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Recycle Office Paper into Blank Books

Direct recycling of paper business waste.

Recycle Office Paper into Blank Books

Here I will give a simple bookbinding tutorial using a Japanese stab-binding technique for making blank books from paper that is printed on one side. These books are useful for all kinds of notes, and tell an interesting story about the place they came from. I work in the computer lab at my school, where a lot of printer paper is wasted. I go through the recycle bin to find my papers.

Steps

Step #1: Cut and fold your paper

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Recycle Office Paper into Blank BooksRecycle Office Paper into Blank BooksRecycle Office Paper into Blank BooksRecycle Office Paper into Blank Books
  • Using a paper cutter, scissors, or a utility knife, cut your paper down to twice the desired size.
  • Fold each sheet in half, and cut your cover material (one for front, one for back) down to the size of a folded sheet.
  • Almost all paper has a bias - it's easier to bend in one direction over another - so make sure you align your paper all the same way. Office paper is typically biased along the long edge.

Step #2: Line up, clip, and make holes

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  • Stack your cover material and pages together and line up all edges. Clip with the large binder clip to secure.
  • Mark 3/8" from both to-be-bound corners (the folded side of the sheets). Divide the space along the binding between these marks into thirds, and mark those locations. These are where we make the holes for the twine binding.
  • Make holes all the way through the book with an awl, drill, or drill press.
  • If using a drill or drill press, make sure to clamp your papers tightly down to avoid any paper ruffling. Placing a piece of wood under the book helps make a clean cut in the back.

Step #3: Bind the book

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  • I used this tutorial to learn to bind books this way. It's very thorough, so I won't repeat its instructions, but basically you sew the binding in a particular way with the twine and needle.
  • Make sure it's very tight and secure.
  • That's it!

Conclusion

This is a great little book for phone numbers and other random notes. You can make it any size you like, and the paper never had to go to the processing plant! Using a string binding instead of glue is easier on the environment, too. Some of the books I've made are for sale at my Etsy shop.

Becky Stern

Becky Stern

Becky Stern (sternlab.org is a DIY guru and director of wearable electronics at Adafruit. She publishes a new project video every week and hosts a live show on YouTube. Formerly Becky was Senior Video Producer for MAKE. Becky lives in Brooklyn, NY and belongs to art groups Free Art & Technology (“release early, often, and with rap music”) and Madagascar Institute (“fear is never boring”).


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