as you’re sewing through a lot of layers. Now repeat this with the other side of your dos-a-dos and your second chunk of book papers. Your book is almost done!

16. Everything is in place for your new book, but you might notice that it doesn’t want to sit flat like a typical book. That’s an easy fix 😀 Simply press your book beneath some heavy objects (books and lifting weights are perfect), and let it sit for a good while (overnight is ideal). When you take it out from beneath the weights you should have a nice flat book to play with! All that’s left is to decide what you’ll fill in on each side!

So what do you think? Have you ever seen a dos-a-dos amongst books at a library, book store, or museum? Well, now you’ve seen at least one >w<!
I realize there are so many more characters from Adventure Time to do – so I think I’ll get started on more!
If you do try making the project, I’d love to see it! And I’ll send you exclusive free patterns as a reward!

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7 thoughts on “Freebie Friday! The Adventure Time Dos-a-dos Notebooks”

  1. How do you do this project without a sewing machine… I am a non sower and I don’t own a sewing machine. I would love to try this because I love interesting notebooks like this. Not only that I love adventure time. So please get back to me about this.

    1. If you don’t have any sewing supplies at all, I would say you could lower the amount of paper sheets in your notebooks to perhaps 10 instead of 20, and then you can use a stapler to staple the paper to the book cover along the center fold (during step 15) since it won’t be as thick 😀

      1. Would I be able to sew it myself if I had a bigger needle like a upholstery needle. I think that is what it is?, the really thick one. Would that work as well if I spaced it out a little more?? I have sewing supplies just not a sewing machine. I sew little things like a hole in a shirt or socks. That is about it. : o)

      2. Yeah! An upholstery needle should work — though I’ve had a lot of luck with glover’s needles, they’re very sharp and have a wedge tip that really pierces through thick layers. Either one should help, especially if you happen to have an awl as backup to poke the stitching holes beforehand if your needle isn’t quite doing the trick. And yes, if you spaced out the stitches more that wouldn’t hurt either 🙂 Just a handful of strong stitches should be enough to hold the paper in place as you’ll see with most traditionally bound books.

      3. I am going to have to write this all down and see if michaels sell it… if not I am going to have to go to joann’s. I am going to do this. Would be ok to do with other people as well?? or just different styles?? I am going to have fun doing this. Thanks so much for the help!!!

      4. cool!!! I went to Mood Fabrics and got the white and blue material, awl and the glover’s needle. I am so excited to do it. I just have to find the scrap material for the yellow, orange, black and peach. Oh and buy all the adhesive stuff.

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