Introduction: Tear-Off Notepads, Custom & Detailed

As it looks, to make a nice, clean tear-off-notepad seems simple enough.

But it can be quite a journey if you want to get it right: Brittle glue, uneven stacking, ... all problems simple to understand but tricky to conquer.

Lets start!


Stack of paper, Preprinted if you want

Hobby knife



Hotglue & Hotgluegun

a few paper-clamps

2 sturdy plates like a PCB or thin metal strip

Flat metal bar

Tape, more on that later

Step 1: Get Your Layout

I normally use Rocketbook as basis of my notepads. Those Icons and QR-Code? Rocketbook for automated scanning and conversion and delivery of the digitised notes. Free App, kickass!

Anyway: In our company, we have a lot of printer-rejects. I normally use them on the backside (normally empty) to print my own notepaper on them and Re-use it that way.

Feel free to have it in what ever size you want. But normally more than one page fits on one printer-page.

Here i will use 1/4 of an A4 per page = A6

Step 2: Cut It Up

Cut your printer-sheet to the size you want.

Be sure to make clean and straight cuts. I use a PCB-ruler here as it is quite thick and super sturdy.

Be sure you cut them exactly to your size. Postcutting is possible, but a bit of a hassle...

Step 3: Align the Stack and Secure

Now we have to start taking care of perfect and controlled alignments!

Aligning the stack on the edge we want to glue later on.

It may help to blow straight onto the edges from the top to fluffen the stack and separate the individual sheets to better align to each other.

Taking the first clamp, secure the just formed aligned side.

Step 4: 3 to Rule Them All...

Next, we clamp the stack on the opposite side of the future glue-side.

Be sure you dont bend the stack for this as a bend staggers the paper!

Now we are free to gently release the first clamp again. we can now add the stiff plates of your choosing (Here 2 prototype-PCBs) to compress the entire glue-side. last chance to control if all is still neatly aligned and not crooked.

Step 5: Throwing All on a Wall and See What Doesnt Stick...

Next, we need to prepare the Glueing. And this starts with a surface which doesnt stick well to hotglue.

I use a paper packaging tape we have tons of. Just test and see if the hotglue releases quite good and does not stick too good to it.

Cover the metal plate/bar with it.

The metal helps cool the hotglue quite fast and therefore helps to release the hotglue from the tape later on.

And... I lied! NOW is the VERY last moment to check if all is still aligned well and proper. :)

Step 6: No More Time for Hesitation!

Now is the time to act! no more hesitation anymore!

Slather quite a good amount of hotglue on the edge to be glued. Press the complete constraption onto the covered metal. The glue will ooze out a bit. Thats OK.

Step 7: Pop It Off, Trim and Enjoy

If it is cold enough it comes off quite easily. Remove the clamps and trim away the excess hotglue. this can be a bit tricky: For me, it works best if i push/cut 45° from the lower right in the image while having a good portion of the blade still on top of the paper. This way, the cut is clean and doesnt cut into the paper, but trims off the glue perfectly ontop the first paper.

And there it is! Your newly tear-off notpad. will not become brittle, costs you close to nothing and looks good even after extended time in my backpack.

Step 8: Pitfalls

If you only clamp the stack from left and right without the solid bridge in betwheen, iot is possible for the pad to fan out and get quite bloated at the glue-side.

Dont do this ;)

See a comparison of a bad and good notepad :)