Playing Card Notebook DIY Project



I’ve been taking a bit of a break from sewing this week, and been experimenting with a different type of hand-me-down medium….game cards!

I was wracking my brains trying to think of things around the house that I could play will, mutilate, and re-purpose, and the idea came to me to make pocket-sized notebooks with game card covers.  We just happened to have an old, spare deck of Uno® laying around, so I decided to try using those.  After a few different attempts that I was less than happy with, I finally settled on the method that I’m going to share today.

This notebook is made with a glued edge binding, and it’s very likely that you’ll have all the materials you need right on hand.  Here’s a list:

old deck of cards

plain white paper

ruler with 16th inch marks

straight edge

craft knife or rotary cutter

cutting surface

rubber cement

binder clips or clothes pins

thick colored paper


The first step is to carefully, precisely measure the length and width of your playing card.  Mine measured 2 3/16 by 3 7/16 inches.  Being as precise as you can will help your notebook pages be just the right size without edges protruding in an unsightly manner (of course, careful cutting helps, too!).



Next, taking about 10 sheets of white paper at a time, carefully stack them with edges even, and cut strips as wide as your height measurement.  I like to keep the piles of 10 separated from each other so that I can more easily count out how many pages I’m putting into each notebook.


Repeat the last step, but this time take the strips you just made and cut them into page size pieces the size of your width measurement.


Now the fun part!  Take your deck of cards and choose which one you want as the cover to your notebook and another to be the back cover, then sandwich a stack of paper between the two.  I like to use 40 pieces for each notebook.  I recommend anywhere from 20 to 50 pages.


Now, take your notebook stack and gently tap the sides to get them even, and do the same to the top edge taking care to get this edge as absolutely even and smooth as possible.  You’ll be applying the glue to this edge and you want to ensure that each page has an equal chance to get all glued up!


At this point, take a couple of binder clips and clip your notebook together on either side and rather close to the top edge.  I also like to take a larger binder clip and attach it to the bottom edge to act as a stand for my notebook during this next stage.


O.K., time for the glue!…I love rubber cement, ever since elementary school.  There’s just something so cool about glue that rolls up and rubs away.  Anyway…back to the notebook making!  Paste a good layer of rubber cement along that top edge of your notebook.  Go ahead and slather it on thick, just avoid excessive dripping.  Be sure not to miss any spots.  I also recommend that you brush a little over the edges on the sides a bit.


Now you wait.  Once that layer of glue looks like it’s dried, apply another one.  You need to repeat this step multiple times.  I’ve found that about five layers works pretty good, but you’ll know that you’ve got enough on when the glue starts to build up when it’s dry instead of soaking in.

Once the gluing process is finished, take the strip of colored paper and cut a piece that is between 3/4 and 1 inch wide and only a little longer than the top edge of your pad.


Position the top edge of the pad in the center of the colored strip and bend the edges down onto the pad to form a binding strip that attaches to the front, top, and back of the tablet.


Put a layer of glue on the colored strip, then attach it to the notepad, holding edges down securely for about 20 seconds to allow a bond to form.  Be sure the edges of the strip stay glued securely.  Apply more glue if necessary.


Once the strip is attached, use your craft knife to trim the extra strip from the edges of the notebook.


To ensure a good bond, press the notebook under something heavy and let the glue cure completely.


Now that everything is good and set, you’ve got yourself a handy little pocket-sized notepad.  They make great gifts and are sure to be a fun conversation starter!  Just be sure that you don’t use cards from your kids’ favorite card game…they get a little cranky about that! 🙂


Have fun!




5 thoughts on “Playing Card Notebook DIY Project

  1. Love these…I’ll be looking for them on Etsy and/or Zibbet! ♥

  2. handmedowndesigns

    Thanks, Carol! These are more fun to make and give away than they are worth making to sell, but we’ll see!

  3. What fun! And a wonderfully written and illustrated tutorial! I’ve written these little notebooks on my “To Do” list!

  4. handmedowndesigns

    Be sure to post a link and show us what you come up with, Mollie!

  5. […] usually they’ll tell you WAY more than you want to know!  Also, here’s a super-duper tutorial on playing card notebooks from Malaika at Hand-Me-Down Designs: Playing Card Notebooks by […]

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