Friday, December 5, 2008

a tutorial: making notepads

Over the past year I've gotten a lot of requests for personalized notepads, which I always thought I'd need to have done at a print shop, so I never offered them. But a few weeks ago I learned from the very kind and generous Kelli at The Hootie Coo Card Company that I could make them myself (easily!) so I began offering them on my website.

They've been selling pretty well, and today I thought I'd photograph the process and put together a little tutorial. So here's what I do...

First I cut an 8.5" x 11" chipboard sheet into fourths for the backs of the notepads (my notepads measure 4.25" x 5.5").
Then I print the design 4-per-page on 24-lb 8.5" x 11" paper and cut those into fourths.Next I stack 40 sheets of paper on top of each chipboard sheet and top each notepad with a blank page (so the top page doesn't get messed up).
I had considered buying a padding press like this one, but I decided to just use some heavy books or something similar to weigh the pads down until I see how well these sell.
Next I just brush on a couple of coats of padding compound, letting it dry completely in between coats.
Once the final coat is dry I gently peel apart the notepads and peel off the blank top sheet...
add a Sarah & Abraham sticker to the back...
and package them in a clear plastic sleeve... easy-peasy!

31 comments:

Kasie @ ~The Art of Life~ said...

You are so sweet to share your process.
And the notepads are beautiful!
:)

Inkspot Workshop said...

No Way!! It's really that easy? I never knew!! Thanks so much for sharing. This is going to be my Spring project. Can you get this adhesive anywhere?

Sara Tams said...

I impulsively bought a quart from iShop because it wasn't very expensive, and I didn't want to spend any more time looking for it. But a quart is probably enough to make thousands of notepads, and the lid is already starting to get stuck sometimes. So today I'm going to go buy some tiny little bottles to divide it up into.

Rachel@oneprettything.com said...

Wow, these are fabulous! Super professional. I love this project, thanks tons for sharing! I'll be linking as well.

Robyn said...

Thanks for posting this! I sent the link to my hubby to help him w/ one of my Christmas gifts.

Amy from Texas said...

Thanks for sharing this process. I thought you'd have to go to a printer also. Very neat!

I just discovered your blog through One Pretty Thing. Don't know where I've been?? ha!

Spotted Sparrow said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. I've been looking for ways to reuse scrap paper and this is perfect!

Sarah said...

Wow that is easy! That 'stuff' to adhere them all together - can you use anything (craft glue etc) or do I ask for that stuff when I got to the art supply shop?

WendyLou said...

WOW!!! This sounds soos easy!! Thanks for sharing!!

Kate said...

That is a great tutorial and inspires me to try making some notepads soon.
I have been looking for a better paper cutter then what I have. Mine is a Fiskar that was made to do only a few sheets of paper. Its more for scrapbooking then anything more. The hard to believe thing is that it actually occasionally cuts wavy or crooked. I need a better one and would love to know what you have and recommend.

bridgett said...

Wow, thanks for sharing! Random question, what do you use to score your folded cards? And do you love your paper cutter?

Sara Tams said...

Thanks so much for all the comments!

I'm not sure if you can buy the padding compound at a craft supply store or if you could use other glue instead. The padding compound I bought says that it's "a brush-on, water-based adhesive for padding, tabbing, and bookbinding... dries fast to a flexible coating."

I love my paper cutter (http://sarahandabraham.blogspot.com/2008/06/new-paper-cutter.html), but I've heard there's one that you insert the paper into, turn a handle, and it cuts the paper in half and then in half again. If I had it to do over again, I'd probably buy that one instead.

Michelle said...

Wow! The stuff ya learn! Thanks for sharing!

Michelle
http://www.everydaycelebrating.com

Marian said...

Hi! i just found your blog by...chance who knows! following links.
Thanks for the tutorial! seems easy...seems! I need to find something to cut paper neatly enough ...
THanks!

gracie girl notes said...

You are so resourceful! I am one of the many that suggested notepads. I had no idea there was a way to do it without buying the machine. Very fun. Keep up the good work and stay sane this holiday season! Glad to see you have some in-house help.

bridgett said...

Hi again! I was going back to read some of your Q + A's, and was wondering, when you contact websites and blogs, how do you approach them? What do you say?

Sara Tams said...

Hi Bridgett,

Thanks for your comment! Here are links to a couple of great articles with advice for contacting blogs...

http://www.modishblog.com/modish/2008/09/modish-market-5.html

http://www.modishblog.com/modish/2008/05/make-out-with-m.html

Good luck!

Sara

Jaimee said...

Wow, you make it look so easy.
I may even attempt my hand at it :)

tamy@simplymein said...

you make it all look so easy!
thanks for sharing
your stationary supplies are gorgeous..
happy holidays
xo

Susie said...

Thank you for explaining this process! Have you tried putting a piece of plastic on top of your quart jar? I remember my mom used to do that with her glue bottles when I was a kid and it seemed to work pretty well for her. :)

Michelle said...

Great tutorial... Thank you for giving us creative folks out there yet another project for the collection!

Your designs are gorgeous.

hootiecoo said...

How sweet for you to mention me! I was very happy to help - love what you did with it! Way to go!

Kelli
www.hootiecoo.com

Jaimee said...

How wonderful of you to share...I'm going to give it a go and see if I've got the patience for such a project!

kristir said...

Did you ever buy the press...or did you stick with using a heavy book?

kristir said...

thanks!

Sara Tams said...

During this past Christmas season there were several days when I was making 30+ notepads at a time, and I'm still just using boxes of poly sleeves and reams of paper to weigh them down.

mdh design said...

Hey Sara. I made several attempts at making pads - thanks to you! They are each getting a little bit better. I feel like my sheets don't tear off easily- do you think I am applying too much glue? The paper and print looks good, but don't feel like the glue job at top looks great and sometimes tears the paper. Did you have problems with this when you were starting- finding the perfect amount of glue to apply so it sticks, but also tears crisp and clean? Thanks so much!

Sara Tams said...

I haven't had any problems with the sheets not tearing off easily... I would guess that you're probably using more glue than I do. I brush it on as lightly as possible, just so it covers the paper in a very thin coat. And then I do a second coat, also very thin, allowing it to dry completely between coats.

Sarah said...

This is wonderful! I'm in love with your etsy shop and just found your blog! Thanks for sharing your process!
-Sarah from Create Studio
www.createstudio.blogspot.com

Sherman said...

I've been looking for ways to reuse scrap paper and this is perfect! Thanks for the idea!

Stephanie's Stuff said...

you can use Eileen's Tacky Glue as well... I've done this for years using it.... it works too! :)

Thanks for sharing the other glue!