Recycled Receipt Notepad




Ever gone through your wallet or a draw at home realising you are neck deep in useless receipts? Well if the taxman ain't knocking then you need to do something about it. Sure you could trash the things, but what about some creativity instead?

This Instructable is how to make a notepad using basic things you will probably have around the room you are sitting in. This is what you will need (at max):

- Some old cardboard (I enjoy cutting up the flaps off boxes)
- A bunch of old receipt dockets
- Two small metal binder ringers (usually from a stationary store or just at home in my case) or a length of ribbon/cotton/yarn/stringed such.
- Scissors or a blade
- hole puncher and single hole puncher aka a pen

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Step 1: Measurements

Once I gathered my receipts I noticed that all of them had a width of 8cm, which is brilliant as it will help create a compact notepad you can take anywhere in your pocket. The only bad thing (if it is for some people) is that receipt lengths will always vary. This means you should organise them into a neat pile and then decide how long you would like them. This effect didn't worry me and I went with the common length of mine which was 19 cm. Once you have a good pile of one sided and same width pieces you can thus... CONTINUE---->

Step 2: Cardboard and Hole Punches

Now just measure up and cut your chosen cardboard or other material that will act as covers for your notepad. Now place your pile of receipts between the two pieces to get the desired neatness and positioning for your pad. Once done take some of your papers and place a hole punch in each of the top corners with a hole punch. Then draw the position of those holes on the card pieces and use a pen (my cardboard didn't fit into a hole puncher) to punch in those holes!!!

Step 3: Choice of Binding

I used two small metal binder rings, which does seem to contrast the whole "recycle your trash man and make a notepad" theme. I'm not a savy knot tier so used the rings to bind the pad instead. You can use any strong lasting material such as a yarn or whatever to bind your notepad and any knot complexity you want.

So yes, now you have your very own cool notepad with your materialistic worrries printed on the back of each page to remind you of your horid decadence... Nah, just kidding. This looks cool and does kinda make you feel good for doing some home recycling. Hope you liked my first instructable. I can't wait to make some more stuff.

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    10 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    About six months ago (July 2010), a study was published about receipts containing BPA. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say this might not be such a good idea in light of these findings.

    Great idea to reuse scraps of paper, but I'd rather not expose myself to any more bpa than necessary. :(


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I used to do this when waiting tables and I would run out of blank paper.  I would take the reciepts out of my pocket and staple them together, then write on the back.  Necessity really is the mother of invention. 

    Also, the pens don't matter so much if you are just using them for a scratch pad, but ball points do smear on thermal paper.  No one could tell because I washed my hands so much though!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    If you spray the receipt with Lysol or some other compressed liquid(such as Axe) it'll remove most, if not all, of the ink. And it'll smell good.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the comments everyone and especially for the 277 views after only 3 or so days.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    This is a cool idea. The company I work for sells <a href="">Thermal Paper<a/>. Thermal paper rolls are coated with a chemical that changes color when exposed to heated print heads. Therefore, thermal paper does not require ink to produce an image. You can stratch the top of a thermal paper with your finger nail and it will produce an image.

    You can also scan your receipts using NeatReceipts ( to store your receipts digitally.

    Phil B

    10 years ago on Introduction

    What type of pen do you use when writing on the backs of your receipts? Most of the receipts we get are on thermal paper. I generally use a fountain pen, and those often skip on thermal paper. Even ballpoints often do not work well when signing for a credit card charge in the store.

    4 replies
    toil_and_spinPhil B

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Hmm you have a good point I didn't include at all! Well I have used lead pencil, ballpoint pen and black fineliner and they have all worked just fine. I am guessing that my receipts have a different paper material to the thermal paper, or maybe I am not noticing the difference of how efficiently the pens write. Sorry I couldn't be of more help, but I found it works fine for me (and I don't use a fountain pen as well)


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    A lot of the receipts I get are actually pressure-sensitive paper (used with a dot matrix printer with no ink ribbon), so you can write on them with a fingernail/key/empty ballpoint/knitting needle. The downside is they also appear to come with advertising on the back (who reads the back of their till receipts? Srsly...).

    jessyratfinkPhil B

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    It'll actually work if you're writing on top of another piece of paper. It's very odd. We're constantly giving people things to sign on top of where I work.