Holding ALL Your Places: Making a Multi-threaded Bookmark

Picture this, you're reading a book and you come across a passage or page that you want to recall for later. Maybe it's for your college studies, or maybe it's a recipe you want to cook up later in the week. As you continue reading, you find YET ANOTHER passage you want to mark. What do you do?

So, you hunt down for a slip of paper, maybe you remove it from your planner or notebook. Or you grab a sticky note and start jotting down notes and comments about the pages you're bookmarking. Then the nagging starts. Slowly and silently at first... appearing in the farthest corner in the back of your mind. That environmentalist guilt trip that reminds you that all this paper, those sticky notes, will do nothing to help the environment. That using more paper just creates more waste. That you'll lose the slips and lose your place and never find it again. There, you sit... paper in hand, wishing there was a better alternative to keeping track of multiple spots than using junk mail, index cards or sticky notes.

One bookmark cannot possibly hold two places, right? Wrong. Instead of ripping up valuable sticky notes that you'll trash or recycle later, why not create a multi-threaded bookmark to save your places in those books.

Most of these items can be found via the links or in your local art supply store for a small fee. Sometimes you can find the coins at a store selling "world products" or the local flea market; while many bead stores carry a wide selection of interesting and specialty charm designs.

  • Cross-stitch Thread (also known as floss) or flat ribbon (if you use ribbon make sure your charms will fit through the ribbon)
  • 6 Charms (or more or less, depending on how many place holders you want)
  • One Chinese coin or a gemstone donut to keep all the threads together


  1. Measure out three strands of the floss so they are about an inch (or more) longer on both side of the biggest book you want to use. Fold the floss over and then cut the strand.

  2. Thread two charms onto the floss.
  3. Tie a knot at one end of the floss. You may need to double or triple the knot so the charms don't slip over and off the floss.
  4. Carefully test your knot by sliding the charms down toward the knot. If it looks like they are going to slip off, add another knot or two to the pile.

  5. Tie a second knot at the other end of the floss. Adjust this knot so that the charms don't slip off the string here as well.
  6. Slide the charms so that one sits next to either side of the knot.
  7. Put all three strings next to each other. Fold the strands around a finger so they make a 3 string loop. All six charms should now dangle next to one another.

  8. Carefully push the loop through the center of the coin or donut. Thread the coin through an inch or two to give yourself room to work with.

  9. Make sure that the loop has all three strands appearing on both sides. If you don't check to make sure the loop is complete with all the strings, then when you make the knot, one or more strings will slip through.
  10. Tie a slipknot around the coin by pulling the loop over the coin and through the other edge.

  11. Pull the charmed edges tightly to complete the knot.
  12. Viola! You have made your multi-threaded bookmark. You can now cut off any excess floss that's dangling over your charms or you can fray the edges for a creative look.

Note: The charms hanging from the floss are prone to winding and knotting at this stage. You may need to spend a few minutes (I know I did) carefully pulling them apart before using the bookmark to hold up to 6 spots in one book. It's because of the winding habit that I recommend you try using heavier ribbon. But be warned, many decorative charms do not come with holes large enough to thread through wide ribbons, therefore you might want to use beads instead of charms.

Another Application
Now that you've made your own multiple place bookmark, why not apply it to your planner or Moleskine? With this design you can even modify a Moleskine's tassel or a bible's single silk page-holder. Carefully remove or cut out the old bookmark by cutting it out. Then follow the steps above to make your new bookmark-- but do not use a coin to give the top ballast. Instead, just knot as many strands together as you want to hold places for and then use E-6000 or a hot glue gun to reattach your new bookmark at the top of the notebook's spine (or if you're really careful, slip the knot down INTO the spine and then glue it there).

As always, your mileage may vary and you may need to create and attempt a few of these bookmarks before settling on a design and pattern that works best for you. I know that after my first attempt with the floss, I think I'm going to go back and see how I can make a few with ribbon. And maybe beads. Feel free to post your attempts and suggestions of making your own multi-threaded bookmarks down in the comments.

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Love it !!

I cannot think of the last time I saw a project so easy to do and so elegant and useful -- all at the same time.

Kudo's to Innowen for either thinking this up or for discovering it. Does not matter which one. The idea has been shared. THAT's what counts.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

A great idea. I've got one

A great idea. I've got one in a hymnal - a fellow choir member made these for everyone in the choir - really makes it easy to keep track of where we need to be. (Trivia note: the first experimental use for post-its was for bookmarks in hymnals!)

I am puzzled, though - why was Moleskine capitalized, but not Bible?

With this design you can even modify a Moleskine's tassel or a bible's single silk page-holder.



There's only one Moleskine. There are many bibles. :)


I had a similar biblical reaction

When I first saw the picture of the finished bookmark it reminded me of the scourge especially with those metal shapes hanging off the ends. The most famous use of the scourge is in Matthew 27:26, Mark 15:15, Luke 23:16, and John 19:1.

I didn't notice the orthographic difference between the two words you identified but I did notice the book in the pictures, which until I looked it up I presumed was a spoof.


Just curious - why did the book in the pictures strike you as a spoof? Maybe I'm missing something...

Dummies can be spoofed

I don’t know about the “Idiots” guides, but I did find a generator to make a cover for a Dummies book. I did one on my blog here:

to livejournal

I don’t know if the link in my blog still works because my workplace seems to find the location of a Dummies book cover spoof site suspicious and has blocked me. And I’m too lazy to try once I get home.

Lisa PT

So many reasons

I really did believe that the book cover was a mock-up. Loads of reasons, which do you want the linguistic, the cultural, the metaphysical or the incredulious?

There are two book series that no Englishman would ever have pitched as a publisher. (Though I did pitch a book proposal for one of those series; they went with someone else --- that's oky I went with another publisher.) The two series being "Dummies guide to ..." and "The Complete Idiots Guide ..."; to English ears these are rude. Dummy! Idiot! No one wants to be called that and no one wants to call themselves that either.

And then there's the incredulous. Well okay I'll not go there. Any one really interested in what metaphysics and incredility made me think it spoofy can use the contact form.

Those books.

I categorically refuse to buy Dummies or Idiots books. I'm not either. @#$% you, publishing industry.

to each their own *gryn*

I collect Id10ts books. Don't ask me why, but I think they're great. The best one I have yet is a book on spiritual happiness at work. great book concept.

The tarot spreads one looked good, and as I collect tarot spreads... I got it immediately. however, I will say that it's not the BEST book they've put out. The spreads are great but some of the exercises just aren't explained very well.



I also check out "idiot" books from the local library when I need to educate myself...
I think having a librarian for a father really helped me see that there is more to a book than its title ;)

Kinda off topic... I was at the semi-local B&N and saw Shakespeare's works in PLAIN ENGLISH! I nearly fell over... now there is something that should be addressed with todays publishers ;P hehe

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Hey Sara-
So, are you saying shakespeare in modern english is a good thing? I suppose it can be - for introducing younger readers to it and such, but for my money I'd rather get the real deal. I sincerely hope my kids are still forced to read a number of his plays once they get to Middle/High School. I think too much would be lost in a translation. There is alot to be said for having to take the time to really read something carefully to get the meaning of the words.

One of my favorite Shakespeare movie adaptations is Romeo + Juliet with Leonardo Dicaprio and Claire Danes that was set in modern times, with gangs rather than the families, but still used the real language. Very cool concept.

I never finish anyth


I was going to fall over ... i was shocked - appalled even. I know everyone is different but learning how to read, understand, digest, and appreciate Shakespeare revolves around his language... I adore the original works, and in my opinion they should not have been "dumbed down"...

I liked the movie "Titus" with Anthony Hopkins... if you haven't seen it yet, I strongly recommend it :)

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Too Blue..

That was the one with him all painted in blue - some Pictish thing or other? I think I started to watch that one, but found it too strange for my taste.

Glad to hear you agree with the book review!

I never finish anyth

I'll Dummy up...

If I want a quick overview of a sublject, without too much detail, I find the Dummies/Idiots books very useful. If the subject still interests me, or I want more detail, I can then find more detailed books on the subject. Often using the books listed in the appendices of the Dummies one.

I never finish anyth


I didn't think it'd cause much of a "stir". I wasn't thinking when I capitalized the proper noun and didn't capitalize Bible. Sides, I agree with shrs... there's one proper noun of Moleskine, and many different Christian bibles to choose from.

And yes, the book DOES exist. But I hope you will not fault me for that.


I didn't mean to makea stir - just observing. I'm a big moleskine fan (I actually prefer the pocket cahier's) and it wouldn't surprise me that people would capitalize it... but it made downcasing the Bible stand out.

and many different Christian bibles to choose from

Er, there are different translations and editions, sure and Christians certainly DO read it... but, oy!, not JUST Christians
(See "Whose Bible Is It?" regarding that.... :) http://www.bookslut.com/nonfiction/2005_06_005751.php



yeah... i realize all those differences for Christian bibles. and yes, i'm aware of all the different other bibles out there. the bible series for computer programs are one of my favorites. :)


When in Disgrace with Fortune and Men's Eyes...

Great article as always inno. :) However some of the comments remind me of an incident which happened during a half forgotten school holiday long ago.

I must have been ten or eleven at the time as I was reading one of the William books by Richmal Compton. Great uncle took the book and after a few minutes pointed to a short paragraph which I began to read... No! Cried my great uncle ___ in an angry voice. "What is a wrong with this sentence?" I looked but could not see anything. "Chesterfield(1) is a proper noun!" "Whoever wrote this wretched work should be given the 'cat'(2)" My great aunt, his sister knew better that to argue, instead she point to a grammatical error in one of the translations he was working on...

...and for any one with a Bible handy: Matthew 7:3-4, Luke 6:41. :)

(1)Chesterfield in this case refered to a form of heavy, leather sofa made popular by Lord Chesterfield.
(2) Cat 'o nine tails - a type of whip.
(3) Like a Dan Brown novel some of the facts have been altered to make the story more interesting. :P

Great idea! I'm thinking

Great idea!

I'm thinking that ornamental buttons with shanks (instead of holes in the button body)would work really well with 1/8" ribbon.

And I've inherited my granny's 'button box'. :)

Bookmark of many colours...

1/8" ribbon in a multitude of colours. Mmm I like that idea, I just need to find some nice buttons to go with it. :)


Bravo Inno~! Darling the possibilities are ENDLESS~!

How about washers, and various size nutz and 'hardware' type things? Might be nice for the home-improvement buff in your life...

I like the button idea a lot...

Then you could always go edible... How about various sized cookies (the ones with the holes in the center)... or even candies~! yummm... :o)

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told ya you'd love this.

told ya you'd love this. :)

mmm cookies.
i really need to eat more.



You, ME... craft supplies and COOKIES ;D Could anything have more potential for fun?!

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hmm... cabana boys? :)

other than that, no... we got the chocolate, good company and fun art times all covered.

i love my art grrrl days. so need to do another one. :)


I only have "Solo" art days since the friends that live near to me are all guys and don't "art it up" ... some day I shall convert them... :P

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we're covered

you know what that means?

it means that you can bring the cabana boys and i'll bring my art grrrls with me. that way we got the best of everything covered.


Now yer talkin!

I like the way you think girlie :D

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Volunteer !!!

As long as you do not require your cabana boys to wear Speedo's

I'm a bit too hirsute for such fashion.

"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

I love the hardware idea,

I love the hardware idea, but caution against the edible charms. I'd just eat the cookies/candy and my bookmark would fall out of my book! ;-)

Good point

I envision something like those candy necklaces that used to get all gooey and sticky... could be bad for library books too ;P

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food for bookmarks

My dogs would love them. But I don't think my books would remain readable after being mauled and fought for by two reasonably large dogs.

I love this bookmark idea. I’ve been trying to think of how to integrate my planning hobby with my jewelry making one. This might do it, but I’m still want to figure out how to make a beaded Crica cover. I’m sure someone, somewhere has done it.

Lisa PT

plastic laces

This inspired me to get some plastic lace from Michael’s (local craft shop) and weave me a four-string bookmark. I just weaved about an inch and left the tails as long as the book is tall. It may have cost me 79 cents.

It doesn't look as cool as yours however.


Me cheapskate

My own solution to the problem is real cheap. When I've ordered books from amazon.com they will sometimes include a bookmark or two. I keep those coraled together so I can pull another one out to insert in the book I'm reading.

In desparation I've even been known to take paper from the message block beside the phone and tear off various small book marks. Not as pretty as your solution innowen but the torn paper is simpler to add extensions to; just need another piece off the message block.

Over the years I can think of only two occasions when I've really needed such multiple bookmarks. One is regular (sometimes annual) when I'm reading the Bible following a chronological scheme and want to keep track of the parallel passages in the histories and prophetic books (Kings, Chronicles, Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc or in the gospels.) This scheme only needs a maximum of four bookmarks per translations.

Me, I'm just a cheapskate. ;-)

My problem with little slips

My problem with little slips of paper is that they have a tendency to fall out of the book, so I love this idea, elegant and simple.

post-it notes

That's why I still prefer Post-It Notes as bookmarks. Easy, cheap, and they stay put.


I often use a scissors to

I often use a scissors to cut a standard postit note down to 'flag' size if the need arises... if my supply from college is not at hand (I want flag crazy in college).

I like the idea of magnetic bookmarks... I made a "monkey magnet" bookmark for my current book I'm reading... it works well :)

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My first exposure to

My first exposure to shakepeare was actually was of those booked. I found it at B&N a very long time ago and still have the book, though it's in terrible shape. It obviously does leave out some, but even now after reading all the plays in the book in their original form, I don't think they are dumbed down,more boiled down. Boiled down is very useful for younger readers and those of us without the patience and focus to read Shakespeare and fully comprehend it. The book was very well written, the one I have was written by Mary and Charles Lamb. I don't know about the one you saw, Sara, but their books are meant to be a stepping stone to the complete works. As such, they are great. As a substitute though,I agree , it would be appalling.
I've lost myself and gone to find me, if I get back before I get here, please ask me to wait. -author unknown

The book by the Lambs...

is an excellent book, and we have used it in home schooling our children.


Tuck 'em in.

Yeah I know what you mean. But as they're small I seat them right into the fold. That way they don't come out --- until I want to take them out.

Just a small point...

Great idea!
Just so that people aren't misled, you're using a Japanese 5 yen coin in the pictures, not a Chinese coin. Since 5 yen is roughly 5 cents these days they'd be much cheaper than a collectible anyway.


Thank you for the correction. I do have a bunch of Chinese coins but for some reason, when I was constructing the prototype... I wasn't able to find them. However, the link in the materials list gives users a cheep way to find coins for use in this exercise.

A friend gave me the coin without explanation of origin.



This is so neat an idea. I will use it more with my magazines I read then books. I find so many great ideas, web pages, recipes and when I reading it don't want to tear out the pages. I can make a few of these so when I am completed with the magazine I can tear out the pages that are marked.
thanks again

end of the strings


You could also bend the strings at the end, after putting the little metal hearts on it and enwrap it in sowingthread, going round and round until you have it circled a centimeter wide. Then you cut of the rest of the string and you have a very neat end of the string.

I hope the way I descibed it makes sense, otherwise I might have to do it and make a pic of it ;)

Similar hack for hardcovers...

I made something similar for a few family member's Bibles (note the capitalization ;) a couple years ago. Rather than a floss & a washer (or Japanese 5 Yen coin), I used multi-colored ribbons & a long, thin piece of cardboard a little smaller in all dimensions than the spine of the book.

After attaching ribbons to the end, I slid the cardboard down into the gap between the spine cover & the pages. I found it was useful to cut the cardboard to fit pretty snugly, so that it doesn't slip out easily - a standard freebie bookmark might work well for this, but may be too flimsy).

I also recommend a high quality ribbon that will resist fraying. And while the charms make for a more (ahem) charming appearance, they should not be necessary with ribbons, and it seems they would likely cause your tail-ends to become entangled.


So you know, lifehacker.com has just featured this post as a useful hack!

Bravo Inno~! Have I told

Bravo Inno~! Have I told you how mar'velous you are darling? :D

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Awww shucks, you guys. you know i do it for you. it's all about sharing the hacks and the tips!



This article just showed up on notebookism.com also. Congratulations innowen on a great idea and an exellent write-up.

Instead of floss or ribbon

I used hemp and leather strips. Brilliant idea these! I was so inspired I rushed off to the craft store straight away and dreamed up the endless possiblities. Made some using the letter charms spelling out names for several of my mates. Lovely little gifts to add to a book store gift certificate.

I made a 10-place(!)

I made a 10-place(!) bookmark for my dad as a birthday present, using a copper ring to hold the thin, flat suede cord. (Picture here.)

In this case, it was easier to tie each of the five knots separately instead of making one big knot, as otherwise the outer strands got shortened too much. A ring lends itself particularly well to this treatment.

While I probably underestimated the length a bit (after all, I don't know what the largest-dimension book in Dad's library is), he was very pleased with it!

Very nice~! I'm glad your

Very nice~! I'm glad your father liked it - I can see that being a hit for anyone. :D

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Very nice

'specially the celtic knot dangly bits
Where did you get them, please ?
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

Local bead store--

Local bead store-- unfortunately, I don't know who makes them. The trick with beads is to a) make sure the hole diameters aren't too small and b) have any ribbon or flat stuff cut on a taper to help thread it through. (Actually, one of those needle threaders might help as well.)

Wonderful Idea

You are smart. This is a wonderful idea and I love it. I always trying not to fold a page down to mark something in a book and end up using the cardboard subscription forms from magazines. Especially reference books with things I need to remember.

I did not pay any attention to the book, until it was brought up. I thought it was just a prop for the bookmark, showing size and length. I believe anyone reading more than that into it was looking for issues.

I teach computer and I recommend the Dummy series of book to everyone. They take something written by technicians and break it own for regular people.
They have a broad range of subjects and any "help" book is always appreciated. I own several and do not feel they make me a dummy.

Even though I don't agree with some subjects I still read and study up on them so I can understand them. It's called an open mind.

I study my Bible and even the Bible states "study to shew thyself approved". I take this to mean in all things. Wisdom is a mighty tool to have.

As for the capitalization of one and not the other, well that is just too nit picky. Most web sites these day's won't even mention the Bible, so KUDO's to you.

Keep coming up with the excellent ideas and sharing them with us.