WARNING – The following tutorial, if followed, can be very addicting. Proceed with caution!
Paper – any kind, scrap, colored, personalized, etc. Here I’m using some family photos printed at 40% opacity and a fun design for my grocery lists.
Heavy Books, binder clips, or specially made clamp
Thin Cardboard – old cereal boxes work great
Adhesive magnetic strips (optional)
Padding Compound – I use Sparco Padding Compound in Red. They also have white. The 1 quart bottle I have will seriously last my lifetime.
** A note about the padding compound. This is the stuff you find on regular notepads from the store. It’s kind of rubbery when dry and allows you to easily tear off a sheet of paper. I have seen on other sites where people have used regular white glue instead of the padding compound but it makes the edge very stiff and the paper hard to tear off cleanly. I have also seen rubber cement used but that doesn’t seem to hold all the paper very well from my experience, plus it’s the color of boogers. Not very appealing if you ask me!
Step 1 – Cut all your paper and cardboard backing to the same size. Mine are about 5.5 x 4.25 inches – a sheet of paper cut into fourths. You can make the notepads whatever size you want. Cutting a paper lengthwise into thirds would make a nice long pad for grocery lists. My notepads range from 30 – 100 sheets.
Step 2 – Stack paper and cardboard backing, tamping the side you are applying the padding compound to down on the table so the edges all align evenly. Since you are using your own paper cutter and not a professional cutting machine don’t worry if the side edges don’t match up correctly. This is a handmade product!
If using heavy books, place the stack of paper on a flat surface and very carefully place heavy books on top making sure you are as close to the edge being painted as possible.
Step 3 – Paint the padding compound onto the edge of your paper stack. The thicker you make it the longer you have to wait for it to dry and the greater chance you take in having the compound run down. I apply two lighter coats, waiting for the first to dry before applying the second. The red padding compound is actually pink in the bottle but it does turn red when it dries.
The following two pictures show you what it looks like after 15 minutes of drying. The clamp does a much better job of keeping the paper from crinkling and separating.
You can see I got padding compound on the edges of the clamp in the top photo and on the table in the bottom photo. That’s okay! It will peel right off. I have made several notepads at once stacking them right on top of each other. When the padding compound is dry you just peel the pads apart.
A comparison of both notepad edges.
TADA! You are done.
My brother-in-law did this…
Here is the close up of one of my designs. If you click on the image below you can download the pdf file to make your own.