Notebook With LED Reminders




I always carry a notebook to meetings so I can keep track of what needs to get done. However, I often fail to follow up on my "to do" items as I would routinely forget to check individual pages which is why I wanted a notebook that provides easily noticeable reminders.

This notebook has four color coded sections and correlating LED's build into the cover to provide visual reminders for things that need attention. Now as I record things I simply slide the switch to activate the LED and one look to the outside of my notebook tells me what needs to get done.

I did not take pictures while making this but think it is a pretty straight forward project. I would be happy to provide clarification if you have questions.

Step 1: Materials Needed

  • Inside pages - I used pre-made book sections that are color coded Tab Notebook Sections
  • Some card board for the hard cover
  • Fabric, thread etc. for cover


Step 2: Putting Together the Book and Cover

To assemble the notebook sections into my notebook I basically followed the instructions found here: How to make a book

Once the book was put together (a step easily eliminated if a pre-made notebook is used) it was time for the fabric cover that provides the canvas (no pun intended) for the electronics. I wanted to keep all components visible on the outside because I like the steam punk vibe they give.

For the fabric cover I planned a simple removable cover that basically slips over the front and back of the book. This also allows for the cover to be moved to another notebook once this one is full.

The book cover was sewn in three pieces where the inside flaps were kept separate from the outside cover. This made it a little easier to customize the inside and work on the sewing of electronic components. I completed all the "electronic sewing" and testing before assembling the final cover for easier access. Also, the extra seam allowance of a full 3 inches gave me some nice wiggle room to still run the sewing machine along the edges (it got a little tight there on top where the ground for the LED ran).

Step 3: Wiring

Both the wiring and coding of this project are very basic. This was my first attempt to combine textiles with electronics and provided a great opportunity to explore and learn. It is also kind of fun that the wiring is clearly visible on the outside of the book and the entire thing can easily be explained to curious minds.

I used both conductive thread and some red wires to connect the components. The wire is there mostly for visual interest as it adds a little sparkle.

For each of the four sections in the notebook there are two corresponding LED's. The bottom LED for each section remains on while the top one blinks. In essence I use the blinking light-reminders for items that need attention right away and the constant light for things that can wait a little bit but should not be forgotten.

Step 4: Programming

My first piece of programming ever! While this is not the most elegant nor prettiest code (I think), it IS what got me started and was fun to play with!

//Interactive Notebook to help keeping track of tasks

//All LED's labeled "1" stay on once switched on. LED's labeled "2" will blink until turned off //regulated by hardware switches

//Utilizes a LilyPad Arduino 328 Main Board

int LEDr1 = 5;

int LEDr2 = 6;

int LEDg1 = 7;

int LEDg2 = 8;

int LEDb1 = 9;

int LEDb2 = 10;

int LEDy1 = 11;

int LEDy2 = 12;

void setup() { // put your setup code here, to run once:

pinMode(LEDr1, OUTPUT);

pinMode(LEDr2, OUTPUT);

pinMode(LEDg1, OUTPUT);

pinMode(LEDg2, OUTPUT);

pinMode(LEDb1, OUTPUT);

pinMode(LEDb2, OUTPUT);

pinMode(LEDy1, OUTPUT);

pinMode(LEDy2, OUTPUT);


void loop() {

//Lights "1" for things that need to be addressed are controlled by the corresponding switch. Default mode is "off"

// the loop routine runs over and over again forever:

digitalWrite(LEDr1, HIGH); // turn the LED on (HIGH is the voltage level) digitalWrite(LEDg1, HIGH); digitalWrite(LEDb1, HIGH); digitalWrite(LEDy1, HIGH);

//Lights "2" for things that are urgent are controlled by the corresponding switch and result in a blinking mode. Default mode is "off"

digitalWrite(LEDr2, HIGH); // turn the LED on (HIGH is the voltage level) delay(100); // wait for a second digitalWrite(LEDr2, LOW); // turn the LED off by making the voltage LOW delay(100); // wait for a second

digitalWrite(LEDg2, HIGH); // turn the LED on (HIGH is the voltage level) delay(100); // wait for a second digitalWrite(LEDg2, LOW); // turn the LED off by making the voltage LOW delay(100); // wait for a second

digitalWrite(LEDb2, HIGH); // turn the LED on (HIGH is the voltage level) delay(100); // wait for a second digitalWrite(LEDb2, LOW); // turn the LED off by making the voltage LOW delay(100); // wait for a second

digitalWrite(LEDy2, HIGH); // turn the LED on (HIGH is the voltage level) delay(100); // wait for a second digitalWrite(LEDy2, LOW); // turn the LED off by making the voltage LOW delay(100); // wait for a second


Step 5: Finishing

Once all the electronic components were installed and working properly, I assembled the actual cover. The inside panels were cut separately so I could add little pockets for post-it notes etc. before I stitched the flaps to the front/back cover. At this point it was all about customization within my color scheme (slightly obsessive I know).

Also, I did include an RFID tag on the back of the book so it would interact with my RFID interactive bag... a whole other story...

This was a true exploration for me and my starting "Arduino project". I think this is all it took to get hooked which is obvious from my new Temperature Sensing Nautilus Bag.

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    9 Discussions


    9 months ago

    This is so epic! I like the idea using a notebook instead of a distracting phone for productivity, but the problem is a notebook is static and can't remind me about things. This solves that problem! Can't wait to try something similar.

    Just4Fun Media

    3 years ago

    That looks incredible! How long does the battery last?

    Have a great day! :-)

    1 reply
    sciencedivaJust4Fun Media

    Reply 3 years ago


    The fact that I never really think about low power shows that the battery lasts a very long time. Honestly I think the last time I recharged it was over a month ago - though I do switch the thing off sporadically - love that switch on the LiPower...


    3 years ago

    awesome, it gives an evil light up sciency spidery look. i love it!

    about how long does it take to make?

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks! Tricky to say how much time it took. I would say I tinkered with it for 1-2 of hours a day over a week or so. But then again, I allowed myself to play here and the process was as important as the product.


    3 years ago

    This looks great! Could you please include a bit more detail on how you use this book and how the reminders work?

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Glad you like it.

    I basically take this notebook to all the meetings I attend and use each of the four sections for a specific a professional responsibility. I record my meeting notes in the book and jot down task items I need to take care of. Things I have to do/respond to/take care of within 24 hours get the blinking light for that specific section and tasks that can wait a little bit longer get the steady light. Then I simply look at the notebook before the end of the day, revisit the corresponding section and take care of business...or not :)

    This IS somewhat on the gimmicky side but it actually does work for me.


    3 years ago

    I love this steampunk book.