Monday, September 29, 2014

DIY Easy + Cheap Custom Notepads

I don't know about you, but I am a list-maker. And not a technology list maker, because it's a bigger pain in the butt for me to type things into my phone (and have them auto-corrected to the wrong word) than it is for me to scribble it down. I love notepads! And what could be better than a personalized notepad? An obligatory final product photo:

DIY Custom Notepads

These notepads are seriously so quick and easy. Once you have the process down, you'll be making them for all of your friends! They make great gifts because people will be so amazed when really it took little effort and money :)

DIY Custom Notepads

Supplies needed (apologies for the blurry photo!):
  • Computer with design program (I used Illustrator + InDesign, you can use what you prefer. Photoshop will also work)
  • Printer and paper
  • Some form of cutting tool, whether you use scissors (which won't make this as quick and easy), a sliding paper cutter, or a cutter with an arm blade. At the very least, use an x-acto knife and a ruler over scissors. Because I have the arm blade cutter, I used it!
  • Some cardboard for backing (I used the back of an empty cake mix box- recycle!)
  • Notepad padding compound, available on Amazon and a small brush (Mod Podge won't work for this project, sorry crafters!)
  • Binder clips (how many depends on your notepad size, I used 3 for each of my small ones)
For this project, I'm making a couple of different notepads with my blog name on them. One of the notepads just has the name of my blog surrounded by white space, and the other includes the blue flowers and will require more precise cutting.

I already had the blog title designed, so it was easy enough for me to place it into an InDesign document made to letter size (8.5x11"). Below is the design for my floral notepad. I set the size of my notepad to be 3.5"x4.25", meaning I could fit six sheets onto a page. I arranged them with my page margin at .25" for being unable to print to the edge of a sheet, so make sure your designs are all within the margin. The white space that's not your design can go into the margin. If you're just starting out, I recommend making a notepad with the design having white space around the entire design. You can see this design printed on later images if you want to attempt it.

If you are using Photoshop, it's not much different: set your page size to letter, and have all of your designs within the .25" margin. My full floral design is edge to edge because I'm not doing too many pages, and I'm not as worried about being perfectly precise on cuts with my own notepad.

After I had the design completed, I saved it as a PDF and printed it. Depending on the thickness you want is how many pages you'll print. I printed 5 pages for a total of 30 little sheets after cutting and it is about 1/8" thick; about half the thickness of a post-it note.

I cut the white space design first. Because the each notepad is 3.5" final width, I know that the excess paper adds up to 0.5". Divided between two sides meant cutting 0.25" off the far right side for my first cut. After that, I was able to measure out 3.5" using the ruler on my cutter for the widths of each of the other rows.

Don't forget to cut off that extra 0.25" that is on the far left of your page; I had to rotate mine so I could measure 3.5" wide for my paper and have that be cut off.

After all rows were 3.5" wide, I cut them all in half at 4.25" to end up with my final pieces.

One notepad complete! I then cut the cardboard to the same dimensions for a bottom piece.

Then I cut my other design! If you're not interested in this part, feel free to skip down to the gluing step. For my floral design, I skipped the measuring because I could see where my design ended. If you want to be all precise, feel free to do so.

I cut the rows in the same process as the last notepad, cutting off the extra white on each side as well. When I cut the other direction, I had to cut off the top white space and then cut on the top line for the bottom piece. These ended up at 4.125" tall because I cut off a small amount of white space at the top (margin space).

Cut a bottom piece to the dimensions for the notepad again. Then the notepad is ready to be assembled and glued!

 Use a flat surface to jog all of your pieces so the top is straight and even, since that is where we'll be gluing. Go ahead and be a perfectionist, it won't harm you at all. Once you have everything perfectly aligned, then put binder clips on the sides about 1/8" below the top of the notepad so they don't get glue on them.

Use your brush and spread some of the notepad padding compound, covering the entire top spine. After it's on, let it dry and clean up all the paper scattered around your workspace. Put on another coat of glue once the first is dry. I stuck to two, but it depends on how big your notepad is if you want to do more. And that's it!

Now I have some awesome notepads! 

Make sure to share this with your friends!

1 comment:

  1. This is a really neat idea for a personalized gift