Back to School Notebook Tutorial

It’s that time of year when students go back to school and college, so I decided to make this fun recycled notebook to slip into their backpacks. The cover is a recycled cereal box with a super simple binding called Ledger binding. This is a great project to make with your kids at home or in the classroom. Here’s how you make it:

Back to School Notebook TutorialGather the following supplies:

  • Empty cereal box
  • 5 sheets 8.5” x 11” copier, lined or grid paper
  • 2 x 16” pieces of thin ribbon
  • 3 beads with large holes
  • Large eyed needle
  • Hole punch
  • Pencil & ruler
  • Craft knife
  • Scissors
  • Bone folder (optional)

Back to School Notebook Tutorial

1. Create the book cover by cutting the cereal box to measure 8 3/4” x 5 5/8”. If you are going to make this with kids, I’d make a template for them to trace around because those measurements are a bit fiddly.

Back to school notebook tutorial

2. Cut or tear 5 sheets of your chosen paper in half horizontally so they measure 8 ½’ ” x 5 ½”. Stack the 10 sheets of paper and fold in half to form one book signature.

Back to School Notebook Tutorial

Back to School Notebook Tutorial

3. Fold the book cover in half and smooth with a bone folder or the back of your scissors. Measure and mark the sewing holes ½” from the side edge and 1¼” from the top edge. And ½” from the side edge and 1¼” from the bottom edge.

Back to school notebook tutorial

4. Place the pages inside the cover and using your marks as a guide, punch the sewing holes – the hole size will depend on the width of your ribbon. In this example the hole and ribbon are 1/8” wide.

Back to School Notebook


5. Thread the needle with the first piece of ribbon. Enter the first sewing hole from back to front. Pull the ribbon so half is left behind as a tail.

Back to School Notebook

6. Wrap the ribbon around the top of the book and come back through the first sewing hole from back to front. Try not to twist the ribbon as you sew.

Back to school notebook

7. Remove the needle and tie the two ribbons into a double knot at the edge of the book.

back to school notebook


recycled cereal box notebook

8. Repeat with the second piece of ribbon at the bottom of the book.

recycled cereal box notebook

9. Thread beads through the two sets of ribbons.

recycled cereal box notebook

10. Thread all 4 ribbons through a third bead and tie in a knot so the bead doesn’t come loose.


11. If you wish, you can score a vertical line on the cover next to the ribbons to make the book easier to open.

Recycled Cereal Box Book

12. Make several of these cute books to put inside your kids’ backpacks on the first day of school.

Back to school recycled cereal box notebookIf you don’t want to miss any more tutorials or projects, please sign up for my newsletter.

Join my newsletter

Subscribe to get updates.

Powered by ConvertKit

3 Thoughts on “Back to School Notebook Tutorial

  1. Mandy Avery on September 9, 2015 at 8:55 am said:

    Brilliant! Love the binding and the simplicity of the whole thing. Great job! I look forward to sharing this with a few friends with school age kids.

  2. Hi, I love the look of these and will try making them with my Girl Scouts.
    Will let you know how we get on with them.

  3. Frances Mackay on July 8, 2016 at 9:36 am said:

    Been a unit helper at my local Brownies and Cubs, this is definitely something we could make with them. Really inexpensive, can’t be many families with young children that don’t eat cereals. Love this idea thanks

Join the conversation

Post Navigation