Introduction: 30-Minute Recycled-Paper Old-Underwear Notebook (Thing-A-Day: Day 20)

About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author of t…

At 10:30 last night it dawned upon me that I had not yet Thing-A-Dayed and needed something fast. I frantically started pulling drawers open and throwing junk onto my desk. I found a couple of pairs of mangled underwear that I never bothered to throw out, some scrap paper and about a dozen pull-string toys. I couldn't help but look at the supplies and think of these recycled office paper blank books.

The pull-string toys were not of much use for this, so, I put them away and immediately set to work on making a recycled notebook using my old underwear as a cover (its clean, don't worry). I couldn't really remember how to make a book at first, having not done it in some years, but I managed to wing it.

This can be replicated in about 30 minutes and should cost about nothing to make.

Step 1: Go Get Stuff

You will need:

- 20 sheets of scrap paper of about the same size
- old (clean) underwear
- a needle and thread
- craft glue
- a cutting tool
- some cardboard

Step 2: Fold the Paper

Take four pieces of paper and fold them evenly in half (all at once). This is called a signature. Make five signatures.

Step 3: Sew

Take all five signatures, line them up and squash them together. With a pen or pencil make 5 lines spread out across the creases or spine. Use these marks to sew the signatures together. I forgot how to do this properly and just kind of winged it. You should do the same. Just make sure that they are all sewn nice and tightly together.

Step 4: Prepare the Elastic

Honestly, I forget why I even need elastic and I think I am ultimately going to add it wrong.

Any which way, I think I used to sew the elastic in place when I would do the last step. Like I said, I forget... so... in the next step I glued some on as an afterthought since the underwear had some for me to use. The elastic somehow keeps the book from getting ripped in half.

Cut your elastic out of your underwear and cut away any fabric still attached.

Step 5: Glue!

Cut the cardboard into two squares slightly bigger than your signatures.

You need to glue the elastic onto each side of the outside signatures so that it is acting as a hinge. Add two hinges on each side.

Add a lot of glue onto one of the outside sheets of paper. Stick a piece of cardboard to it.

Do the same for the other.

Essentially, make it look like a book (see picture below if confused).

Step 6: Underwear Time!

Lay out your book on top of the underwear and cut the underwear so that there is enough fabric to cover the entire surface of the outside of the book and still be able to fold a little over onto the inside.

Step 7: Glue the Cover

Glue the cover onto the outside. Fold it over onto the inside and lightly glue it some more. Be careful not to glue the cases together.

If you use a lot of craft glue, the glue will seep through the fabrics and leave nasty glue patterns on the outside of your cover.

Step 8: Let It Dry.

Let the glue dry for a while, but before its completely dry pull apart any pages that might have got stuck together and then leave it to dry for good.

You can stick a heavy book on top of it to make sure that it dries flat.

After an hour or two you should have a new notebook.

It's not the best notebook, nor is it really even a good notebook, but it cost nothing to make, took less than a half an hour and is made out of old underwear. In my mind, that makes it superior to most other notebooks.