Living

Making scratch pads from scratch

“I was wondering if you’d be interested in writing a blog for the green team about the cool new notepads you made.”

How interesting would that be, I thought. Write a blog about turning used office trash into usable scratch pads. Who would want to read about that?

Then I thought about the crow I saw yesterday. I thought I had found an avian oddity when my eye caught this black bird with a white breast and long, flowing white tail fly by. When it got close I had a Doh! moment. It was a crow heading to his nest with a long strip of toilet paper in his beak.

Crows recycle? No, crows are just opportunistic.

So are a lot of folks, seizing our desire to save the planet by offering to supply us with recycled goods to look cool at our next office meeting.

Check out these options:

>> Recycled food box notepads at just $6 each.

>> Enviro-Savvy EarthSea notebooks discounted to $15 for a set of three.

>> Diskette notepads -- floppy disks recycled into cute notepads with 75 sheets of graph paper sandwiched in between for $10 each.

Or if you feel the need to be crafty and do-it-yourself you can try these options:

>> Notepads made from old table-top calendars and letterhead. You will need needle-nose pliers, bull clips and a comb binder.

>> Or my personal favorite: Charley Harper notepads. This starts with buying a Charley Harper Memory Card Set (can be found at Old Navy for $14.99 for the boxed set of over 75 cards).

You also need to have on hand scissors, Krazy Glue, embroidery floss and an old Anthropologie catalog.

Simpler websites instruct you to tear sheets of paper in half and hold them with a bulldog clip or staple sheets together to make a (slim) notepad.

Perhaps it’s been too long since anyone has seen a real scratch pad.

The kind your grandmother kept beside the telephone.

Paper glued along one edge to a cardboard back.

This, folks, is how it’s done:

Stack your white paper to be recycled printed-side down. When you have a pile, cut them in half. It’s faster to use a paper trimmer than scissors.

Line up 50 to 75 sheets of paper printed-side down on a piece of used chipboard. That’s the light cardboard that’s found at the bottom of a legal pad, or the covers of a spiral bound notebook. Any stiff cardboard or heavy paper will do. They will need to be cut to the same size as the paper.

Layer these sheets of paper with the cardboard to make a stack of soon-to-be scratch pads.

Put something heavy on the stack to compress the air out of the stack of papers & cardboard.

Paint one of the shorter edges with a white glue, like Elmer’s.

Let dry.

Separate the notebooks. This can be done by inserting a sharp knife or letter opener between the bottom of the cardboard and the top of the next notepad.

Get on with your life.

-- Deborah Carver has been the librarian at the Tri-City Herald for 12 years. “In my day it wasn’t called recycling, it was called saving money.”

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