How to Recycle Office Paper Into Blank Books

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Introduction: How to Recycle Office Paper Into Blank Books

Here I will give a simple bookbinding tutorial using a Japanese stab-binding technique for making blank books from paper that is printed on one side. These books are useful for all kinds of notes, and tell an interesting story about the place they came from. I work in the computer lab at my school, where a lot of printer paper is wasted. I go through the recycle bin to find my papers.

This is a great little book for phone numbers and other random notes. You can make it any size you like, and the paper never had to go to the processing plant! Using a string binding instead of glue is easier on the environment, too. Some of the books I've made are for sale at my Etsy shop.

Materials:

Recycled paper (blank on one side)
Thicker recycled material (postcards, envelopes, cardboard, etc.) for covers
Twine, yarn, or other string

Tools:
Awl, drill, or drill press
Large sewing needle or bookbinding needle
Paper cutter, scissors, or utility knife
Cutting mat
Ruler

Step 1: Cut and Fold Your Paper

Using a paper cutter, scissors, or a utility knife, cut your paper down to twice the desired size. Fold each sheet in half, and cut your cover material (one for front, one for back) down to the size of a folded sheet.

Step 2: Line Up, Clip, and Make Holes

Stack your cover material and pages together and line up all edges. Clip with the large binder clip to secure.

Mark 3/8" from both to-be-bound corners (the folded side of the sheets). Divide the space along the binding between these marks into thirds, and mark those locations. These are where we make the holes for the twine binding.

Make holes all the way through the book with an awl, drill, or drill press. If using a drill or drill press, make sure to clamp your papers tightly down to avoid any paper ruffling. Placing a piece of wood under the book helps make a clean cut in the back.

Step 3: Bind the Book

I used this tutorial this tutorial to learn to bind books this way. It's very thorough, so I won't repeat it's instructions, but basically you sew the binding in a particular way with the twine and needle. Make sure it's very tight and secure. That's it!

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    61 Comments

    cant use the bind tutorial as the link doesnt work anymore....

    while I'm binding mine a different way I just have to say I love that I'm not the only person who does this! I no longer buy paper for school but use all the recycling paper from my work!

    I like the Japanese style. I have a bunch of out-of-date law reference books (too dated to donate - I checked) that I want to turn into codices. (http://isabell.paradise.gen.nz/Bookbinding/Recreat... The paper is thin (like what is sometimes called 'Bible paper') but is covered with printed text. Maybe I will use them for scrapbooks or use thick markers to write in them - regular pen or pencil is not legible over the printed text.

    Thanks for the well photographed instructable!

    It looks so simple and effective. I can't wait to try it out. Thank you :)

    The binder clips are a great idea for holding the paper together. I can't believe I never thought of that!

    Just made 3 of these books tonight as I was cleaning out the office/workshop of old plans, notes, 1 sided prints etc. Now I have a new place to take down notes and put ideas down quickly!

    excellent idea. But why cut the size? as might as well use the 8.5X11 size.

    And what if you wanted a smaller book?

    You wouldn't. They're illegal anyway

     This is by far the simplest and the best recycled paper notebook I've made. I already made 3 of these. Leftover corrugated cardboard for the covers makes for a decently hard surface.