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. De says

    4 years ago

    The pencil trick really is brilliant! Thank you for that, and thank your Mom!

  2. Amy Watson says

    5 years ago

    Thanks for these instructions! I followed them and it worked very well.

    Since I wanted my pad to be 8.5×11, I used your Mom’s pencil trick with rubber-banded dowel rods. It worked perfectly.

    Also, When the glue was dry I used cheap nail polish to paint over the sticky glue and it looks just like the red glue on commercial pads! No stickiness (and no confronting my fears of doing the paper cover imperfectly).

  3. BT in SC says

    5 years ago

    Awesome idea! A quick iPad search late yesterday morning brought this up and yesterday afternoon I made my own tablet / notepad. You can’t even imagine the time spent – wasted – searching on-line and in stores for the perfect size, and perfect paper thickness, weight, etc. Just happened to have everything I needed, even the rubber [contact] cement, right here at home, too! [That usually happens, NEVER!] I’ve been cutting the paper, then 3-hole punching it and manually holding a template I need to use under each page on a clipboard [a paperclip / multiple paper clips just got in the way] but I knew if I had a tablet I could slide the template under each sheet of paper, securely resting it against the “gummed” edge, and voila – problem solved. Could have spared myself a few dozen hand cramps, a gazillion erasure marks from all the template sliding fixes and a whole lot of frustration if I would have searched for such a simple fix about two weeks ago. Can’t wait to show this off in class tomorrow morning. Thank you!!

  4. Aditi Raychoudhury says

    6 years ago


    Thanks for this great post – i started buying (“cheap”) sketch pads because I got sick of having piles of kids drawings all over the house – but turns out the cheap pads are made of nothing more than bond/ printer paper. So I was looking around to see how I could make sketch pads using printer paper, glue and cereal boxes.. I am definitely going to try this out! Neat idea!

  5. Dianne Lovejoy says

    6 years ago

    I too am so happy that someone besides me is into the “details”. My family gives me so much grief over my stories of the trips I took with my Mom.

    I love your writing, I love the details, and especially love the pics. Be strong and trust your instincts… are right on track.
    I just finished my notepad. Thank You! I will check in again. Dianne

  6. Tasha says

    6 years ago

    Thanks so much for this. You just saved me spending $15.00 for 3 specialized refill pads from Franklin Covey, and saved me from buying a special pad-binding glue from an art supplier. I have a need for all sorts of pads of paper, and get frustrated when I can’t find the right sizes, right now. Now I can fire up Photoshop and Indesign, and print my own. 🙂

  7. Donna Lee says

    9 years ago

    I just came across this blog entry when searching for a way to repair one of those page-a-day desk calendars that broke into two chunks (somewhere in the month of October on the pad!). I’m going to use your method, and -if all goes well- I’ll have an intact calendar again when I’m finished! (By the way, I am NOT going to peel off all the glue from the top of the 365 pages — I’ll have to take my chances at glueing OVER the original glue. Can you tell me if there is also a kind of “binding tape” that accomplished the same thing?

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      9 years ago

      Good luck! Gluing over the original glue should work just fine! I don’t know of any tape that would do a good job holding it together by itself, but you can definitely use a piece of tape or fabric or paper on top of the glue to make a “binding” to hold the whole thing together, and that should work great!

  8. Morgan says

    9 years ago

    I have been looking online for an easy tutorial to go about making our own field notes and this has been the winner! I’ve looked at a ton of websites but they’ve either been too complicated, didn’t have enough examples or was just difficult to read.

    Anyway, just wanted to say THANK YOU for this awesome tutorial. Also for the great downloadable shopping list! I was just going to use this for business use, but I’m going to do this for personal use, too! 🙂

    Thanks again! You rock!

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      9 years ago

      You’re so welcome Morgan, glad the tutorial was easy to follow!

  9. DR says

    9 years ago

    Just found your website today and love it. Realize this post is an older one but I thought I’d mention that somewhere I read about using this technique to keep your business cards organized. Then you just tear one off when you need dto give one to someone. Makes a great gift for a man who carries business cards, etc.

  10. Courtney K. says

    9 years ago

    I just came across this on Pinterest and can’t wait to try it! I have so much paper that I usually cut into 1/4’s and use a binder clip at one end. This will be so much better. Plus, I love the idea that you can use any paper. This will be great for gifting! Thanks for the tutorial!

  11. jack hg says

    10 years ago

    yep,, that is one smart MOM, imagine, great clamp idea..

  12. Margie says

    10 years ago

    LOVE your idea! Fab details and pictures! My boss’s wife calls so frequently… we have a sticky note we just use over and over. But I think I may print out a pad of sheets with perhaps: “Call your wife:” and maybe some check boxes like: >”As soon as possible”, >”Immediately”, >”At lunch”, >”You’re in Trouble!!” hahaha Fun little pad to use!! Great DIY ! ! ! Thank you so much

  13. ashlee says

    10 years ago

    Thanks so much for linking up to Topsy Turvy Third Tuesdays! i’m totally featuring your pad today! I totally want to make myself a pad now! But of what??? (I use an app for my grocery list)

  14. Pam says

    10 years ago

    Love the post! I am forever saving scrap paper. This is a nice way to keep it together. I could have a to do list or a grocery list! As for the tutorials… I love, love all the details. Sometimes I can guess at stuff if I need to, but I’d rather have the pictures and clear instructions. The pictures are also nice, I can always look at them and check to see if my project looks like yours does at a certain point. Thanks for all you do. Congrats on your new web design and I look forward to what is yet to come 🙂

  15. Marion says

    10 years ago

    I first did this about 13-14 years ago, though it’s been awhile since the last time I did it. I found out about padding compound and checked at the printer’s in my hometown to see if I could buy some. They get it in huge containers, but for a few dollars she sold me a quart jar full. A little goes a long way.

    I’ve used it to recycle the paper we use in our office into scratch pads, we made personalized small pads as birthday party favours, and my parents and siblings have all received pads featuring my kids artwork. The nice thing about using padding compound (looks like white glue, but is more flexible when dry) is that you can tint it with paste food colouring and personalize even further. It can also be washed off with soap and water before it dries which is always good when kids are helping.

    I usually made my pads in bulk and used two boards and some spring clamps to keep everything stable while I applied the compound and then let it dry. The kids used to love painting the compound on, we would have two or three colours and would end up with striped, spotted and squiggly designs on the end of the pads.

    I’m feeling the urge to get out my half-jar of compound and make a few pads again. I just checked it and while I need a new lid for the jar and needed to fish out a few rust flakes, the compound is still liquid and ready to use. Hmmm.

    • Jessi says

      10 years ago

      Awesome! My mom keeps all of her scrap paper and recycles it for scratch paper too 🙂

      And that’s way cool about being able to color the padding compound, I didn’t realize you could do that!

  16. sparkling74 says

    10 years ago

    I can’t even believe it’s rubber cement that makes the great binding! I always wondered what would work. I use recycled paper all the time and for years, I’ve wanted to bing them to make pads of paper. Watch out- I’ll be dangerous now!

  17. K @ Claiming Our Space says

    10 years ago

    What a great idea. And I am glad that I am not the only one who ends up having projects that are not the most practical. Thanks so much for sharing on Tout It Tuesday. Hope to see you tomorrow.

  18. Amanda says

    10 years ago

    Great project! I could easily make a million of these. Thanks for sharing at I Made It! Monday. I can’t wait to see what you link up this week.

  19. Trish @ Uncommon says

    10 years ago

    I just love this idea! I would not have thought that you could make one of these on your own. Way cool!

    Take care,


  20. Lauren says

    10 years ago

    Love this! I can’t wait to make my own pad now! I’d love for you to come share this at our Pinteresting Party!

  21. [email protected] says

    10 years ago

    Fun idea — and practical! Thanks for the printable template. And I think the amount of detail is just right 🙂 Thanks for linking on Busy Monday!

  22. Jessie says

    10 years ago

    Very cool.. you could make so many different kids of books with this method too. Great post, pinning for the future 🙂

  23. kelley @ Miss Information says

    10 years ago

    So glad you linked it up because this was featured at I Freakin did it Friday @ Miss Information, hope you’ll link up again today!

    • Jessi says

      10 years ago

      Awesome, I’m so excited! And I definitely linked up a few new projects today!

  24. heidi says

    10 years ago

    Great idea! Thanks for the template. I shared a template for a shopping list on my site, too. I never thought to make it into a note pad. That would really help! I’m constantly trying to remember to print a new one. Thanks so much for linking up at One Creative Weekend! I hope to see you back tomorrow! I’ll be sharing this idea on facebook as soon as I make some of my own! I’ll let you know when it’s up.

  25. Kathryn Griffin says

    10 years ago

    Again, smarty pants! I so need to do this. Thank you for sharing this at my Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House. Hope to see you again on Monday. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  26. Betsy @ Romance on a Dime says

    10 years ago

    I have never done this before, but it’s such a great idea!! I want to make one myself now. Thanks for the inspiration. Pinning this.

    I’m so glad you linked up at Romance on a dime’s TIOT!

  27. Jess from Cox's Corner says

    10 years ago

    This is an awesome tutorial! I really want to give it a try!

  28. Christine says

    10 years ago

    Jessi this is GREAT!!! I didn’t know that you could use rubber cement.. GENIUS!! Thanks for the printable!

    Thank you so very much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer.. From Dream To Reality!

  29. Nancy @ Kibbles 'N Knits says

    10 years ago

    Who knew it would be so easy to make a pad of paper?! My kids would love gathering scraps of paper to make these. Great idea!

  30. [email protected] Five4FiveMeals says

    10 years ago

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

  31. Mami Made It says

    10 years ago

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

  32. 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 🙂

  33. 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.

  34. 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!

  35. 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. 🙂

  36. 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 🙂

  37. 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

  38. Priscilla says

    10 years ago

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

  39. 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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