Monday, September 28, 2009

Make a Recycled Notebook...(from My Pantry to Yours!)

I recently saw this amazingly simple, yet fun and funky way to make recycled notebooks, and my girls and their friends have had so much fun putting them together. I think we may have cut up half my pantry in the process! They are easy to do, and a fun project for mom and kids to work on together.

To start, you need:

*empty boxes--cereal, Jello, pasta, taco shells, fruit snacks, etc. Any size will work.


*paper cutter (not completely necessary, but handy nonetheless)

*hole punch

*ribbon, jute, string, yarn, etc.


*plain, lined, or recycled paper - good old copy paper works great.

1. Start by cutting up your boxes at the edges and corners to leave a flat front and back to work with. These will become the front and back of your notebook. Little hands are good for this!

2. Next, use the paper cutter to straighten the edges, and to help make the front and back uniform in size to each other.

3. Measure the front and back panels, then with the paper cutter, cut several sheets of paper just slightly smaller than the panel measurements. Save the larger scraps of paper, as they are perfect for using in a "jello" box sized book!

4. After getting your paper all cut to size, use the ruler as a straight edge for the notebook front panel. Place the ruler parallel to the left side edge about 3/4" in, and create a crease on the front panel. Fold the edge completely over, and crease again as it is folded down. This will help your notebook to open easily.

5. Now, just eyeball it and punch a few holes between the crease and the edge. (I started measuring meticulously, but it soon became too painstaking, so I gave it up and just guesstimated.) Start at what looks like the center, then make holes near each end, then a few more in between. It doesn't have to be perfect! Use these holes as guides to punch through the back panel and the paper sheets in between.

6. Now you just need to thread the ribbon, string, yarn, or whatever you want to use through the holes to bind your book together. You can be creative with this part, and just do it however it strikes your fancy! (The taco shell box book turned out to be my favorite!)

That's it! My kids love to draw and doodle--especially in church or while riding in the car, and we never seem to have enough paper on hand, or a hard surface to write on. These can be made small enough to fit inside church bags, scripture cases, school packs, or large enough to hold some serious artistic doodling for riding in the car! I'd love to see what you all come up with!


  1. What a fun project Shelli! My kids would just LOVE to do this. They would love the fact that they could go in and choose their favorite food item! So, so clever.

  2. Very clever! My girls are going to love doing this.

  3. That is awesome Shelli! You always have such cute ideas~ I am totally going to do it!

  4. Cool! One of my sons was working on making his own book yesterday. With as many cereal boxes as we go through, we could make quite a few of these!

  5. We do this all the time only I actually bind them with coil binding. I use heavy card stock and give sketching pencils with them as gifts.


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