DIY HANDMADE NOTEPAD // simple & refillable

It seems like it's the time of the year to get organized! I've been super inspired lately by bloggers who have been sharing their methods of staying on top of things -- especially Miranti's beautiful notebooks separated by purpose and Amanda's bullet journal explanation.

While I was in medical school, I used mostly Google Calendar and an every-growing to do list on a piece of computer paper (the height of aesthetics, obviously).

Now that I spend most of my days in my studio, I definitely want something a bit more enjoyable to something that will keep me away from the black hole of surfing the internet.

To stay organized, I use three main notebooks: a simple daily calendar from Muji, a moleskin with big goals for the month and week, and a small notepad that I can destroy with to-do lists, notes to myself, and random doodles.
I use this little notepad constantly (it's the only one I'll actually carry with me everywhere) and when it ran out of pages, I was so excited when I realized I could just fill it back up!
 It's really easy to make and is way cheaper than most of the (so beautiful and tempting!) notebooks out there. I based the project off of Hello Lucky's beautiful DIY gold-leaf notebooks, but with the materials I had lying around at home. Meaning no gold leaf yet...I can dream of the day I have gold leaf just lying around!


  • Half of a stack of 3x5 index cards
  • Two binder clips
  • Elmer's glue
  • Empty cereal box
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Sheet of printer paper
  • Exacto knife
  • Optional: paint brush, painter's tape, paint of your choice (I used white acrylic paint) 


1. Use the binder clips to secure the stack of index cards together, as in the photograph above, keeping them near one end. On that end, spread a thick layer of Elmer's glue over the cards, pushing it into the grooves. Let dry.

2. Unfold the cereal box and lay it flat. Draw and cut out a rectangle of cardboard based on the following diagram that I painstakingly made in Powerpoint. :) The 0.3" middle section should be the same size as the width of your stack of index cards (this just happened to be the width of mine). You should measure the cards to make sure the booklet you glued together in step 1 will fit into the cardboard notebook cover.

3. Once you've cut out the cardboard, lightly score along the dotted lines with the Exacto knife and fold them so the cardboard forms a book shape.

4. Line the decorated side with a piece of printer paper, leaving the brown side of the cardboard alone (it will become the outside of the notepad). Coat the colorful side with the glue stick and place face-down on the piece of printer paper. When dry, trim the edges of the paper to line up with the cardboard.

5. If you want to decorate the outside of your notepad, this is the time to do it! I put a piece of painter's tape at an angle across the front of the book and painted one area white, but you could pretty much go nuts with it at this time. Hello Lucky's gold-leaf one is a gorgeous option, but you could also cover it with wrapping paper or origami paper, paint it, draw on it, or decorate with washi tape!

6. When the cover and the stack of index cards are dry, put a line of Elmer's glue on the inside of the notebook's "spine." Firmly press the glued end of the index cards onto the line of glue and let dry standing up.

7. When dry, fold up the book and start writing! When you're done with a page, you can tear it out, and when you run out of pages, you can make another stack of index cards to insert (remember this notebook only used half a pack of cards).

How do you keep yourself organized? Are you mostly a paper person, or do you keep your organization digital?

Have a good weekend everyone!

xo Diana
Topics: projects + diy
comments powered by Disqus