Introduction: Box Culture Notepads

About: I am a conceptual artist, and my DIY projects are mostly inspired by pop culture (movies, music, sports, TV). I mostly specialize in painting, graphic design, drawing, digital photography, performance art, and…

It's very common for us to throw away certain things that are actually meant to be recycled. But, for me, we learn how to save trees by recycling paper (like cardboard boxes and newspaper). With this DIY project, you can do just that-- save trees, reuse paper products in a new way, and learn the power of "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle". The idea for Cereal Box Notepads was originally developed by Beckie from Infarrantly Creative ( She, first, came up with the idea to honor the recycling theme for Earth Day Week 2011, by reusing and recycling cereal boxes and notebook paper to create a notepad that is so "Mother Nature"-worthy. Way to go, Beckie!

You can check out Beckie's take on the craft idea at

Again, thanks a lot, Beckie, for this amazing idea!

By the way, my craft name "Box Culture" is actually a word play on Pop Culture, because we've seen a lot of pop culture in a wide variety of art (paintings / photographs / crafts / etc.) You know, like how Andy Warhol or Roy Lichtenstein incorporates their love for pop culture into their artwork. Now, with this project, you can incorporate the idea of pop culture into the world of recycling.

Step 1: Materials

This image (above) contains all of the materials you will need to make your own "Box Culture Notepads".

  • cereal boxes
  • unused notebook paper
  • X-acto knife with a straight edge
  • ruler
  • Mod Podge
  • sponge brush
  • 2 medium size binder clips
  • 2 paint stir sticks (I bought mine for $0.66 each at Jerry's Hardware Store on Bainbridge Avenue)
  • Optional: You can also use a paper cutter if it sounds easier for you

Step 2: Cutting to Size

So, first thing that you want to do is go through your cereal boxes and cut them to the size that you want for your notepads. In this example, I am using one of the sides from an empty box of Lindy's Homemade Italian Ices. You want to cut two pieces to make the front and back covers for your notepad. Determining the actual sizes for your notepads is not necessary, but optional if you want to keep track. Now, do the same with your notebook paper and cut that down to the same size as you would with your cardboard.

With notebook paper, you can use index cards, paper from an old composition book or spiral notebook or even some unused paper from an old sketch pad.

Step 3: Sandwiching Everything Together

Next, take your notebook paper and sandwich them between the two cardboard pieces and shift it around to make sure that everything is lined up nice and even.

Step 4: Holding in Place

Now, this is the first step in binding your notepad. Take your two paint stir sticks and place them on either side of your notepad, depending on where you will bind the notepad with glue; on the side or on top (In my example, I am binding my notepad on the top). Next, place your two binder clips on top, so then you will have everything held together in place.

Step 5: Binding

Now, remove one of the binder clips, take your sponge brush and use Mod Podge to spread a thin even layer on the edge of your notepad to bind. Once that's done, place the clips back on the top of the glued area, but be careful that the clip is not touching your glue. For this step, you will probably need at least 2 to 3 layers of Mod Podge.

Step 6: Finished Project

Once the glue is dry, you can remove the clips and stir sticks. Now, you have a notepad made out of "recycled paper materials"! This image includes some that I have made so far: Eggo Waffles, Honey Maid Graham Crackers, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Entenmann's Little Bites and Lindy's Homemade Italian Ices. There's plenty more to come! Mother Nature would definitely get a kick out of this tree-worthy project!

Step 7: Ideas for Your Box Culture Notepads

Here are just some of the different boxed goods that you can use for your next Box Culture Notepads project. It does NOT have to be the ones pictured, but some examples include...

  • Ritz Crackers
  • Friendly's Ice Cream Novelties
  • Raisin Bran Crunch
  • Lipton Noodles
  • Shimmer Jewelry Tattoos
  • Tree Ripe Orange Juice
  • Kool Aid Jammers
  • Aunt Jemima's Little Griddles
  • Snackwell's Fudge Pretzels
  • Little Debbie Banana Marshmallow Pies
  • Jello
  • Giorgio Mozzarella Sticks
  • Entenmann's Little Bites
  • Eggo Waffles
  • Lindy's Homemade Italian Ices
  • Kraft Macaroni & Cheese
  • Honey Maid Graham Crackers

The sky's the limit here. Just get creative and be different, because everyone is different, special and everyone has, and will have something different in their artwork. That's what makes artists and DIY'ers alike so unique in their own way!

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