We’ve seen his tips on how to make the ultimate dust mask and resin casting boxes, but for his newest video, designer Eric Strebel is going way back to where he starts all his ideas: his sketchbook.

As any designer worth his salt knows, sketching preliminary ideas before executing them in CAD or on the bandsaw is a vital part of the design process. In Strebel’s workflow, he likes to take his analog sketches from his sketchbook and scan them directly to his computer. For this to work, he modifies an everyday sketchbook by rewiring the spine to open from the back and adding some Ultrasuede to the covers to make it look snazzier.

YouTube video

To make the Ultrasuede covers, Strebel uses his dry-mounting roller press system to press a sheet of suede to some 3M double sided adhesive. Once the two materials are stuck together, he laminates the sketchbook cover using the same roller press.

Sketchbook rewiring and custom cover Sketchbook rewiring and custom cover

He does this process twice (once on each outer cover), before cutting the Ultrasuede at a 45-degree angle and folding it onto the insides of the covers. Since the folds are uneven, he presses them once again using his roller press system.

Sketchbook rewiring and custom cover

By far the most tedious part of his ultimate sketchbook journey is when Strebel has to manually cut out the binder holes through the Ultrasuede. Using an X-ACTO blade, he cuts tiny squares to fit the wire perfectly.

Sketchbook rewiring and custom cover Sketchbook rewiring and custom cover

To finish the inner covers, Strebel further removes excess material to make way for two more pieces of Ultrasuede he cuts using a rotary cutter. He sticks these pieces using some spray on adhesive to fill in the suede-less gap which previously plagued his perfect sketchbook.

Sketchbook rewiring and custom cover

Despite the project being fairly simple, this is one of Strebel’s projects he uses on an almost daily basis. You can see the results of his sketches and his other projects over at his YouTube channel.


Carlos wrestles gators, and by gators, we mean words. He also loves good design, good books, and good coffee.