SC Johnson Family Economics Blog
Friday, January 7, 2011

Fun Handmade Pocket Notebooks | Family Economics

By Cathe

Here’s a fun project to make your own pocket-sized notebooks using repurposed materials. You could use these for anything from sharing favorite recipes, keeping track of birthdays, passwords, daily journaling and funny things your kids say or even log your car’s service record.

Gather enough materials to make several notebooks to share with friends and family. These are really fun for kids to carry in their backpacks or to make themselves and exchange with friends. Tucking random pieces of paper and dividers into the notebooks can add extra fun and whimsy.

pocket notebooks      pocket notebooks

Use these as covers and optional subject divider pages, leave as is or trim to preferred notebook size:
• Playing cards
• Game cards
• Cereal boxes or other chipboard weight packaging
• Discarded paperback book covers
• Index cards or vintage recipe cards
• Postcards
• Old record album covers
• Greeting cards
• Flash cards
• Sports trading cards
• Heavy vintage printed pieces such as bingo cards

Use these as pages, trim to size of covers:
• Plain or colored office paper
• Vintage printed pieces
• Maps
• Graph paper
• Tracing paper
• Envelopes or envelope sections
• Photographs, new or old
• Coloring book or puzzle book pages
• Discarded book pages
• Sheet music
• Junk mail
• Magazine subscription cards

Use these items to embellish:
• Stickers and labels

For binding, use:
• Hole punch
• Office supply hinged binder rings
• Grommets
• String, twine, ribbon or yarn

binding      binding


Steps for assembling notebooks:
1. Hole punch covers and pages (small stacks at a time) in one corner.
2. Add grommets if preferred to cover holes.
3. Organize pages and dividers into a stack, place covers on top and bottom of stack.
4. Bind using hinged binder rings, or thread and knot holes with string, ribbon, twine or yarn.
5. For a more finished look, you can take your stacks of notebooks unbound to an office and print service center for custom spiral binding down the side for around $5 to $7 per notebook.

16 Comments so far

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On Tuesday, September 27, 2011, Nonafromrockwall wrote

I am always taking something for the little ones at Church this ia a great thing to add to my current bag of stuff.

On Saturday, February 5, 2011, Jessica from Chicago wrote

I'm such a collector of vintage textbooks, game pieces, pretty paper, I could probably fill a library with these. I like the idea Caroline had of putting one together to entertain her kids. Something I'd sure like to fiddle with.

On Tuesday, January 18, 2011, Caroline from UK wrote

Such a fab way to use up odds and ends of paper. I have 3 boys and have to carry wads of paper around to keep them occupied! This solves the problem. Why did I not think of it? lol I also have an ATC Sizzix cutter, which is perfect size too and takes the effort out of measuring and cutting. Thanks for sharing.

On Sunday, January 16, 2011, Heidi @CarolinaDreamz wrote

I used this exact format to teach my children how to creative write before they really knew how to read, by making stacks of cards with a range of word families. IF the word was not written on the card, I wrote it. They used to spend hours creating stories with our bag of "words" books.

On Friday, January 14, 2011, Bonnie from Wichita wrote

Cathe, I love these little books. I may have to make a boatload of them!

On Monday, January 10, 2011, Lara in Tejas wrote

thank you for adding more photos to your posts, it really helps and your stuff is always so pretty, I'll be checking your updates more often now that there are more photos! Love this one!

On Sunday, January 9, 2011, Kathleen wrote

Perfect! I've just been needing a little something handmade to send to several friends!

On Sunday, January 9, 2011, mary beth wrote

I so adore this is so simple, why didn't I think of it! I have so many scraps and hate throwing anything I don't have to! thanks for such a great idea!

On Saturday, January 8, 2011, jacquerose wrote

I live this idea. I am going to share this page on facebook and a couple other places. Thank you for all of the great ideas that you post.

On Saturday, January 8, 2011, Diane in the valley wrote

My 4 year old niece would love these. She carries a notebook with her everywhere she goes. Good use for all that extra scrap paper.

On Saturday, January 8, 2011, Kimberly Jones wrote

I love this idea! I can't wait to start making them. This will be a great project for my daughter and I to do together. You can never have too many notebooks! Thanks for sharing such great inspiration!

On Saturday, January 8, 2011, Resa wrote

What a fun idea! I always have scraps of nice paper sitting around, but I hadn't thought of using old postcards, game cards,etc. And I especially like the idea of getting booklets spiral bound (for gift giving). Thanks, Cathe!

On Saturday, January 8, 2011, Destiny from Colorado wrote

This is a really cute idea! Might have to try to make one this week! Thanks for sharing!

On Friday, January 7, 2011, Deb from PaperTurtle wrote

What a great idea for using up those random bits of paper I seem to stash away! Super cute project!

On Friday, January 7, 2011, stacy c wrote

this is waaay cute-my 9 year-old will absolutely love one of these to keep her lists and doodles and dreams in!

On Friday, January 7, 2011, Elise D. wrote

These ideas and SO crafty and green AT THE SAME time! What a perfect rainy day project - I LOVE IT! Thanks for this FABULOUS suggestion/instructions, etc.!


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