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?




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Hi, I'm Jessi! Welcome to Practically Functional, a blog about simple, practical projects and ideas to help you love your home, no matter where you live! We just bought our first house, and I'm busy turning it into a home. I want to make sure we love every single square foot of our new home, so I decorate, I craft, I DIY, I build, I organize, I cook… I even garden! Practically Functional is about loving your home and turning it into the perfect place for you, your family, your pets, your hobbies, your work, and everything else you love! Make sure you follow along by RSS or subscribe by email so you don't miss anything!


  1. 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!
    Courtney K. recently posted..Leg Warmers…Really??

  2. 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.

  3. 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!
    Morgan recently posted..Prepping On A Budget eBook + Audiobook

  4. 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?

    • 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!


  1. Season 13 Audition Results {& linky highlight} | So You Think You're Crafty says:

    [...] I go through a ton of notepads.  And those things aren’t always cheap.  So when I saw this Make Your Own Pad of Paper DIY from Practically Functional  I knew it was something I have to do right [...]

  2. [...] seen a few tutorials to make your own pads of paper, and I’ve totally been meaning to pin one and try it out! This is a great tutorial AND it [...]

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