Charley Harper Notepad Tutorial


Last week, while reading this post from Creature Comforts I discovered that Old Navy (of all places) was carrying a line of Charley Harper products! I was so thrilled, that I dashed out the very next day to pick up my own set of memory game cards to make these gift tags. When I got back home I realized that there wasn’t really any way that I would be able to make the gift tags the same way because I don’t have a drill to make the hole (in my excitement to purchase the set I completely forgot this detail). So, I stared at the colorful box of cardboard tiles for a good fifteen minutes trying to figure out how I was going to use them, which eventually gave me the idea for this tutorial: a colorful notepad using recycled papers.


I am really pleased with how the project turned out and figured I just had to share this before Christmas because it will make the PERFECT last minute gift for anyone that you know. It will take less than 10 minutes once you have the materials rounded up, and it cost less than $1 per notepad to make! Here’s the tutorial:



1. Charley Harper Memory Card Set (can be found at Old Navy for $14.99 for the boxed set of over 75 cards)

2. Scissors

3. Krazy Glue (or something similar that is quick drying)

4. A Stapler

5. Embroidery Floss (optional) Yarn or twine would work too

6. Old catalog (I used an old Anthropologie catalog because the pages have a matte finish, which is ideal for this project – glossy pages are not as easy to write on)

7. Found various pieces of paper (from an old notebook, old mail envelopes, old holiday cards, etc)

How To:


1. Choose the card you would like to use for the top portion of your notebook.

2. Place card down a piece of paper and use it to create a template with the proper dimensions. You do not want to simple trace around the card because you need to allow for room for actually notes. So, use the card as a guide for the width of your template and then choose desired length (I cut my paper about 6 inches long).

3. Cut out created template.

4. This is the foundation for the rest of the notebook. Use your newly cut template to trace that same size rectangle onto the pages from an old catalog.

5. Now, cut your magazine rectangles to size, ensuring that they are all the same dimensions. 


6. I also cut graph pages from an old journal and some ruled paper to mix and match. You will want to have anywhere from 20 to 50 rectangles in total cut to size for your notepad.

7. Once that is complete, organize your pieces of paper. I chose to randomly rotate in catalog pieces, graph pieces, and ruled paper pieces. Then staple all the paper together towards the very top.

8. Next you will want to grab your Charley Harper memory game card. You are almost done!


9. Next, flip you card over and apply  a generous amount of glue to the entire card, making sure you get the corners and edges fully covered.

10. Flip your card back over and immediately apply to the top of your newly formed notepad (on top of the staples). Push down for about 20-40 seconds.

11. After that, flip your notebook over to the “backside” and press down on the staples with something hard. The goal here is to flatten the area out as much as possible so that you have a flat surface. You will now repeat steps 9 and 10 for the back, so that the notepad is double-sided when finished. Make sure to line up the cards as much as possible so they are even with one another.


12. Wait a minute or two for the glue to dry and then grab your embroidery floss. I like to use a contrasting color to make it look extra fun and funky. Tightly wrap the embroidery floss around the top of your notepad 7-10 times and then double or triple knot the two end pieces on the side of the notepad.


That’s it! You are all done. These are so fun to make and easy too- I made 3 in less than 20 minutes! 


27 Responses to “Charley Harper Notepad Tutorial”
  1. Rikkianne says:

    Oh my goodness! I must brave the holiday madness and get one of those sets 🙂

    Thank you so much! This is a wonderful tutorial!

  2. April says:

    Fantastic idea – thanks for sharing!! Your notepads look like something straight out of a wonderful museum shop.

  3. papernstitch says:

    Thanks Rikki and April…what sweet compliments.

  4. aprintaday says:

    EEEEEE! i LOVE charley harper!!! i’ve been ogling over his 200.00 book for the longest time! thank goodness old navy has some affordable charley things. and this project is awesome.

    oh and have you seen those charley harper children’s books?

  5. Ann Flowers says:

    What a great idea and the notebooks look beautiful. thanks for the tutorial!

  6. Jamie says:

    saw this on craftzine and thought it was a good idea. it seems really easy, so i think i will try it. thanks for creating this.

  7. leah says:

    love it! i love the bright colors and the simple idea made into something fun! yeah you.

  8. ginger says:

    What a great tutorial! Cute little gifts for someone in the hospital too.
    Thank you for sharing it with all of us!

  9. Jessica says:

    My husband’s thing is to jot down thoughts, etc. on 1/4 of a piece of paper, and then recycle/toss it. Just yesterday I told him to start setting them aside and I would make smaller notepads for us, to save money & resources – this is exactly the project I need! Thanks for sharing – awesome idea!

  10. says:

    Wow, thanks for your suggession I never would have seen that had you not mentioned it.Download blog thems at its free site and many more………

  11. Amy says:

    oh, this is great, Brittni!! and super duper on the craftzine inclusion, yipee!!

  12. Notepads says:

    So great, I love the blue one with the bird on it.

  13. TUĞBA says:

    harika yhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  14. Lucia says:

    They are so colorful and funny! I have to do one for myself!

    I featured this tutorial in my Back to School: notebooks post ( 🙂

  15. Hmm it appears like your blog ate my first comment (it was super long) so I
    guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.

    I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any tips for inexperienced blog writers? I’d really
    appreciate it.

  16. Tressa says:

    You’re so cool! I do not believe I’ve truly read a single thing like that before.
    So wonderful to find someone with a few original thoughts on this topic.

    Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This web site is something that’s needed on the internet, someone with a little originality!

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