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Project

Recycled Notebooks

These lovely notebooks are a fun activity for the whole family and a great way to recycle paper, which can make a big difference for the environment.

Introduction

Tip: If you're creating recycled notebooks in bulk, it's faster to staple both sides -- creating 2 books for each 25 sheets of 8 1/2-by-11-inch paper -- and then get the paper cut in half at a copy store that has a heavy-duty paper cutter.

Materials

  • 25 sheets of scrap paper
  • Paper cutter
  • 2 pieces of 8 1/2-by-11-inch card stock
  • 2 binder clips
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Stapler
  • 12-by-12-inch decorative craft paper
  • Bone folder
  • Double-sided tape

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Count out 25 sheets of scrap paper. Organize all written text facing up and in same direction. Cut sheets of scrap paper in half, 5 sheets at a time, using a paper cutter.

  2. Step 2

    Cut 2 pieces of card stock in half with the paper cutter. Sandwich cut sheets between 2 pieces of card stock. Make sure all the paper is aligned, and then secure sheets to card stock with 2 binder clips on the left side of the notebook.

  3. Step 3

    Using a pencil and a ruler, draw a line from top to bottom, 1/8 inch in from the left edge as a guideline for the staples. Staple down on the guideline.Tip: If you're creating recycled notebooks in bulk, it's faster to staple both sides -- creating 2 books for each 25 sheets of 8 1/2-by-11-inch paper -- and then get the paper cut in half at a copy store that has a heavy-duty paper cutter.

  4. Step 4

    Cut decorative craft paper to 8 5/8 inches wide. Fold paper in half with bone folder. Press a stapled-together stack of 25 sheets of scrap paper and card stock against the middle of the decorative craft paper to create a book spine. Use double-sided tape to secure decorative paper to card stock.

  5. Step 5

    Trim edge of cover for neatness and fit: With ruler and bone folder, score about 1/2 inch in from spine; fold to create finished notebook shape. Excess decorative paper can be used as a matching bookmark.

Source
The Martha Stewart Show, January 2008

Reviews (61)

  • Sassksa 26 Dec, 2010

    I get so tired of the Martha put downs. Martha does not need anybody elses vehicle in which to promote her craft line or any thing else. She has her own show. Seems all of you nitpickers like to watch her show enough to glean these ideas from her so I find it odd you should be so critical of anything she says or does. Yes she makes alot of money with these shows and products but she has made my life richer as well, with the knowledge she puts out there.

  • zbelly_32 2 Oct, 2008

    I got the fancy stampler off of ebay for cheap too! Very helpful!!! I did the first half with a regular one, and it was not fun!

  • zbelly_32 2 Oct, 2008

    I always take all the paper out of our paper basket at work by the copy machine. I usually take it for my kids to color on. Once I seen this on TV, I decided to make a bunch up. I made them for my monthy Stampin' Up group. I decorated the fronts with stamps, glitter, and die cuts. They all loved them.

  • sarahz 15 Sep, 2008

    I have made quite a few of these for family and friends- they are great for school kids also to take notes.
    I took this project one step farther also by making recycled paper note pads for at work. I have a bin for recycled paper by the copy machine, once full I sort so all is facing the right way, then I cut all the paper into 1/4s, then rubberband larger batches together making sure to stamp out to get all pages even along one edge, then stand them up on the uneven edge adn spread white glue along the top. Once dry I remove the rubberbands and seperate into smaller note pads. We haven't had to buy any note pads from the store for quite awhile around here!

  • GiaBella 1 Sep, 2008

    As a 3rd grade teacher, my students are always in need of extra notebooks. I love this idea. Once I master it, I don't think it should be hard for the kids. I just wish I had that awesome stapler!!!

  • Melodie-Belle 1 Jun, 2008

    I came back to watch this a third time, not that I have found and purchased the funky stapler!! These are beautiful and will make wonderful gifts!!

  • Californiamom 27 May, 2008

    My 11 year old made this book for a school project, she was to make her own "book" with a story. She did use scrapbook paper, not recycled paper. It turned out great and she got an A!

  • marksmom 27 Apr, 2008

    I think it just means to make sure the printed side of all papers are facing the same direction. Have all printed sides facing up then flip them over in the book so the blank side is facing you when you open your book. I do like the idea of someone earlier saying fold the papers in half instead of cutting them. Then you will never see the printed side.

  • deebeee 27 Apr, 2008

    I'm a graphic designer and I don't understand a basic element here re the scrap paper (which is the inside of this notebook):. "Organize all written text facing up and in same direction." I admire the rest of you for understanding. Are we supposed to use the scrap paper with the text on the opposite side within the notebook? Help.

  • RazzleDazzle 22 Apr, 2008

    I loved this idea and made 30 for my Red Hat Group for their Christmas Gift 2008.
    I had fun making them and they are really cute. I know the "girl" are going to
    really enjoy them and especially because I made them. They are a great group
    of gals and appreciate the craft and time that goes into what ever is made.

  • marksmom 22 Apr, 2008

    The magnets we used for the refrigerator notepads came from information fairs or in the mail to advertise businesses. We didn't need to use any extra materials for decorating because barely a quarter inch of the file folder is seen from the front. All materials used were throw-aways.

  • marksmom 22 Apr, 2008

    I did a simillar, quicker project with my cub scouts. Instead of cardstock we used old file folders, cut the same width as the paper but a little longer. We cut the printer paper in half, lenghtwise, stacked the paper, added the old folder to the back of the stack, wrapped the excess over the top and put in two staples, added a magnet to the back to hang on the refrigerator for grocery lists.

  • wildacresbees 21 Apr, 2008

    For those of you who have a Sam's Club nearby, I just saw one there yesterday. Staples has their own version in different sizes.

  • gammy5x 21 Apr, 2008

    Let's go greener. We could use pretty recycled greeting cards for the covers and backs. Just cut the paper according to the size of the card.

  • CraftTestDummies 20 Apr, 2008

    I wouldn't want to see the writing on the back sides... ?? Why couldn't you fold your recycled piece of paper in half, printed side in.... then proceed as described. Yes, your pages would have folds for edges, but your project would be classier!-Jenny at CraftTestDummies.

  • hugmehugs 19 Apr, 2008

    Watch the video and you won't need 'step by step' photos.

  • arleneharris35 19 Apr, 2008

    The video along with the written instructions are a great combination

  • debjoal 19 Apr, 2008

    I just noticed that there is a video to watch. It was very helpful for this "Show Me" gal!

  • debjoal 19 Apr, 2008

    Yeah for step by step photos. I'm a "Show Me" gal, not "Tell Me"!

  • flamingopink 19 Apr, 2008

    I totally agree with RavenX! Diagrams or photos of the step by step process would be ever so helpful.

  • RavenX 19 Apr, 2008

    Oops...I made a grammatical error in my last post "all OF... " Martha would slap my hands with a ruler! *hee hee*

    Also, I've made these notebooks before using leftover fabric scraps as the covers and they turned out beautifully. I used a silk linen woven fabric and stiffened the fabric by gluing it on to a thin tracing-type paper.

    xxx

  • RavenX 19 Apr, 2008

    I'd love it if step by step photos were included in all or your How-Tos...

    xxx

  • lllangel 19 Apr, 2008

    This is great for the residents of the assisted living home where I am the activities director. I can use the scrap paper from the copier and the printer and recycle them! Linda

  • schoolmarm 18 Apr, 2008

    I made books like these for my PreK and K students. I used old dicarded wall-paper sample books for the covers. Samples were used for making games, shapes and decorations for bulletin boards. Many teachers have been recycling materials for years.

  • MysticPaige 18 Apr, 2008

    I Love this idea as well. The using of old calendars is perfect because I tend to save those for other art projects. I would also like to know where you can buy such a stapler or I will end up at Kinko's using their heavy duty stapler and I'd love to have one at home.

  • Czarina 18 Apr, 2008

    I make notebooks using old calendars for the covers -- the kind with heavy paper, and boxes to write stuff in, they hang on the wall.

    My technique's a little different (I recycle old gift ribbons to lace pages together), but I wanted to throw in the "old calendar" idea.

  • zzoo 18 Apr, 2008

    scoring each PAGE in the notebook---measuring, of course, from the side opposite the spine---would add a nice touch. the pages would flip so much more easily, therefore not 'flipping back' on you when you move to the next page.

  • redguide 18 Apr, 2008

    Ok this is really frustrating! What is this wonderful stapler that you are all talking about? Please let me in on this product too. Cant find a hint of it anywhere....Thx RG

  • oakmom11 18 Apr, 2008

    My mom use to do something similar to this by using Kleenex boxes (they have such pretty and interesting designs), cut to the size you wish, and inserting plain, or notebook paper inside. She would punch holes at the side or top and tie together with a cord, ribbon, yarn, what ever was handy and then use them as mini notebooks for grocery list, etc.

  • ilikewinter 18 Apr, 2008

    I used to make these, but out of different materials. I used corrugated cardboard that came in packages at work and had everyone save their paper (with printing only on one side, of course). I then made notebooks legal-pad style, with two holes punched in the top and hemp cord tied through it to bind it. Very earthy looking and worked great.

  • wygirl 18 Apr, 2008

    Oops about the triple post. I see nothing here I would have to buy. I save all the cardboard inserts from packaging, and you can also use cereal and other food boxes. You can use that in place of the card stock. I would not want to use my card stock for the binding of a book anyway if you are just going to cover it up with other paper. I collect paper so having decorative paper on hand is no problem. You also do not need to make it the size she mentions. You can make it whatever size you want. I

  • wygirl 18 Apr, 2008

    Oh. Also when printing out short emails or directions somewhere or just a selection when you don't want a whole page you have a lot of paper left over.

  • wygirl 18 Apr, 2008

    Oh. Also when printing out short emails or directions somewhere or just a selection when you don't want a whole page you have a lot of paper left over.

  • wygirl 18 Apr, 2008

    Oh. Also when printing out short emails or directions somewhere or just a selection when you don't want a whole page you have a lot of paper left over.

  • wygirl 18 Apr, 2008

    Well, I print a lot of stuff for craft projects, ATCs, etc and just use a fraction of the paper. I turn it around and use the other half but there will still be the section in the middle. I could reuse that. So that would be green.

    I do see everyone's point though. I can't imagine ever seeing anything used on Martha. They always use top quality stuff even for the little kids crafts.

    I am going to make some of these. I'll start saving my paper from printouts.

  • WVJane 18 Apr, 2008

    In the video, it shows her and her guest recycling paper that looked like office documents. It's a great idea, but I will probably not be so green and use blank sheets for the inside pages so it can be used as a journal.

  • Learner10 18 Apr, 2008

    This stapler is wonderful for those of us who have arthritic hands!

  • artlikebread 18 Apr, 2008

    Is it just me, or ??? I don't see the "green" element here. What do they mean by "scrap paper"? The paper she's using doesn't look re-used. Does it have writing on one side?

  • DSunnylau 18 Apr, 2008

    Also, I appreciate her letting us know about that fabulous stapler. I'm always looking for good tools to make the job easier. Again, Thank YOU!

  • DSunnylau 18 Apr, 2008

    Ij love this idea.n n n n At least you were using mostly recycled items and I could see how this could be done with left over fabric on the outside instead of paper.n n n n I just really appreciate Marth Stewart and her ideas.n n n n I'm having a hard time understanding why some people are always so critical.n n n n Please try to see the good in things and ideas.

  • nicoletran 30 Jan, 2008

    I loved this idea. I teach 3rd grade and thought it would be a great Valentine's gift for my student's parents. So I placed a recycling basket in the copy room and used cereal boxes to cut out for the cover. They decorated the cover with leftover scrapbook papers. The kids really liked the idea that we didn't have to buy anything to make their gift, Also, it provided me a teachable moment to explain to my class about the importance of recycling.

    Thank you Martha and your team

  • emptynester 25 Jan, 2008

    I love this idea. We have lots of scrap paper at my office. For the cover, instead of buying more paper I used left over wallpaper however. My books have a leather look and feel to the cover.

  • CurlyKel 19 Jan, 2008

    This is a wonderful idea and YES I LOVE THAT STAPLER, TOO! I will be making a nice set of these as a gift for my sister, a future librarian who loves writing and journaling.

  • coolmartha 19 Jan, 2008

    I watched this and loved the idea as our office receives so much unwanted faxes and incoming mail that would otherwise be thrown out, if not recycled. I have set up a box especially for scrap paper. While I would love to use Martha Stewart decorative craft paper, I think I have a lot in stock to make use of. If Martha Stewart and Mr Clinton are working together to make this a better world, I support both of them. Recycling and caring for the earth cannot be a political issue. Go Martha!

  • coolmartha 19 Jan, 2008

    I watched this and loved the idea as our office receives so much unwanted faxes and incoming mail that would otherwise be thrown out, if not recycled. I have set up a box especially for scrap paper. While I would love to use Martha Stewart decorative craft paper, I think I have a lot in stock to make use of. If Martha Stewart and Mr Clinton are working together to make this a better world, I support both of them. Recycling and caring for the earth cannot be a political issue. Go Martha!

  • dinaworks 9 Jan, 2008

    I ran right out and bought the PaperPro Prodigy stapler (and warned my local office supply store to expect a run on them!). Then I got busy making these! I see many teacher gifts, notepads near every phone and a project to teach fellow crafters in my future! I love the comment about binding kids' artwork this way, too. I will totally be CASE'ing that (Copy And Share Everything)!

  • kimalexis 9 Jan, 2008

    This is a wonderful idea to use paper that would otherwise be discarded and not necessarily recycled. I would also like to point out to flannelsock that Martha Stewart was a only trying to do something good in advertising Mr. Clintons website. I also think the use of 25 sheets pof recycled paper outweighs the 1 sheet of her craft paper. It's a great idea an seems to be an easy craft!

  • flannelsock 9 Jan, 2008

    Yes, using materials you already have around the house is a good example of an environmentally friendly craft idea, but that is not how the craft was presented on the show. I find it very disturbing that Martha would use Mr. Clinton's phenomenal organization as a vehicle for promoting her crafting line.

  • runner1 9 Jan, 2008

    I think that using the same idea but making them the 8 /1/2 by 11 laid out in portrait format would make awesome drawing pads. I have 5 grandchildren that draw all of the time. I would have them make a drawing for the front and back cover along with some other ways for them to personalize it. Finally I would laminate the front and back cover. runner1

  • runner1 9 Jan, 2008

    I think that using the same idea but making them the 8 /1/2 by 11 laid out in portrait format would make awesome drawing pads. I have 5 grandchildren that draw all of the time. I would have them make a drawing for the front and back cover along with some other ways for them to personalize it. Finally I would laminate the front and back cover. runner1

  • runner1 9 Jan, 2008

    I think that using the same idea but making them the 8 /1/2 by 11 laid out in portrait format would make awesome drawing pads. I have 5 grandchildren that draw all of the time. I would have them make a drawing for the front and back cover along with some other ways for them to personalize it. Finally I would laminate the front and back cover. runner1

  • jwildedesigns 9 Jan, 2008

    Part of "being green" and taking care of our earth is transitioning ourselves into the mentality of reusing what we already own. This project encourages that. Many members of Martha's audience likely already have these materials around the house. Also, many recycled materials are not 100% recycled, and in processing post-consumer waste, it can also take a greater toll on the environment. Recycled paper will not keep our earth green, but our actions just might. Kids paintings would be adorable!

  • Avidziune 8 Jan, 2008

    I have so many kids paintings and drawing...I will make the books out of them ....but I will not recycle them..I will keep them for later....
    it's a cute idea...

  • Avidziune 8 Jan, 2008

    I have so many kids paintings and drawing...I will make the books out of them ....but I will not recycle them..I will keep them for later....
    it's a cute idea...

  • flannelsock 8 Jan, 2008

    Please don't fool yourself into believing these journals are good for the environment. In purchasing the additional materials needed to construct them, the journals consume and use way more materials than they recycle. A better idea would have been to construct journals using ALL recycled materials instead of using the opportunity to advertise the Martha Stewart craft line under the pretense of helping the environment. I doubt Mr. Clinton would approve.

  • dharmagal 8 Jan, 2008

    Dear Winter Wonder - It is called an Exacto Knife. The Martha Stewart Line at Michaels Crafts has one. It is great! The knife holds the blade firmly and does not slip. I own one. You will like it.

  • dlmartin 8 Jan, 2008

    Visual learning is best. Photos please!

  • lmmmbcom 8 Jan, 2008

    I agree with skor14me, it would be nice to have a picture of the craft.
    Leeenda

  • WinterWonder 8 Jan, 2008

    What is the name of the tool used on the show to trim the edge of the cover? Rather than scissors it was a neat little tool with a sharp blade on the end resembling a razor, that when run down the edge of the book, trimmed the excess paper off.

  • skor14me 8 Jan, 2008

    Why don't you add pictures to your craft segments like HGTV does? I sometimes have to listen to your show on the radio while I'm driving. Would help me to visualize what it's suppose to look like when it's finished. I don't always have time to tape show and watch it but I don't miss it even if I just listen to it.

  • slipping 8 Jan, 2008

    I think this would be a great donation to local schools. My child's class journals everyday. These are precious records to me, but I know they are costly for the school. These could be made and donated for the chidren to decorate....promoting literacy at the same time!