I’ve been spending a lot more time playing with paper lately, and even though I consider myself a ‘fabric person’, I’m enjoying the versatility and easy accessibility of crafting with paper. In fact you can turn almost any piece of paper rubbish into something pretty and useful, making it perfect for an upcycling project. I’ve created a handy little wallet style notebook from a cereal box and an assortment of paper scraps collected at the bottom of our art and craft drawer. If you have paper loving friends or a pen pal, this would make a perfect little gift that can be posted inexpensively. Use it as a personal journal or as an alternative to a traditional letter, you can even make one out of holiday maps and paper ephemera collected on your travels.
You will need:
Scrap paper and printed ephemera – this can include envelopes, paper bags, wrapping paper, doilies, wall paper samples, receipts, book pages, clean food wrappers, magazine pages. Really whatever you have on hand that has visual interest.
Thin cardboard – cereal box cardboard is perfect
Cardboard disk or circle
Eyelet and eyelet tool (brad or split pin will work too)
1. Cut the cardboard to the desired size for your cover. You can make a plain notebook or one with a flap cover (like a wallet). The size of my cover was about 8″x13″ (20cmx33cm). Divide into three sections and crease, with the cover flap smaller than the front and back covers. My cover was just under 5″ wide.
2. If you don’t want the printing of the cardboard to show, you can cover with decorative paper.
I picked up this giant money printed paper in Hong Kong where it is used as a funeral offering and burnt. They are called Hell notes and I found the designs really interesting, but in Chinese communities it’s offensive to give a hell note as a gift to a living person, so I’ll be keeping this myself. I’m not superstitious but I certainly don’t want to offend anyone inadvertently.
3. Lay your assortment of papers over each other in interesting ways. I’ve included some handmade paper I made many years ago, and pieces of brown paper bags with torn edges. Also a wallpaper sample, receipt, magazine page and paper bag.
4. Crease pages to mark the spine and align with spine of cover.
5. Sew along spine with a long straight stitch. Set the stitch length to max.
6. Cut a disk shape out of strong card. I found this giant glitter confetti circle in my crafty bits box.
7. Using an eyelet tool punch a hole through the cardboard cover flap and attach your disk with an eyelet.
8. Tie end of twine securely between the disk and the cover.
All done! Here is a little flick through the notebook so you can see how the pages look.
To fasten, wrap twine around note book and wind around the little disk.
Now gather up all those scraps of paper laying around the house and get making! You can never have too many notebooks.