A Durable Cover for a Pocket Notepad




About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first ...
I like to carry a small pocket notepad and a pen. When I want to give a phone number or a book title to someone, I can quickly write it on one of the pages, tear it out, and give it to the person. But, the covers on these little notepads quickly become tattered and worn. Soon they fall off. Then the front pages with information I have written can become torn or even fall out. The second photo shows my current notepad after only a couple of months of daily use. 

Materials required:
  • Notepad
  • Plastic sheeting from a file folder, etc.
Tools required:
  • Marking pen
  • Scissors
  • Needlenose pliers
  • 1/8 inch hole punch or drill

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Step 1: Remove the Wire Binding

These little notebooks are bound with a wire spiral. Each end is bent over to keep it from working its way out. See the first photo. Use needlenose pliers to straighten the wire on one end in the pattern of the spiral. Begin to turn the spiral to remove it from the notepad. See the second photo. The third photo shows the spiral removed from the notepad. Normally the wire spiral appears a little more evenly wound. I carried this notepad in my back pocket and sat on it a couple of times.

Step 2: Make New Covers

I have some plastic file folders. The plastic from a pocket folder like you might receive in the registration packet at a convocation or the plastic from a milk jug will work, too. I happened to have yellow plastic available and used it.

Remove a sheet from the notepad to use as a pattern so you can cut two new cover pieces. 

Step 3: Mark the Holes

Use a marking pen to mark the location of the holes for the wire spiral. 

Note: A friend wanted me to make a set of these notepad covers for him. We went to a store and quickly discovered some pads have eleven holes and others have twelve, even though the sheets in both are the same size. Make covers to fit the notepads you will be able to buy regularly as replacements. Another option is to make two sets of covers with one set for each hole pattern.

Step 4: Make the Holes

Some years ago at an art supply store I bought a hole punch that makes a 1/8 inch hole instead of the standard 1/4 inch hole. Align the punch with the marks you made for the holes and punch holes in both cover pieces.

If you do not have a 1/8 inch hole punch, you can use an electric drill to make the holes. The holes will be cleaner if you can sandwich and clamp the plastic pieces between two pieces of scrap wood before drilling. Mark the location of the holes on the wood before drilling. 

Step 5: Twist the Spiral Into Place

Place the pieces of plastic over the front and the back of the notepad. Align the holes. Twist the wire spiral into the holes.

Step 6: Close the Spiral

Bend the end of the spiral over at about 90 degrees to keep the spiral in place, just as it was before you began. Check to be sure the notepad flips open and closed as smoothly as it did originally. Nudge the wire spiral anyplace where it binds. 

You may want to trim the corners of the plastic covers to remove sharp corners.

When you buy a new pad, remove the wire spiral and transfer the plastic covers from your old pad to your new pad. A pad with plastic covers is much nicer to use than one with the covers about to fall off.

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    10 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I bought a notepad with this sort of cover several years ago. It was much more durable than typical card stock covers. I often thought about rigging something like this but never got round tuit. I just might have to give it a go now. Thanks (again) for the inspiration, Phil!

    I wonder if you could cut slots rather than punch holes in such a way that the cover would fit both 11 and 12 hole notepads. I think my awful ASCII drawing will make sense...

    === === === === ===

    Instead of this:
    o o o o o o o o o o o o

    1 reply
    Phil BSabata

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    It seems your idea might possibly work. I expect you would just need to lay sheets with 11 and 12 holes over one another and see where and how you could make adjustments to the holes for a "universal" cover. Thank you.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I add a paper clip to hold the notebook shut when in pocket or purse. Use the ones that clip on, usually different sizes in black, take the two "wings" and flip out straight or flat to notebook.. Easy to use and carry, flip up one of the wings and use as a hanger at office, home or vechicle.

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Neat work!

    Because my working desk is always a mess, I'd clip/clamp the inside sheets before taking off the spiral, prevent them from all over the place and getting miss-alligned.. :)

    Keep 'em coming Phil! :D

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Introduction

    I may give this a try. I spend a lot of time in cotton, corn, and peanut fields where sweat, sometimes rain, really complicate my ability to keep something available that I can write on.

    I have historically used a lot of note cards, something a little thicker than paper or even the covers to these little note pads, but even the thicker card stock misses the mark pretty big.

    Thanks, Phil, once again, you offer some very practical advice! May you be blessed!

    1 reply
    Phil Bchobbs1957

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I spent the summer in East Tennessee. The tattered cover you see in the "before" photo came to be after only two months of working in a shop with no air conditioning during hot and humid weather with all of the accompanying perspiration. Despite the humidity and the perspiration, the paper sheets inside the cover remain undamaged and pretty much in the original condition. I think the plastic cover pieces might help you quite a bit. Blessings to you this Lord's Day!

    Phil Biceng

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you. They wander a little, but I was trying to "hit" a dot from a marking pen. Just hitting the dot met most of the requirement. Getting the punch centered on the dots and the holes in line is a bonus, if and when it happens.