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May 22, 2017 DIY Notepads: Inexpensive, Easy, Personalized Gifts for All By Meghan Everette
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    When I think of end-of-year gifts for teachers, coworkers, or students, I always lean towards functional items. My own boys still have useful presents from their teachers, like personalized whiteboards and clipboards, while toys are long discarded. I also do enjoy personalizing gifts to show that little extra care in acknowledging a person’s individual style and appreciation of their personality. Homemade personalized notepads can be made for pennies and are really useful.

    Making your own notepads is easy and inexpensive. With a little assistance even students can create these gifts to take home. All you need is a printer, paper, cardboard, some padding compound, a paint brush, and binder clips.

    Make it Stick

    Padding compound is the magic ingredient in creating a sticky edge that allows pages to release when torn from the pad. If you can’t find padding compound (and after checking two local stores, I gave up) you can make your own. I was able to paste 15 40-page notepads with one yield of this solution.

    Materials:

    ·      3 tablespoons water

    ·      ½ tablespoon unflavored gelatin

    ·      1 tablespoon vinegar

    ·      1 teaspoon glycerin

     

    Directions:

    ·      Boil the water then dissolve the gelatin until you don’t see any grains.

    ·      Stir in the vinegar and glycerin until mixed.

    ·      Pour into a container. I used a glass yogurt jar. The mixture will be like thin jelly. If it gets too thick or sets before you can brush on, you can put it in the microwave for a few seconds to melt it back to a paintable consistency.

    ·      I added a drop of artist watercolor paint to a batch to make a colored binding.

     

    Design Your Stack

    Use any computer program to design your notepad. For my pads, I used a fourth of regular 8 ½ x 11 inch paper so four notes can be printed on one sheet. For longer list-type notepads, you may want to use just a vertical half sheet. Kids might enjoy flip books out of an eighth or even a sixteenth-page sized notepads.

    I’ve provided editable templates for some of my designs below, but you can use the blank template to add any font or images you like. Notepads can be gender neutral and with a little ingenuity in personalization, can fit a wide variety of holidays, gift occasions, or classroom purposes.

     

    Consider:

    ·      Checklists for behavior

    ·      Notes home from the teacher

    ·      Family names for quick notes to the teacher in the morning

    ·      Parent volunteer slips

    ·      Classroom wish list items

    ·      Parent gifts for holidays like Christmas or Mother’s Day

    ·      Summertime sketch pad for students

    ·      Co-worker gifts

    ·      Thank you notes

    ·      Scan student line drawings for your notepad image

      

      

      

        

    Click on a notepad to download an editable version of each design.

    Assembly

    Once you have a design, print the number of sheets you need for a notepad. I printed 10 sheets, making my pads 40 pages total. If you are worried about your padding compound getting on the top sheet, you can print extras and tear a few off for a clean edge.

    Cut the pages to size and stack as neatly as possible on top of a thin piece of cardboard cut to the same size. The cardboard back adds stability. You can use a cereal box, the back of an old notebook, or save the covers from consumable student books. My pages were always just slightly off, so I recut with a paper cutter as needed. Office supply stores usually have a precise cutter in their copy center if you are cutting a lot of sheets or really want precision.

     

     

    The pages need to stay neatly stacked and tight where you apply the compound. I tried two methods and found both to be effective. One way is to lay a heavy box or books on your stack. Another is to use binder clips to fasten pages. The fasteners were a little easier to set up, but the big binder left some indentions on my pages. Once stacked and squished together, use a paintbrush to apply a few layers of padding compound to the compressed edge. Wait for it to dry and remove your binding clips. Voila! You have a finished notepad.

     

     

    Notepads are a truly useful gift for any occasion and personalization makes them even more special. Print a few for your coworkers, your students, or even yourself!

     

    When I think of end-of-year gifts for teachers, coworkers, or students, I always lean towards functional items. My own boys still have useful presents from their teachers, like personalized whiteboards and clipboards, while toys are long discarded. I also do enjoy personalizing gifts to show that little extra care in acknowledging a person’s individual style and appreciation of their personality. Homemade personalized notepads can be made for pennies and are really useful.

    Making your own notepads is easy and inexpensive. With a little assistance even students can create these gifts to take home. All you need is a printer, paper, cardboard, some padding compound, a paint brush, and binder clips.

    Make it Stick

    Padding compound is the magic ingredient in creating a sticky edge that allows pages to release when torn from the pad. If you can’t find padding compound (and after checking two local stores, I gave up) you can make your own. I was able to paste 15 40-page notepads with one yield of this solution.

    Materials:

    ·      3 tablespoons water

    ·      ½ tablespoon unflavored gelatin

    ·      1 tablespoon vinegar

    ·      1 teaspoon glycerin

     

    Directions:

    ·      Boil the water then dissolve the gelatin until you don’t see any grains.

    ·      Stir in the vinegar and glycerin until mixed.

    ·      Pour into a container. I used a glass yogurt jar. The mixture will be like thin jelly. If it gets too thick or sets before you can brush on, you can put it in the microwave for a few seconds to melt it back to a paintable consistency.

    ·      I added a drop of artist watercolor paint to a batch to make a colored binding.

     

    Design Your Stack

    Use any computer program to design your notepad. For my pads, I used a fourth of regular 8 ½ x 11 inch paper so four notes can be printed on one sheet. For longer list-type notepads, you may want to use just a vertical half sheet. Kids might enjoy flip books out of an eighth or even a sixteenth-page sized notepads.

    I’ve provided editable templates for some of my designs below, but you can use the blank template to add any font or images you like. Notepads can be gender neutral and with a little ingenuity in personalization, can fit a wide variety of holidays, gift occasions, or classroom purposes.

     

    Consider:

    ·      Checklists for behavior

    ·      Notes home from the teacher

    ·      Family names for quick notes to the teacher in the morning

    ·      Parent volunteer slips

    ·      Classroom wish list items

    ·      Parent gifts for holidays like Christmas or Mother’s Day

    ·      Summertime sketch pad for students

    ·      Co-worker gifts

    ·      Thank you notes

    ·      Scan student line drawings for your notepad image

      

      

      

        

    Click on a notepad to download an editable version of each design.

    Assembly

    Once you have a design, print the number of sheets you need for a notepad. I printed 10 sheets, making my pads 40 pages total. If you are worried about your padding compound getting on the top sheet, you can print extras and tear a few off for a clean edge.

    Cut the pages to size and stack as neatly as possible on top of a thin piece of cardboard cut to the same size. The cardboard back adds stability. You can use a cereal box, the back of an old notebook, or save the covers from consumable student books. My pages were always just slightly off, so I recut with a paper cutter as needed. Office supply stores usually have a precise cutter in their copy center if you are cutting a lot of sheets or really want precision.

     

     

    The pages need to stay neatly stacked and tight where you apply the compound. I tried two methods and found both to be effective. One way is to lay a heavy box or books on your stack. Another is to use binder clips to fasten pages. The fasteners were a little easier to set up, but the big binder left some indentions on my pages. Once stacked and squished together, use a paintbrush to apply a few layers of padding compound to the compressed edge. Wait for it to dry and remove your binding clips. Voila! You have a finished notepad.

     

     

    Notepads are a truly useful gift for any occasion and personalization makes them even more special. Print a few for your coworkers, your students, or even yourself!

     

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