I’ve been pondering this for a while. How do I make a notebooking journal for my son to use that is sturdy, expandable, and at the same time attractive enough to get him excited. We are using a science curriculum that has lots of great printables but no place to put them. I want him to start keeping good records of our work. He loves the cutting and taping of his projects into lapbooks. Notebooking seems like the perfect solution. In fact, we are already using notebooking materials extensively for both Caleb and his sister, but finding an attractive way to store all of our papers has proven elusive.
A few days ago, I started thinking about my blog planner. The one I printed last fall, covered with card stock and took to the office store. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted for a notebooking journal, but it was closer then the things I could find ready-made. How could I change that design to fit my needs? I decided that I needed card stock pages for sturdiness, and an extra large spiral binding for expansion.
Before heading out to the office store this morning I asked Caleb what color was his favorite and his answer was blue. Once I got to the store this presented an interesting dilemma. I wanted to get the strongest card stock available and at this store that was 110 pounds. Sadly, the only blue available at this weight was a pastel which is not exactly what he had in mind. Nevertheless, I picked up the mixed package of 110lb card stock and headed to the copy/print area of the store.
Here I started quizzing the store clerk about my options. Would a larger then necessary coil work so that we could paste things into our books? Yes. What kinds of covers were available? I settled on a black vinyl back and a clear plastic front cover. Perfect for my boys, but I am pretty sure my girls will want their backs to be a different color when I repeat this process! I asked the clerk to bind each of the colors in the package into a separate book, which would give me five books for Caleb to choose from.
I figured that was okay because he is only seven and we have plenty of time to use those other books. The only thing left to do was place my order and wait! The cost of each book came to almost exactly $5. After I got home, I found a coupon which would have reduced this cost by 20%! (Learn from my mistake and always look for those coupons before you leave home .) Plus, I earned teacher rewards on my purchase.
After arriving home, Caleb and I decided we needed to customize the cover a bit. We took a full-sheet printable label and created a cover on the computer. We made sure to include enough margin that it would fit on his book.
We also made sure to leave plenty of room in case he wants to draw a picture on his cover later. We attached this to the first cardstock page of his journal so that it would show through the clear plastic cover. This really helped him get excited about his very own notebooking journal. We made it his very own! (Notice he chose the grey color and not the pastel blue.)
Wow, great idea! I didn’t realize that getting them bound at an office supply store would be so inexpensive! 🙂 Thanks for the idea!
I didn’t know either Morgan, until I went to go get my blog planner bound this summer. I was in shock. I said, “Wow, I should have started doing this sooner.” 🙂
What a great idea! I’ve grown to love stopping by a convenient office store to have something spiral bound. It makes my life so much easier to have something all neatly gathered together.
I know! I need to take my new Bible Memory Games book over there. Wish I’d thought of that.
Erin - The Usual Mayhem says
I love the idea of using all cardstock – it might actually stand up to my son’s use/abuse of it! Thanks for sharing.
Yes! Especially since I used 110 lb cardstock instead of 65lb card stock. I’m pretty excited to put them to the test. We’ve already started taping things in!
I’m new to notebooking so please forgive me if the answer to my question is an obvious one 🙂 Are you planning to glue the notebook pages onto the card stock pages as you complete studies or are you planning to add the pages to the binding itself? Thanks!
My kids like to cut out and glue different parts from their notebooking pages into the journal. We use notebooking pages, lapbook elements, and even evidence from nature or artwork.
We actually use sticky tabs from my scrapbooking supplies so I should not have said glue…
I am curious about this and new to note booking. I am not sure if you can answer these but here are some questions: How many pages is each book?
They have an online site to print but it seems like it charges more because it acts like I want to print out every page when I really need it blank.
Also what weight card stock did you get?
I’d like to stick with glue but do you think I need a stronger one than just plan Elmer’s?
Amy Blevins says
That book has 100 pages of regular card stock from the office supply store, but you can put however many pages in it you want, and can use any weight of card stock.
Love this idea. Been looking for a sturdy way to organize recipes & this would be perfect for that too since I can paste in new ones. Thanks for sharing.
yes! What a fabulous idea! I think my girls might need to make recipe books now 🙂
Heather Brandt says
How many pages did you put of cardstock in each notebook?
Heather, I just used all of the cardstock from the pack I purchased. There were 50 pages of each color, so each book is 50 pages.
Vicki Arnold says
This is awesome! I am looking into using notebooking in our next school year, I like that this will help me use both notebooking and the aspects of lap booking that my kids like. Thank you for sharing!
Megan, this is for work in the upcoming year, basically until he fills the book. We just started a new Science book as our curriculum, so it was perfect timing. I used 50 pages in each book because that is what came in the package of cardstock. All the pages are matching blank cardstock. When he finishes a printable page or mini book, we cut it out and put it into the notebook using scrapbook sticky tabs. If you are finishing up your year, this would be perfect to make and start with at the beginning of your next school year!
We LOVE notebookingpages.com and use those a ton, but we also love to use elements from lapbooks, things we find in nature, artwork, coloring pages, etc to really spice up our notebooking journals. We attach everything with sticky tabs from my scrapbook supplies. We use the lined pages from notebookingpages.com when they need to write on lines, although sometimes the printables that come with our curriculum already have lines. The spiral binding makes it more like a real book, something permanent and precious for keeping. If I use a 3-Ring binder we tend to throw things away at the end of the year and re-use the binder.
Oh, yes I didn’t notice that part. I used plain color cardstock as our base, and then we stick things in as we create.
Leslie C says
I haven’t done any notebooking with my 3 boys, but what came to mind as I saw this is to make one for all of the random papers for them to glue in… you know pictures they draw in sunday school, papers they do at co-op… Stuff that they treasure that just becomes clutter and eventually hits the trash.
That’s such a great idea Leslie! You can also take pictures of each and every big project that won’t fit in the book on it’s own merit and then just let them tape the picture in! We printed out some pictures of Caleb with his rock treasures today on sticky label paper and he just stuck them right in his journal like a sticker.
You know, I’ve been using a binder, but it is so big and bulky, and I never know where to put the beasts. This is a really great idea!
Kelli Wood says
I guess I am a little confused on this. What is inside the pages? Do you have a photo you could share. I am new to notebooking and would love to see an example. Thank!!!
If it is easier you can email me at: [email protected]
I wish I had seen this post months ago. As silly as it may sound I searched for the perfect notebook for weeks. I looked into art journals with the heavy card stock but with 5 girls and lots of notebooking subjects the cost was too high, and we ended up settling for spiral notebooks. I am so exited about this idea, and can’t wait to get these done for the fall. Thank you!
Amy Blevins says
I’m glad you found us! (and I don’t think it’s silly at all!)
I love this! My kids burn through sketchpads… they always want the ones with blank pages and spiral bound (because the glued ones fall apart), which cost a mint. I think they’d be so happy with these, and being able to personalize the cover to boot! Thanks for the easy genius idea :).