I’ve always loved fancy, pretty notebooks, but have seldom owned one because of the ridiculous prices they charge for the primo ones.  It’s hard to justify spending $8 on a super-cool, multi-subject notebook when you could get ten times more paper buying plain, single-subject notebooks.  If you’re lucky enough to own or have access to a binding machine, you can make a notebook out of any paper.  If you don’t have a binding machine, this alternative method works just as well, creating a five-subject divided notebook without requiring any special tools or binding supplies.

Project estimate:

  • 3 pack fancy file folders, $1
  • 3 packages coordinating computer paper, $3
  • Plastic wire ties, on hand or $1
  • Hole punch, on hand

Total:  $4 and up

I found this 3-pack of striped file folders at Dollar Tree.  They also had several other designs available.

I also found this coordinating computer paper at Dollar Tree in 40-sheet packages.

My Dollar Tree has variety packs of plastic wire ties in assorted bright colors; I used pink to match my folders  and paper.

Punch an odd number of evenly-spaced holes down the folded edge of each folder, as well as down one edge of all of the paper.  (I used 7 holes.)

Divide the paper into 5 equal stacks.  (Mine have 24 sheets each.)  Cut the file folders along the folded edge to create 6 separate pieces.  Starting with half of a file folder, alternate between folder halves and stacks of paper to create one big pile as shown.

Run a plastic wire tie through each  hole along the spine of the notebook, making sure to pass through all folder halves and sheets of paper.  Try to keep the loops the same size, and make sure they are large enough that the notebook can be easily opened and the pages turn freely.

Cut off the excess from the ends of the wire ties to finish the binding.  If desired, you can also add a dab of glue to the end of each wire tie to make sure that the loops aren’t accidentally made any smaller. Ta-da!  Your own custom notebook!

You can also use this idea with other materials besides file folder;   try using ceral boxes instead to make a recycled version!