DIY Notebook

The beauty of a DIY notebook is how perfectly it can suit your needs. (Photo: Cara Mariano)

It is a new year, and that usually means a list of resolutions. I don’t normally write them down, but I admit to starting each new year with a determination to get more organized. And while I use my phone for schedules and reminders, the thing that helps me most are notebooks.

I’m not talking about large three-ring binders, but mini-books that easily fit in a purse or pocket. I know I’m not alone because I see planners everywhere, but what I just discovered is how easy it is to make your own.

The beauty of a DIY notebook is how perfectly it can suit your needs. The size of the book, how many pages and how to decorate the cover are all up to you. One book can be devoted entirely to house issues, or work or carpools…it’s totally your decision.

To make a notebook, cut copy or notebook paper (if you want lined pages) to the desired size. The pages will be folded in half so double the length. Create a folded cover out of cardstock in the same size and embellish it as little or as much as you like.

The tricky part of making a notebook is the binding. If your book will hold a lot of pages, you can punch holes in the pages and secure them with colored rings (available at any office supply store) or plastic bird leg bands. But books with smaller page counts are bounad simply with staples. And if you don’t own a long neck stapler (who does?), you need only open up the stapler so it is flat and staple into the folded seam of the cover and all of the pages with a scrap of cardboard underneath. Separate the pages from the cardboard by pulling them up in one clump and the prongs of the staples will be facing up. A pencil eraser is the perfect tool to push the ends of the staples closed, and your book is now bound. If the exposed staples in the cover are an issue, simply fold a strip of patterned paper, the same width of the book, and fasten it over the stapled seam.

For the closure, I sometimes fasten a button with a dot of foam adhesive to the cover and a ribbon to hold the book closed. Other times I slide on an oversized, colored rubber band. But most often I don’t worry about adding a closure because the stapled books are so flat it’s not really necessary.

So if you are trying to juggle multiple tasks and need a little help, you might consider a notebook or two (or three). They are quick and easy to make and will become valued tools to keep you organized. You can plan on it.

By Sandi Genovese, Tribune News ServiceContact Sandi and find free video demonstrations of more photo projects at