Make a notepad yourself; it is a lot easier than you think! This tutorial will show you how to make a notepad from copy paper and chipboard, but you can use anything you have lying around the house – scrap paper and a cereal box (less wasteful!).
- Padding compound (alternatives are most craft glues)
- Small paintbrush (for dispersing padding compound)
- Clamps or heavy books
- Paper cutter (scissors will work in a pinch)
- Optional: MS Word or Adobe Illustrator (if you want a design)
Tutorial: Making a Notepad
Design – Using Adobe Illustrator
Using Adobe Illustrator, I made an 8.5”x11” artboard and split it into four even sections using guidelines.
I made .25” trim marks where I would be making the cuts.
I created the design I wanted and replicated it so that it was in the same position on each quarter of the page.
Then, I converted the design to a PDF and printed a test page as a borderless image.
- To print a PDF without margins, go to File > Print.
- On the Print dialog box, select Page Sizing > “Actual Size”.
- In advanced, choose Print as Image with a high DPI selected.
- Back in the Print dialog box, choose Page Setup.
- In Page Setup > Paper Size, choose Custom and set your margins to zero.
If you are using MS Word or similar, just make sure you distribute the design evenly in each quarter of the page and use borderless printing if your printer has that capability.
Cutting – Using a Paper Cutter
1. Cut test paper length-wise.
Place your paper length-wise on a paper cutter or trimmer and ensure that it looks straight when you line your paper up with the gridlines. Your cut should be 4.25”. This is where the trim marks come in. If your trim marks line up with the edge of the cutter, make the cut. Initially, I lined my paper along the top edge of the cutter and realized that it did not align with the gridlines nor did it align with my trim marks, which was slightly frustrating (keep that in mind if purchasing this paper cutter).
A note to let you know that you are not alone: It is easy to get irritated at your paper cutter, but knowing your cutter and practicing on it helps. This was my first time to use this particular cutter, so I may or may not have wasted 6 sheets of paper between figuring out my printer settings and making poor cuts. Knowing where the blade actually slices is important and is usually at the very edge of the board.
2. Turn, and cut test page width-wise.
After making the cut, stack the halves on top of one another and see if they line up. If not, check your print settings again. If so, line them up and cut your paper width-wise. Your cut should be 5.5”. Again, use your trim marks to make sure everything is lining up correctly.
After cutting, you should stack the four sections on top of each other and see if everything lines up.
3. Print and cut the rest of the pages.
When your design and cuts line up sufficiently, print more pages and prepare to cut those. I printed ten pages so that I would have 40 more sheets (I ended up with 44 pages if you count the test pages). I stacked about five pages on top of each other to cut at once, which worked for me. However, you may be able to cut more or less than that at a time depending your materials and tools.
When finished cutting all of the sheets of paper, I stacked them up to see if they were the same size.
4. Cut the chipboard for the back of the notepad.
Then, cut the 8.5”x11” chipboard into four equal sections that will line up with your sheets of paper. This should be the same process that you used to cut the paper.
Combining – Creating the Notepad
1. Line up your notepad by placing the sheets on top of the chipboard.
Next, line up your sheets of paper on top of one of your chipboard sections (tap against a table to line up). Place the pad near the edge of a table or counter with something underneath that you don’t mind getting padding compound on (it wipes off hard surfaces with soap and water, but I wouldn’t use my wood table without using parchment or wax paper in between).
2. Prepare to glue together using clamps.
Very carefully place heavy books or clamps on top of your pad, getting as close to the top of the pad as possible to avoid the top of the pad getting wavy. Place a thick piece of cardboard or similar between the pad and the clamps to prevent creasing your papers. To avoid ruining your books, wrap a piece of paper around them before putting them on the pad.
3. Bind using padding compound.
Using padding compound, brush a thin layer onto the end and allow to dry for about ten minutes. Make sure you are brushing the side of the notepad that you intended.
When it dries, use 2-5 thin-to-medium layers and wait 10-15 minutes between each layer, making sure it is dry before painting on another layer. When the final coat is dry, rip off the top page of the notepad if it has padding compound on it. If you have any pieces of paper that noticeably stick out, use scissors or an Exacto blade to trim them.
4. Enjoy the notepad that you made yourself!
Finally, the notepad is now ready to use! I stamp the back of mine with a great stamp I custom ordered from here (I love it!). You could also glue a magnet to the back for the refrigerator.
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