DIY Notepads

DIY notepads-01.jpg

I love notepads. Probably because I love making lists. And checking things off those lists. And you know what? They are super duper easy to make yourself. Just get some of that goopy white glue we used in elementary school, so heavy duty clips or elastic bands, some paper and you're good to get crafting!

So, we've got a couple of options here first. Paper. If you've got a pile of scrap paper lying around, making a notepad out of it is a great way to use it up. Just trim them all to roughly the same size. I do also have a couple of cute printable lists in the shop, one of which I'll be using in the photos!


  • Let's get our paper and make sure they sheets are trimmed to the same size. Any size you'd like, there are no set sizes for DIY notepads ;) I'm using my Get Shit Done list as our example and it's a nicely sized 3.5 x 8.5" sheet. I've trimmed down 25 sheets here for our sample. 25-50 is a good size for a notepad. You'll also need to trim down a piece of either heavier card stock or chipboard for the backing of your pad. Once you have all your sheets and backing, shuffle them together so that you have a smooth edge on top.
  • I usually place a piece of scrap paper or some scrap chipboard (as seen below) on top of the first page to protect it from any glue that might spill over during the padding. If you're doing multiple pads together you can place an extra sheet in between the pads to protect the first page of each pad (just tear it off once they are all separated) Then, once everything is all straight and in place, I use 2 bull clips to hold everything in place (or anything sturdy that will hold the sheets in place - if I have a really large stack of pads I'll use those thick elastics that come with asparagus bundles and then place some heavy books on top of the pile) Now it's time to glue! 
  • Depending on how many pads you are making, you only need a dollop of glue, about the size of a nickel-quarter. Here I'm only doing 1 pad so I've used the nickel size (and it was a bit too much). Then grab your paintbrush and dab a small amount onto the brush.
  • We'll start with a thin layer of glue across the top of your pad, brushing from side to side. Don't glob it on, we only need a thin layer to start. Really get into the corners to ensure you cover the entire top of the pad.
  • Once you have the area covered dip your brush in a bit more glue (if you need it) and put another layer on but this time brush up and down. This will ensure the glue is getting into all the tiny nook and crannies of the paper. Again a thin layer - this is our foundation!
  • Now that you have your foundation you can add more glue, brushing it in all directions. This final layer doesn't need to be as thin as the previous 2, but if it's dripping down a lot you've probably gone too far.
  • You can always use a finger or other paintbrush to clean up the sides and edges if there are drippy bits.
  • Now go get yourself a snack, watch some Netflix, scroll your Instagram... you'll be waiting a couple of hours for this guy to dry. For 1-2 small pads - 2 hours should be good, if it feels smooth and dry it's ready. If you've done more, especially a stack of them, you'll have to wait about 5 hours. I usually do a stack in the evening to be ready the next morning. With larger stacks, you might want to do a second coat as well. If the padding feels thin and rough it's a good idea to do a second coat.
  • If you've just done 1 pad, like I've done here you can pull off the clips and carefully pull back the protection piece on top of your pad. It might stick slightly to the first page of your pad so don't just pull it away. Sometimes that first page can get a bit snagged, but with a little practice, you'll become a pro at the clean tear off! If you have some bits stuck behind on your pad (as is the case in the image below) you can some scissors or an Exacto knife to scrape them away, for a super clean edge. Just be careful and don't cut yourself ;)
  • If you've done 2 or more pads you'll need to tear them apart carefully as well. I like to use a regular old knife, or even a thin metal ruler if you've got one. Carefully grab each pad and pull it up from the pile using the knife/ruler to cut it away from the stack. 

Voila, you've got a notepad! No fancy equipment needed, just a wee bit of patience and some time. This technique can also be used to make perfect bound books - but that'll be for another tutorial at another time. 

Happy note-taking :)

xo, michelle

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