Make your own recycled notebooks out of scrap A4 printer paper
I ran a workshop last weekend at the Maker Fair Paris to make these recycled notebooks. They are made using recycled printer paper that has only been printed on one side. The paper is folded with the blank side on the outside and bound together using a Japanese stab binding technique. You can download the instruction sheet (it’s only in French for the moment, sorry!) or follow the tutorial below.
What you need:
- A4 scrap paper, printed on one side only
- cardboard, plastic or paper for the cover
- an awl
- a big needle
Step 1: Prepare the pages
For this particular notebook, we are using sheets of scrap paper. The paper is printed on one side only, so it will be folded in half, with the printed side on the inside. We will bind the opposite side to the fold.The notebook will therefore be sized A5 portrait.
You need to prepare your pages, by folding and lining them up. For a small notebook, start with between 15 and 20 sheets. You can also add sheets of other paper or materials, such as envelopes, patterned paper, tabs or pocket.
Step 2: Decorate the cover
For the cover of your notebook, you need two pieces the same size as the other pages. You can use whatever you like (for example, plastic, card or paper) but ideally it should be thicker than the inside pages. You can decorate this cover however you like.
To make an even thicker cover, you can cover a piece of cardboard with the material of your choice. For example, a plastic or paper bag, patterned paper or fabric.
Step 3: Pierce the holes
Before making the holes, make sure that all of the pages are in the right order, with the fold on the outside. You need to make 5 holes with the awl. Pierce just a few pages at a time, and use a template to make sure all the holes line up.
Step 4: Sew the notebook together
To measure the string, wrap it around the part of the notebook you are going to bind 6 times. Start sewing in the middle, leaving about 10-15cm of string. Start by moving towards the bottom of the notebook, passing the string around all of the pages at the spine at each hole. Once you reach the bottom, pass the string around all the pages at the bottom of the notebook too, and then sew back towards the middle, passing by the previously unsewn sections. Sew the other half of the notebook in the same way.
Once you have finished, tie a small knot. To finish you can either thread the excess string inside the notebook and cut it off, leave a pretty bow on the front of the notebook, or leave a long string to close the notebook with.
Step 5: Your recycled Notebook is finished!
And that’s it. Go ahead and make as many different recycled notebooks as you like for your notes, sketches, lists or poetry. You can use the same technique for different sized notebooks, or try experimenting with different materials or colours to make interesting designs.
Here are some of the beautiful creations that were made at the Maker Fair Paris last weekend. A big thank you to everyone who took part, and to Oui are makers who gave me the chance to run the workshop on their stand. I love the recycled covers made with fused plastic bags, and recycled maps.