Recycled Notepads

by Wendy Copley on June 17, 2008

I’ve been looking for some crafty, fun ways to be a little greener over the last few months and here is one of my recent projects.

I am super bad about creating and printing Excel documents at work. No matter how careful I am, I frequently insert a bunch of extra rows and columns beyond the area of the spreadsheet I’m actually using so when I print a document it comes out with a bunch of extra pages that only have grid lines on them. I’m working on fixing these ridiculous errors, but recently I printed several copies of a document where I’d royally screwed up and I ended up printing about 200 pages with no actual data on them. Ugh.

I brought the paper home with me and put most of it right onto Wyatt’s coloring shelf so he could use it to create some masterpieces before it got recycled. I reserved a smaller chunk for myself to make a few little notepads. (By the way, I’d like to point out that you don’t have to be an Excel loser to do recycle paper like this — I also bring home other documents that are printed single-sided when I’m tossing stuff from my files at work.)

Notepads made from recycled office paper

To make them, I started off by cutting the paper into uniform pieces. The one on the left was 4 x 4 inches. The notepad on the right was made from paper that had been cut into quarters, so it was 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches.

I then cut slightly larger pieces of a cardboard package insert to match the size of the printer paper. The package insert I used was from a pack of photo sleeves. I also save the inserts from page protectors, craft supplies, etc. You could even just use a piece of cardboard cut from an Amazon box, cereal box or anything else you can find in your recycling bin that is fairly stiff.

Once I’d cut the cardboard, I decorated it with pretty paper and punches. I kept the one with the boat on it pretty simple because it was for Wyatt and he doesn’t care. I put a little more effort into the the swirly one because it was for my purse.

Once I had everything decorated, I stacked the paper and the covers and put them together with my Bind-It-All machine. Most people won’t have one of those, of course, so other ways you could bind them would be to punch two or three holes through the stack and connect them with binder rings. You could also try threading a string or ribbon through, leaving a little slack and tying very tight knots in them. I bet twist ties would work too and that would be another great way to recycle something.

Notepad made from recycled office paper

This photo shows a fanned out version of one of the books looking sort of from the back. You can see the grids lines on the paper.

I keep this notebook in my purse and I use it for making quick grocery lists, mostly. I also whip it out in restaurants and give it to Wyatt to draw on.

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