Make Your Own Pad Of Paper!

Today I’m going to share a super simple way to make your own pad of paper instead of buying one from a store. Practical and Functional, right?

Well, yes, unless of course you do this project the way I did it…the practicality of it all kind of went out the window! *sigh*

My very first “real” post on this blog was about our shopping list system and how, with it, we never run out of butter or other grocery staples. Well, we didn’t run out of butter, but the other day I used the last sheet of paper in the pad that we normally use for our shopping list! And instead of buying a new one I decided I would try my hand at making one.

Make Your Own Pad Of Paper

It turned out great! Totally functional, cuz now we have paper to write our shopping list on again. But not very practical because instead of just walking to the Walgreens on the corner and buying a new pad, I designed a template, printed it out, cut it up, bonded it together, and stuck a magnet on the back. Fun? Yes. Crafty? Yes! Practical? Not so much 🙂

But if you use some scrap paper you have laying around, this project could definitely be practical, functional, and “green”!

Here’s what you need:

  • paper (any size or type)
  • rubber cement (or padding compound)
  • binder clips
  • cardboard or card stock for the backing (optional)
  • scrap paper (to protect the first and last sheets from getting icky, also optional)

Make Your Own Pad Of Paper

One very cool thing about this is you can make a pad of paper in any size. If you want a giant sketch pad, just use straight up printer paper. If you want a smaller pad for note taking, cut the printer paper into quarters first. For my pad I designed a little shopping list template that uses a third of a sheet of printer paper. If you like the template you can download it here:

Make Your Own Pad Of Paper: Shopping List Template

Start by making sure all of your pieces of paper are the same size. If you’re using something as a backing, cut it down to the same size as well. Just FYI, cereal boxes work great as a backing! You can use some scrap paper to protect your first and last sheets from any rubber cement overflow (which I highly recommend). Just cut two pieces of scrap paper to size as well.

Gather up your paper and cardboard in the order you want your pad. Put a sheet of scrap paper on top of the first sheet and under the very last sheet. Tap the whole thing against a table or something to make all the sheets line up on one side. (I lined mine up at the top, but you can glue whichever edge you want.)

Clip the pad together with a binder clip on either side near the top. The binder clips will hold it all tight together, so you need it near the top of your paper, but not right at the top so that you don’t get rubber cement on them!

Make Your Own Pad Of Paper

Make Your Own Pad Of Paper

Brush a thin layer of rubber cement right over the tops of all of your paper. Don’t worry if it runs over the edges on the front or back of your pad; that’s why you put scrap paper there.

Let it dry for about ten minutes. Technically you can be done at this point if you want. But one of my pet peeves is a pad of paper that breaks in half because the binding wasn’t strong enough.

So I did about five separate layers of rubber cement. I did a very thin first layer just to get it all coated, and after that the next three or four layers were a little thicker to give the “spine” some bulk. Make sure to let the previous layer dry before adding another layer (usually about 10 minutes).

If your pad of paper is wide and the center isn’t as tightly held together as the sides are, just rotate your binder clips while you let the cement dry.

Make Your Own Pad Of Paper


UPDATE: My mom is so smart! (I knew I got it from somewhere… :-p) Her pad of paper was too wide for the binder clips to hold it all together even when they were rotated like the picture above. So look what she improvised to hold it together and keep her paper from ballooning out in the middle! You just need two pencils and two rubber bands.

Make Your Own Pad Of Paper: Mom's clamp idea


Once you’re happy with the number of layers you’ve done and your cement is dry, you’re done. Just peel off the scrap paper at the front and back of your pad so that your first and last pages have nice crisp edges and that’s it!

Make Your Own Pad Of Paper

I added a few little embellishments at this point.

First, I noticed that the rubber cement, even though it was totally dry, was still a little sticky. So I took a scrap of paper, cut it to size, glued it onto the back of the pad near the top, and wrapped it around over the cement to create a little “cover”. It kind of gives it a finished look, plus you don’t have to feel the sticky cement anymore!

Make Your Own Pad Of Paper: Back Cover

It’s a little hard to see in the picture above, but that scrap of white paper across the back folds over the top as well and covers the top edge of all the sheets.

I also stuck a magnet onto the back of the pad so that we could hang it on our fridge. I used the same magnet/strip/tape stuff I used for the dried herb storage tins and it works great!

Make Your Own Pad Of Paper

There are tons of cool things you can do with this idea. Make a shopping list like I did. Make a little sketchpad for carrying around in your purse. Make a giant square notepad and leave it near the house phone for taking messages. Make little notepads as a gift for teachers. Tons of ideas!

Have you ever made your own pad of paper before? Now that I have this whole bottle of rubber cement, what else can I use it for?



Side Note: Apparently I can’t write a short, simple post to save my life! I was so excited about this project because I thought “It’s super simple, just a few steps. I can write a quick little post for Friday and get to bed early on Thursday night.” Apparently not! I blame the photos, there sure are a lot of them 🙂

What do you guys think? Do you like the level of detail in these project posts? Or do you just want the basics outlined for you with a few pictures? Personally I like adding the detail in, just in case some of you want to read it. And I always try to bold the important parts for you if you’d rather just skim, but I definitely understand being slightly put off by a super long post. Thoughts?




I link up at these awesome parties!

Jessi Wohlwend

I believe that anyone can do crafts and DIY projects, regardless of skill or experience. I love sharing simple craft ideas, step by step DIY project tutorials, cleaning hacks, and other tips and tricks all with one goal in mind: giving you the tools you need to “do it yourself”, complete fun projects, and make awesome things!

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Reader Interactions

  1. [email protected] Five4FiveMeals says

    10 years ago

    What a great idea? I ALWAYS need a notepad too.
    Thanks for linking up Friday at

  2. Mami Made It says

    10 years ago

    Great tutorial! It is perfect the way it is. The more details the better.

  3. Pam says

    10 years ago

    I have had my kids make little pads for teacher gifts back when they were little (have them draw a little picture and write the teacher’s name, then copy it a bunch of times.) But I never thought to use rubber cement! (I took them up to Kinko’s and paid to have them padded!) Great tutorial, and I love all of the pictures! Found you at the Mom’s Mingle bloghop. I’m a new follower. Loving your blog.

    • Jessi says

      10 years ago

      I hear it’s pretty inexpensive to just have Kinko’s do the padding part as well. We just don’t live near one so I figured I’d DIY 🙂

  4. Aimee @ ShugarySweets says

    10 years ago

    What a great idea. I always have printer paper in a pile of scrap for the kids, paper that may only have one line printed on it…would work perfect for this! Thanks.

  5. Jen says

    10 years ago

    This is awesome! (And there’s no such thing as too many photos!). My shopping list is almost gone. I’m so going to try this. Thanks for the printable, too!

  6. kalynbrooke says

    10 years ago


    I like to buy my shopping list pads at Current when they are on clearance – they have really pretty designs. Otherwise, I just pick them up at the dollar store. To me, time is money to a certain point, but if I wanted to personalize it or use it as a gift idea, this is a great tutorial.

    BTW – I like the details. 🙂

  7. Katie says

    10 years ago

    SHUT THE FRONT DOOR. That is awesome! I love pads of paper and have a million billion sheets of scrap paper. Genius!

    I need lots of detail in order to actually *do* the projects, but I admit I often just skim through when I first read them. If that makes sense? I face the same quandry with the cooking posts–I wouldn’t need this much detail, but a beginner would probably need more, and I want recipes to be accessible to people who think they can’t cook. And pictures definitely help! But they make it hard to print out and take around. So. That wasn’t helpful at all.

    • Jessi says

      10 years ago

      Haha! That’s sort of how I feel about the level of detail. Like, I love a lot of the craft blogs out there, but a lot of those women go “And then you just spray paint the table and you’re done!” And I’m like “WTH? No.” Cuz I know nothing about spray painting.

      So I figure if the point of my blog is to put practical and functional projects out there that anyone can do (if I can do it with my little crafty skills and my very little time, anyone can!) I figure it’s best to have the details in there just in case. And if some super crafty person stumbles across my blog, well I’ve highlighted the major points in bold and they can skip the detail if they want 🙂

      I’m the same way about recipes, I want tons of pictures and details cuz otherwise I’m pretty sure I’ll screw it up! I love that about your blog.

      • Katie says

        10 years ago

        Yes! But sometimes it’s hard to know what other people don’t know, if you know it so well it seems obvious. If that makes sense.

        Plus, detailed instructions help me go either, “Ok, broken down like that, that’s something I could do,” or “Oh, doing this requires a specific tool I don’t have or skill I haven’t mastered, so it’s probably not something that’s practical for me to try.”

        I’m thinking I need to figure out a way to post a recipe card or something that’s easier to read when you don’t need all the picture detail. But bolding the important steps is a good idea, actually.

        • Jessi says

          10 years ago

          Yeah, actually I’m working on something like that right now for my recipes (which is why I haven’t posted one for so long…I keep thinking, just a little longer and I’ll have this ready!) Like, I want some sort of “printable” version of the recipe that consolidates it down to a page if you need it printed, rather than printing my whole post with a bajillion pictures and directions. Once I get it figured out I’ll show you too if you want 🙂

  8. Di says

    10 years ago

    Hi Jessi,
    Oh I love it! Once you “invest” money in the rubber cement you could probably make a huge ton of these! And love the teachers gift idea. You are good, girl! I would like to invite you to share this project and *all* of your other wonderful projects on our Mommy Blog Recipes/DIY Exchange boards.
    The info is on my last blog post, attached:)
    Thanks so much:) and btw, I think you gave just the right amount of instruction–very helpful! Di

  9. Priscilla says

    10 years ago

    This is a great project! And I love the extra details in a post! Nice work!

  10. Mark says

    6 years ago

    What a great solution to those of us whom are slightly over-detailed. I like my note pads “my way.” Not just boilerplate lines that I don’t use.

    Yes, it’s a little old school. Smart phones allow you to write notes and draw diagrams quickly. But I always carry an old leather pocket planner anyway. It has a pouch for business receipts–so why not put a note pad where it was meant to be.

    I agree, it’s frustrating for me trying to write short, detailed posts. Living in a world where the majority wants it all in 144 characters–more so less–drives me nuts. Way too often the reply is “Wow, Long Text,”

    It’s probably just me. I could of made this reply simple; responding: “Indeed,” “Ahh.” or “Well Done.

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