DIY Guerrilla Publishing: Sweet Sugar Books in 5 Easy Steps


How to Make the Sweetest Little Book You Ever Saw

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Sugar Books made their debut in the online shop back in early 2014 after Lea guest taught Sugar Book making to creative writing students at an Oakland high school. A few lucky folks picked up a set or two and presumably launched them out into the world. Then we got that cease and desist letter from C&H, and…well, that was the end of that!

Until now of course. I think it’s about time we show you how to make these sweet little surprises yourself. They’re too much fun to keep under wraps forever. Sugar Books speak to Lea’s love of the minute, and they’re obviously beyond adorable. But more than that, they’re also an exercise in self-publishing and guerrilla art. These tiny homemade books are meant to be released out into the world, hopefully in the service of making us all a little bit sweeter and a touch more thoughtful.

Just drop by your local coffee shop or diner, snag a few extra sugar packets, and follow the steps below. Once you have a few handmade books ready to go, sneak them back into the sugar dish at a local cafe or restaurant. The idea is to leave behind a small literary surprise for the next unsuspecting diner. Then the next person will hopefully add to the book and refresh the surprise for someone else.

Here’s how to make your own Sugar Books in just 5 easy steps:


Supplies Needed

  • Scissors. We love our Fiskars 8 Inch Shop Shears, but whatever you have will work.
  • Paper. Any scratch paper you have on hand is just fine.
  • Baker’s Twine is best. Regular twine, thread, or even dental floss works too!
  • At least two sugar packets. Grab some the next time you get coffee from your local cafe.
  • Small hole punch. We use this 1/16-Inch Round Hand Punch.


Step 1

Measure and cut down your paper to size. For the ‘Sugar in the Raw’ I measured the sheets to 2 inches wide by 2.5 inches high. Make the book as many pages thick as you wish, 6-16 or so pages works well. I made mine with 12 pages (24 if you count both sides).


Step 2

Punch three holes along the edge of the first sugar packet. Make sure not to puncture the part holding the sugar in. Then use the location of the holes in this first sugar packet as a guide to help you punch matching holes in each sheet of paper and the other sugar packet. The most important things is that the holes in each line up nicely.


Step 3

Thread the holes with your twine or thread to bind everything together. You can use a fancy book binding technique like the one shown in this YouTube tutorial. Or keep it simple and just knot the twine as I did. If you go with knots, make sure they’re loose enough for the book to open easily.



Step 4

Add a creative message or prompt inside. You can write a prompt to start an interesting conversation (examples below) or you can simply write a message that will make someone smile, ponder, or exclaim!

Here are some prompts that creative folks have suggested:

  • “Smile at a stranger and say, “Good Morning!”
  • “Make YOUR day! Do something nice for someone else.”
  • “As you sweeten your coffee or tea, resolve to sweeten someone else’s life today.”
  • “What’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for you?”
  • “What was your favorite game to play as a child?”
  • “Try this: Put your cell phone into jail for 24 hours. Go to work or outside to play. See what happens.”
  • “What’s the nicest thing you’ve ever done for someone else?”


Step 5

Leave it behind at your favorite cafe or restaurant for someone new to discover, enjoy, and add to! That way, each new person who discovers the book can see all of the inspiring and lovely acts of kindness performed by each participant along the way.

sugar book stash


Let us know what you write! Please tag us in your Instagram (@leafcutter) and Facebook (@LeafcutterDesigns) posts and use #SugarBook.


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Grew up in Los Angeles and now living the dream in Oakland. Obsessed with all things miniature, vintage and/or made of paper. The character of Buttercup (The Powerpuff Girls) was based on me.


  1. varenikje

    January 19, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    You seriously got a cease and desist thing from C&H? Wow, doesn’t that mean you are famous?

    • Devin Redmond

      January 23, 2016 at 1:24 pm

      Famous or infamous, I’m not quite sure which!

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