Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How To: Make a Scrappy Recycled Notebook

This whips up so quick, yet it's so cute. The idea of using duct tape to cover the staples comes from Amy Karol's sketchbook tutorial (my kids and I each made one of those, and they're great for travel), and folding paper over so the printed side is on the inside is all over the place, but closest to me, it's in my copy of How to Make Books by Esther K. Smith. I wanted to do something quicker and easier than stab binding though, so I combined the ideas.

Materials: Sheets of 8x11.5" paper printed on one side (stuff you'd be comfortable recycling, not stuff that needs shredding); 8x11.5" card stock printed on one side; metal ruler (to help tear); x-acto knife (if you don't want to tear; also for the duct tape); duct tape--I used sheets because it's neater; stapler; binder clips (not shown); bone folder (also not shown, and optional)

Select 4-5 sheets of the paper (this is going to depend on how strong of a stapler you have) and tear them in half. If you want it neat-neat, cut it along the ruler's edge rather than tearing. You'll end up with 8-10 pieces of paper. Tear or cut a piece of the card stock in half, too.

Fold your sheets of paper in half with the printed side inside, and do the same for the card stock. (If you don't have any card stock to recycle, use new sheets. Perfectly fine.) All the print should be hidden now, so you just see the blank sides. Make sure your folds are nice and crisp. Your fingers should be fine for this with the paper, but a bone folder helps with the card stock. Arrange your folded paper in a pile (if you have some colored sheets, you might want to arrange them in a certain pattern, or maybe that's just me) with all the open edges to the left. Place one piece of folded card stock on the top and one on the bottom, open edges also on the left. All the folded edges should be on the right.

Make sure it's all lined up evenly, then place a binder clip around the side with the folded edges (this is where your book will be open) to hold it in place. Use a piece of scrap paper between the clip and the book so the clip doesn't leave marks. Using your metal ruler and a bone folder, gently score a line about 1/4" in on the raw edge side. This is your mark for the staples.

Staple it three times, one in the middle and one near each end. Just eyeball it; they'll be covered up soon anyway.

Slice off a piece of duct tape to fit. The sheets have a grid on the back, so it's easy to cut a straight line with the ruler and x-acto knife.

(See that little bit of card stock hanging off the bottom? I sliced that off right after I took this photo!) Again, I just eyeballed the width of the duct tape. You want enough to cover the staples plus some; mine are about 3/4" inch or so on each side of the book. Peel off the backing, line it up, and cover your front staples. Then bring it around the edge and cover the back staples.

Voila! Isn't that a cute way to recycle some one-sided paper? We have piles of it. Most of it came home in my sons' backpacks from the school office--I have doubles of a lot of notes, too! Now that you have your cute recycled notebook, you can decorate it any way you'd like.

I decided I wanted a leaf stamped on the second one, so I cut and carved one. I'm thinking these would make good gifts, too, for grocery lists or jotting down ideas. How will you decorate your quick & easy scrappy notebook?


bells said...

that looks so wonderfully easy! I love the one you made for me!

Lori said...


Michelle said...

I love these so much. I'm going to make small ones to carry with me.