Rescued Paper Notebook



Introduction: Rescued Paper Notebook

About: Retired techie in love with crafts, cooking, and all things creative.

Several years ago, my son pulled a ream-sized stack of paper out of the recycle bin from his work. It was one of those times when the printer went berserk and printed random text on the first few inches of each sheet. He presented the stack to me saying, "I thought you would like this". Of course, he was right. Through the years, I've used the paper in a variety of ways. My favorite is this super simple 2.5" x 3.5" notebook project with a staple binding. It is the perfect size to fit in a purse or pocket to record your brilliant thoughts and ideas. It's pretty useful, but it's so simple that I'm revving up this Instructable to include some beginning bookbinding terms and concepts. In case you're bitten by the bookbinding bug, you'll know about paper grain, covers, and signatures.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

Here's what you'll need to make to make 6 notebooks.


  • 1 sheet 12" x 12" patterned cardstock
  • 30 sheets 8 1/2" x 11" printer paper


  • Stapler
  • Ruler
  • Paper cutter, scissors, or craft knife
  • Creasing Tool (bone folder, old credit card, your fingers)
  • 2 rubber bands

Step 2: Find Paper Grain

Begin by finding the paper grain of your paper. Where possible, you should always fold along the paper grain. Why? Paper has a natural grain based on how it is made. Some paper is grained long (long side) others are grained short (short side). If it is folded with the grain, your creases will be smoother and it will lay flatter when folded. When I take the time to consider grain, my paper projects tend to look more professional.

To find the grain. . . Bend the paper (without creasing) from side to side and bounce the paper. Rotate the page and bounce again. The direction with the LEAST resistance is the paper grain. Mark the paper grain by penciling an arrow showing the direction of the paper grain. Use this notation to determine how you should orient your paper during the cutting process.

Step 3: Cut Paper

Cut 6 rectangles out of your 12” x 12” scrapbook paper. and 30 sheets from your recycled printer paper. This will give you 6 books. The sheets will be folded in half at the 2 1/2 inch mark.

Step 4: Fold and Stack

Fold each sheet of paper in half crosswise (one at a time). Use your creasing tool to smooth the crease. The easiest way to do this is to touch 2 corners together with one hand and make the crease with your other hand. By starting with 2 of the corners touching, you will be more successful at achieving even folds.

Stack each folded piece of printer paper inside each other aligning the edges. Since there are five sheets, this is called a 5 sheet signature with 10 pages.

Place the signature inside the folded cardstock aligning the sides. Since the cardstock precedes the book pages, it is called the cover. Since we are creating a book with a folded binding, the back is also considered the cover.

Step 5: Staple

Bind the pages together by stapling along the fold. Staple the top and bottom as shown in the photo.

Step 6: Add Belly Band

If desired, create a belly band to secure a stack of your notepad books together using the leftover strip from your scrapbook . Cut the paper to about 1/2 “ x 6”. Start by rubber banding your stack together. Grab your belly band strip and wrap it around your stack of books. Mark where the ends meet. Remove the belly band. Staple or glue where the end meets the mark. Trim.

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