Think Again is a series that provides fun ideas for how to reuse items in your home that you would normally throw out or recycle. Reusing is higher on the “green” food chain than recycling, because getting another use out of an object is always more effective than spending the energy to recycle it. Plus, trying to reuse can force us to be creative!
Even though there’s paper all around us, somehow when we need to jot down a quick note it’s nowhere to be found. This project will help you dig into your paper recycling bin, pull out a few items, and with very little effort make a stylish and 100% reused notebook to keep by your phone, at your desk, in your back pocket, or wherever it is that you usually need note paper. And when you’re done with it – it’s completely recyclable!
To make your matchbox inspired recycled notebook you will need:
1 cardboard package (for example from a cereal box, box of pasta)
2 pieces of regular paper with one side already used (for example printer paper, mail solicitations)
1 pair of scissors
1 stapler (and 2 staples)
1. Pick out a cardboard package – preferably one with an interesting design, since this will be the cover of your notebook. If you pick something that it especially unique and local (that has Arabic or Hebrew lettering, for example), then your matchbox notebook could make a special gift for someone overseas. (Think of Amit Brilliant’s recycled wallets.)
2. Cut the package so that you have a piece that includes one panel of the box and one bent over flap (the flap will be used as the top of the notebook).
3. Bend the long part of the panel so that it fits under the flap, but make sure to leave a little room for the staples that will be in the flap. Around 1-2 centimeters should be enough.
4. Take one of the sheets of paper and put it up against your cardboard panel, folding it so that there is a little room left in the area under the flap. (In order for the “matchbox” to close, the papers cannot be the full size of the cardboard area.) Make a crease. Do the same in the opposite direction, measuring the paper against the cardboard so that there is a little room on the sides. Fold your paper in a grid like pattern so that you have a bunch of squares that can be cut and placed inside your cardboard. Cut along the fold lines. Repeat for the second sheet of paper.
5. Once all the paper is cut, arrange the papers so that all of the used/printed sides are face down and all the blank sides are face up. I used two sheets of paper in different colors, and alternated them for a more design-y effect.
6. Shuffle the papers so that they’re in a neat pile, and push them up against the side of the cardboard with the flap. Staple the flap towards the top (to leave room to tuck the panel in under the flap) with 2 staples, or however many staples you think are necessary.
7. Write, jot, doodle, scribble…. and then recycle!
Read about more do-it-yourself reuse projects::