Thursday , 28 January 2021
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.

Recycled Playing Card Notebook DIY

Playing Card Notebook DIY Project

by handmedowndesigns


playing card note book diy

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! 

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  1. I have done the same thing with leftover show postcards cut in half and tape for the spine part.

  2. Bonus if your Uno cards are vintage! ;)

  3. I love this idea, and yes I do have all the supplies. Me….? I’m a recycler so my sheets will be made from office copy paper trash, I use non-inked sections to make handmade paper. Now I can use the inked parts, the flip side used for the writing surface. Thank you!!!

  4. I’m all over this idea! Next garage sale trips and I’m looking for vintage cards. My son is doing a craft sale at our local library and this would be a fun craft for him to make. Thanks for the idea.

  5. What a great idea, I can’t wait to make one! Your instructions are very clear and concise and the pictures are helpful too! Thank you for sharing!

    Black masking tape would also make an easy binding for your last step, no waiting the glue to dry! I’ve used it on other book making projects and it is very easy to work with. You can find it at Lowe’s in the paint section along with other masking tapes.

  6. We’ve made notebooks like this out of Mac n Cheese boxes, Jello boxes and the favorite… those mini boxes of cereal. These turn out so cute and this is the exact way I made mine too :)

  7. Thanks, everyone! I’m glad to have inspired some of you. This type of project is really ‘outside the box’ for me, but it was a lot of fun.

  8. Thanks for the fun tutorial! I’ve been working on a similar project & checking out different types & ways of binding. This is very simple & works well for a little notebook like this.

  9. Such a fun topic! I love UNO! :)

  10. What a great idea! I make notebooks all the time and I use bathroom silicone or flexible adhesive to do the top. Both products dry in a few minutes, making the whole process quick and easy. Just wipe off the top with a damp sponge to get a nice finish. Doing it that way uses up something I have in the shed and it is very inexpensive and comes in lots of colours.

  11. This is adorable! I’m going to have to make some of these!

    They could even be birthday party favors like if your kid is into Pokemon, use pokemon cards. Or Disney Princess cards for the disney lovers, etc. Thanks for showing how to make the notebooks!

  12. I have made these with cereal boxes and pop tart boxes, etc. so now I’ll have to use some cards! And I have the perfect deck….a HUGE set of Maxine playing cards! Won’t that be fun! Thanks for the great idea.

  13. Love this idea. Thanks for the nice tutorial. I do this for my art sketchbook with whole sheets of typing paper, and heavy paperboard super thick paperboard for the back. I use a “bad” painting on watercolor paper for the cover. I use elmers glue, two coats, and colored duct tape.

  14. A fun project and a good way to use up those ole decks of cards!

  15. How wonderful. My grandkids are always looking for something to sell at their mothers’ garage sales. I can let them make these and sell them cheaply to earn their own spending money. Such a fun plan.

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