I love crafts like this. It’s super simple, uses supplies you may already have around the house, and makes a great gift. In fact, those are three of my criteria for all of my projects on this blog. BUT this project, how to make your own custom notepad really nails it in each of those areas. It is one of the more easy craft projects I’ve ever done. If you’re a frequent reader you may have seen the Christmas Gnome tear-off Christmas List. I’ve been super surprised by how popular that project has continued to be. So today, I have a step-by-step tutorial that goes a little more in-depth in the construction and has a bonus YouTube video too. The video also does a product comparison to help you figure out what is the best glue to use for your own DIY notepad. I also created new printables for you to download from my free Creative Resource Library. If you love craft supplies (and who doesn’t?) then you’ll love this free printable design!
Creative Notes DIY Tear-Off Notepad
Supplies and Materials
- Creative Notes Printables, two free printable PDF’s from the Creative Resource Library.
- Home Printer with Copy Paper (OR you can take the PDF to a copy store to print).
- Med. Weight Chipboard (opt. you can cut this from the back of an old sketchbook or notebook. Cereal boxes are a little too flimsy to give you a professional feeling)
- Paper Cutter
- Binder clips (or bulldog clips)
- PVA or Glitter Mod Podge*
- Foam brush or paint brush
- Extra cardstock to wrap around the top of the pads to create a tight block
- Strip of Magnet (this is totally optional but is nice for those refrigerator shopping lists)
*I did not test padding glue but do test Tacky Glue, rubber cement, and Elmer’s in my YouTube video. You can see the results of all of these there.
Step One: Download the Printables
If you’d like to follow along and use the free Creative Notes Printables from my Creative Resource Library that I designed for this post then you’ll want to go grab that now. But you can use any paper you want to create your own custom notepad.
I printed probably about 20 of these sheets (10 of each design) for a total of 60 memo pages once they’re cut in thirds. With the added weight that the chipboard backing adds to the project, I felt like I could make two notepads with the number of copies that I had made. You can use your home printer or if you’d like to get these printed at a print shop that totally works too.
Tip: Since these are one-sided you can use this same technique to make scratchpads from recycled paper or paper scraps as well.
Step Two: Cut the Pages and Chipboard to Size
Use a paper cutter to cut the pages in 3 equal sections, each 1/3 of the printable sheet, on the dotted lines. I made the dotted lines really light this time so that you wouldn’t see it if your cuts weren’t perfectly aligned. So you can’t necessarily see them in the photo but they are there.
Then cut the medium-weight chipboard in pieces the same size. The easiest way to do this is to take one of the note papers, place it on top of the chipboard, and mark your cut line from that.
Can you use something other than the chipboard for the backing board? If you have something else in your craft room that you want to try then go ahead! I actually really liked the result when I used the back of an old sketchbook. You can totally try other options for the notepad backing. But if you plan to make these to sell you will want to purchase the chipboard as it will feel more professional and you can purchase it in bulk.
Tip: I actually just use my thumbnail and make a slight crease at the top of the board where I want to cut. It’s surprisingly accurate and you don’t leave a pencil mark. That doesn’t matter so much with this project, but it’s a super nice little hack to know. And since I can never find a pencil when I need to mark something, it’s become my automatic go-to for precision cutting.
Step Three: Prep the Pad
Stack the pages, making sure that the top of the notepad edge is completely flat and even. Your goal is to make sure you have a tight “block” of paper at the top edge of your notepad.
The block is important because you want the glue to swipe across the top of it. You do not want the glue to drip down between the pages. That would cause them to stick together more than you want them to.
To accomplish this, you can use binder clips and a piece of cardstock. You can see the picture below of how I wrapped a piece of cardstock around the top to add a more even pressure all the way around. Then add a binder clip to each side, and after we glue you’ll add another to the top for a little more added pressure.
Step Four: Glue the Top Edge
Looking online, there seem to be all kinds of different glues that work for this. Many sites I looked at recommended PVA or rubber cement. When I first made the Gnome Tear-Off Notepad I was all out of both. So off to Michael’s I went! But as I was looking at all the choices in the adhesives aisle that night I realized I could probably just use Mod Podge.
And when I saw ✨ Extreme Glitter Mod Podge✨… well, it had to be done. It ended up working great, plus it gives the project that little extra something that always makes my heart happy. And makes it more sellable!
Which glues work and which don’t
BUT for this DIY Tear-Off Note Pad tutorial, I did test several types of glues including Elmer’s Glue, Tacky Glue, Rubber Cement, PVA, and hard coat Mod Podge to see what worked and what didn’t. You can see the full results of that product comparison in the video! For this tutorial, I did decide to use the PVA glue and the Extreme Glitter Mod Podge.
Important! Be Careful not to Brush on Too Much!
You do NOT want a thick coat. To apply, get a little of the PVA on a foam brush. Just a light coat. Then just lightly swipe it evenly across the top of the block. We don’t want the glue to be so much that it gets in between the pages and glues them together. We want it just on the very top edge. That’s why it’s so important to create that tight block on the edge with the extra cardstock wrapping around it.
Step Five: Add the Third Clip and Let Dry a Couple of Hours
Add the third binder clip in the middle, making sure that it doesn’t rest in the glue, but is up just a little bit. Let this first coat dry. I recommend that you then do a second application. Set it aside for at least 10 minutes and until it’s dry to the touch.
For a little added security it doesn’t hurt to let these dry for a couple of hours before you test them, but I find it super hard to wait!
Note- the PVA will still feel a little rubbery- that’s normal for this glue and is what makes it so flexible.
Step Six: Add a Magnet Strip to the Back (optional)
This is totally optional, but you can easily add a strip of self-adhesive magnet sheet to the top edge of the back of this notebook to create a tear-off shopping list.
And You’re Done!!!
It really is the little things sometimes. Peeling the first sticker off a sheet that you designed is really satisfying. And I felt the same thrill of satisfaction as I tore off that first page of this notepad. The sound it makes is satisfying and I’m reminded of waitresses snapping their gum and then tearing off their order sheets for the cook. It just gives me the feeling that I’m getting the job done. If you try this project, I’d love to know if you have the same feeling of satisfaction when you tear off that first page!
This DIY Tear-Off Notepad Makes a Great Last-Minute Gift
This DIY tear-off notepad project makes a great last-minute teacher gift, co-worker present, thank you gift, or a “just because” gift for a friend. Just print off the PDF and twenty minutes later you have something handmade that’s really different than many of the quick gifts that are out there.
It’s also a great “little something” that would easily pair with a gift card. If you really want to go all out and you have sticker paper I also have a print then cut sticker tutorial (link below) with free sticker printables that match the design of this DIY tear-off notepad!
For More Inspiration
If you love the hand-drawn images I used to design these memo pads/ notepads then you will LOVE my tutorial on How to Print and Cut Stickers with Your Cricut! The sticker designs are a free download in my Creative Resource Library and I have a YouTube video that will walk you through the steps so that you can print then cut your own! And because so many people wanted to know how I drew the stickers I made a tutorial on How to Draw Stickers in Procreate to Cut with Your Cricut!
Love this? Share it!
If you found this tutorial helpful please take a moment to pin the image below to Pinterest or share it on social media. If you do, I’d love to have you tag wellcraftedstudio! Thanks for your help and thanks for reading!