diy project: recycled scrap paper notebooks

we blessing sisters have loved notepads, notebooks and all things paper since our first wide-rule pads we bought in gradeschool. we have trouble letting go of even a single sheet of paper, lest we find a use to reuse or recycle it in the craft room! this time, we repurposed our old faxes and paper scraps into notebooks and made them useful again. we pulled out old wrapping paper, books we didn’t mind ripping pages out of, and other odds and ends to make the covers pretty. this is quick and easy to do with what you already have at home, and you end up with a stack of handy, useful pads that might even give you a tinge of back-to-school nostalgia. –bbbcraft sisters

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!


– 8 ½” x 11” scrap paper (from faxes, printing mishaps and mail)
– binder clips
– scraps of cardboard cut into 1” inch strips OR 2 wood paint mixers cut to size
-elmers glue, pvc or a glue gun
– paint brush
– decorative scrap paper
– masking tape and/or decorative tape


1. fold 40 sheets of 8 ½” x 11” scrap paper in half. be sure to be very precise, and use a bone folder if you have one (but a butter knife works just as well!)

2. stack the pages. line up the folded sides together and the cut edges together by tapping them down into place on an even surface.

3. keeping the pages evenly lined up, place a strip of cardboard (or paint mixers) slightly below the top edge of the flush, cut edges. attach the binder clips as shown. if the cardboard is flush with the paper, you will get glue on the cardboard, which makes things messier!

4. squeeze lines of glue along the flush, cut edges and use the paint brush to even it along the top edge. we used elmer’s for this, but experimented with elmers, pvc and a glue gun—any will work, though the glue gun glue is on the thicker side. we found it helped to use a third binder clip in the center of the book to keep the pages together.

5. let dry and repeat 4 or 5 times, until you have a coat of clear glue that holds the edges together. once the glue has dried for the last time, remove the binder clips-the pages should be secured together.

6. attach your decorative paper by gluing it across the top of the notebook.

7. secure with binder clips to hold in place and let dry.

8. attach the tape carefully on top to cover all the glue and uneven edges. you can cover up all of your little mishaps!

9. decorate with stickers, labels or anything else!

  1. Erin says:

    I love this project!! Im a student so not only do I have lots of left over paper, I have NO extra money, so these have made great gifts for family and friends!! I did notice though that the directions say to glue the cut edges together; Im sure everyone has realized that its a typo and its the folded edges that get glued together, but I just wanted to clarify! Thanx for the webpage!!! :)

  2. Katie says:

    I love this idea! I’ve already made three notebooks for my co-workers using their own scrap paper :D It’s such a fabulous way to upcycle old paper, and make a unique notebook with personality in each one. But Erin, the comment above me, did make a good point about the cut edges being a typo and the folded edges being glued together instead.

  3. Ashleigh says:

    Someone above mentioned you glue the cut edges together so that way you have clean pages when you flip through the book. Then you can write on the front and back side of each page. If you glue the folded edges together then half of the book would be your printed recycled stuff and you’d only be able to write on the front side.

    Love this idea! Going to try and use it to make class journals for my 7th grade classes. Would save a lot of money collecting unused paper around the school (especially copy room).

    1. Frista says:

      I love this idea and i will make many of them and i think we all know there is a typo. I hope other people can make it to and i was wondering what could i use other that binder clips cause i don’t have any of them?

  4. sandra says:

    thank you for the great idia

  5. Vanessa says:

    Hi will it work the same if I use Gorilla Glue? And clear packing tape? Thanks

    1. Grace Bonney says:


      No, sadly it won’t. These materials are recommended because they give the best result. Gorilla glue expands, so don’t use that for this :(


      1. Vanessa says:

        Okay , I’m at work and trying to work with what I have :/ how about scotch clear glue? and also what about the clear packing tape? If these absolutely do not work then I will wait and try to find them at home or dollar store. Thank You And thanks for the awesome idea and instructions.

        1. Grace Bonney says:


          That should work better :)


          1. Vanessa says:

            Thank You!!!


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