Introduction: Recycled Printer Paper Sketchbook

This book allows you to add or take away sketchbook pages easily. Folded paper is held tightly to the book cover with a bent metal spine.

I decided to make my own recycled paper sketchbook after using unloved printer paper for sketching and making my daily lists.

Note: For this Instructable, I am using my own Recycled printer paper sketchbook, rather than starting from scratch. If any of the steps are unclear, please let me know, and I’ll try to clarify them.

Step 1: Materials and Tools


  • Cardboard, medium sheet
  • Wire or metal coat hanger
  • Recycled printer paper (A4 or legal)
  • Makedo Scru XL, x2 *

* If you aren't sure what Makedo is, they're reusable plastic screws for building with cardboard. Check out Makedo's instructables page.


  • Makedo Safe-saw
  • Makedo Scru-driver
  • Cutting mat
  • Ruler
  • Craft knife
  • Pliers/ clippers
  • Pencil


  • Clean working surface. Desk, workbench, whatever you’d like!

Hints and tips

  • Choosing cardboard: Choose a piece of cardboard that looks beautiful and is reasonably strong. I chose a piece of double-thick cardboard that is hard to bend.
  • Cutting cardboard: Makedo Safe-saw works best with rigid, un-bruised cardboard. If you have trouble sawing with it, use a craft knife
  • If craft knife tip is dull, replace it to make cleaner cuts.
  • Cut cardboard taking a few passes, following the line you’ve drawn.

Step 2: Draw the Dimensions

Draw the dimensions of sketchbook cover and spine on cardboard. I have provided dimensions in the photo included in this step.

Hint: Use the edges of the cardboard to get perfectly straight sides.

Also: Following the lines of the cardboard makes for easier cutting and scoring.

Step 3: Score the Cover and Spine

Use the punch of the safe-saw to score.

Score the spine in the middle, lengthwise. Set aside. Score the cover at 1.5 inch (3.5 cm) distance in the middle. Help round this edge by pinching it with your fingers, if necessary.

Cut out your cover and spine, and fold along your score lines.

Step 4: Assemble Cover and Spine

Place the spine inside the cover, away from the rounded curve of the cover. Make sure the fold of the spine faces the inside of the book.

Step 5: Complete the Cover

Punch two holes into the spine and book while holding it in place. Make sure they are far enough from the edge so you don’t tear your cover. Add Scru XLs to the holes you’ve punched.

Step 6: Make the Clip

Slide the wire into the spine so that it runs through the whole spine. Bend at the top, and bring it into the spine. Once you have the correct length, clip it. Take the wire out of the spine and bend it inwards, so that the metal legs overlap. This dent in your metal wire will put pressure on the pages inside your book, keeping them in place.

Hint: If you are using a coat hanger, clip it at the base of the hanger and unfold it into a straight line.

Step 7: Add Your Scrap Paper

Fold your sheets of paper in half and slip them into your sketchbook. Done!

Step 8: Further Ideas

Once your sketchbook is filled up, maybe it’s time to bind it into a finished book for your library or personal book collection!

Cardboard Contest 2017

Participated in the
Cardboard Contest 2017