Notebooks from 100% reusable materials

A crucial part in trying to reduce our ecological footprint is reusing. Meaning that, when it comes to an objects we no longer need to find ways to reuse it. Thus, the environment is saved from one piece of garbage and recycling machines (if this item is recyclable) save a lot of energy.

Eco-living : What do we do with paper?

In my quest to live a greener life, my commitment and my dedication make me experiment a lot. Lately, in fact, I have been experimenting with paper. I’ve been looking for ways to reuse paper, that is useless in its primal “form” and these days I have started recycling paper at home! You heard right!

All these experiments are solutions to various problems that I encounter in my daily life.

One of these problems is all the paper used in the elections. The ballots are printed, used for about 12 hours and end up in the trash.

In this huge problem, there are two solutions :

1. To turn the ballots (or any used paper) into notebooks and 2. To recycle the ballots (or any used paper) at home, creating a new paper! For the second one, I will keep you waiting for a while longer, until I perfect the process and I can share it with you!

In this article, I will share with you two ways I tried to make a notebook from 100% reusable materials! The pages and the cover had another purpose initially but we will turn them into a notebook!

You will need :
  • Useless pieces of paper that have at least one blank side.
  • Cardboard from a box. We can use the cardboard from a shoe box, cereal package or anything similar we have at home. I used the box from an order I had placed in an eco-friendly shop.
  • A piece of fabric that you have at home. It could be leftover from a pair of jeans you cropped, or an old cloth. I used a piece of fabric that was left over from a pillow I made last year.
  • Vinyl adhesive (i.e. for paper constructions)
  • A brush
  • A surface for cutting
  • A box cutter
  • A pair of scissors
  • A ruler (preferably a triangle)
  • Metal clips like these
  • A pencil
  • Extra materials for one notebook : 4 magnets
How to make a notebook / Method No1: Refrigerator notepad
  1. Take a pack of used papers (in this case ballots). You can use as much paper as you want. For this notebook I used enough paper for a notebook of1.5 cm in height. Make sure to flatten the ballots, so that you have at least one side completely aligned. Stabilize this side by placing two clips, as seen in the picture.
  2. Grab your brush and vinyl glue. Apply a small amount of glue on the brush and brush the back of the pack you have formed. Be careful not to put too much glue, but enough for the pages to stick well together. Let the pack dry.
  3. To make sure it dries well, you can add another clip in the center of the pack, where the glue is. However, be careful that the clip doesn’t touch where you put the glue. Once the glue dries, take out the clips. You are ready to move on to the next step.
  4. Put the pack of paper on the cutting surface, and grab the box cutter in order to cut the pages evenly. Figure out where you want to cut. Mine is 9.5 cm wide and 15 cm high. Using a ruler, cut the pages with the cutter. It is important that we use a cutter that is not dull and its blade is sharp. A simple trick to cut the pages more easily without forcing too much, is the following: Using the ruler as a guide and support on the blade, etch with gentle and continuous movements. This way, you don’t press to cut all 50 pages at once, but you glide the blade again and again in the same point.
  5. This should be the shape of your pack when finished. Put it aside and let’s make the cover.
  6. Grab the cardboard to make the cover. With a ruler, a triangle and a cutter, cut two pieces of cardboard. The pieces should be the same shape as the paper pack you previously cut, but slightly larger. Form a 15.5 cm x 10.5 cm rectangle using a pencil and we cut carefully with the cutter. Same way you cut the pages. The concept with the cutter is to cut layer by layer, going lower and lower in the thickness of what we cut. Too confusing?
  7. This should be the result after you cut the sheets of paper and the cardboard. And now it’s time to perfect it with some fabric.
  8. Choose the fabric you want to use and after making sure that it is ironed, cut a 10.5 cm x 15.5 cm piece.
  9. For the front of the notepad, estimate where you want the fabric to end, mark with the pencil and apply the glue. I did at 5.5 cm. I marked with the pencil, put glue and spread with the brush. Once you have applied the glue, place the fabric and fix it in place with your hands.
  10. Aaaand… the cover is done! In order to glue the fabric to the back follow these steps : Adjust the cover with the fabric facing upwards. Put the pack of paper on top, to estimate tge height of the back cover. Then, grab the second cardboard to figure out exactly where you need to glue the rest of the fabric. If you want, uou can stabilize the cardboard with a clip. Spread the glue with the brush and glue the fabric.
  11. Your notepad is almost ready! All you have to do is glue the pages on the back cover. On the inside of the back cover, spread a thick line of glue using your brush and glue the pages. * You can do this earlier, before adding the fabric!
  12. Tadaaa! Your notebook is ready! You can trim the excess threads and apply a small amount of glue on top using your brush.
  13. I also glued magnets on the back of my notebook to put on the fridge for various notes. You can do it too, if you want! With silicone glue, glue the 4 magnets in the 4 corners of the back cover and it is ready!

How to make a notebook / Method No2: Notebook Booklet
  1. Form a lined pack of reusable pieces of paper.
    Glue one side with glue as seen in way No1 and let it dry.
  2. Using the cutter, cut the pack in a 11 cm x 11 cm square.
  3. Now cut three pieces of cardboard for the notebook cover. Using a ruler, a triangle and a pencil draw on the cardboard three shapes : 2 12 cm x 12 cm shapes and a 11 cm x 0.7 cm shape (this is the strip that you will use for the back of the notebook). After outlining the shapes, cut them carefully using the cutter.
  4. In order to cut the fabric to cover the cardboards, grab a pair of scissors and a ruler. Cut the fabric in : 18 cm x 35 cm.
  5. Place the cardboards you have cut on the fabric as seen in the picture, leaving 2 mm in between and glue them.
    What you see in the picture, should be the final result.

  6. And now for the final shape. Cut the corners of the covers into a Γ shape, as seen in picture 1. Also, cut the point where the strip is, as seen in picture 2.
  7. Glue the two pieces, as seen in the picture.
  8. Draw diagonal lines from the corners of the cover and the back cover to the corner of the fabric as seen in the picture, with a pencil or marker, and cut with scissors.
  9. Glue this side of the fabric to the cardboard.
  10. Tame the excess threads by spreading some glue, using a brush.
  11. Using a brush, spread a thin layer of glue on the back cover. Grab the pages and glue them on the back cover.
  12. If you want, you can also glue the back of the cover you made, with the pack of pages.

Our second notebook is ready too!

So what do you think? Will you try to make your own notepad?

I felt very accomplished that I was able to reuse all the paper that would be thrown away! The notebooks were a success and I’m positive that if you try this craft, you won’t be disappointed!

And don’t forget : These notebooks are made from 100% reusable materials! You used something that is rubbish to some, and turned it into gold! Yay!

See you soon,


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