Use cardboard and paper from your recycling bin and a little yarn to make handy little notebooks, journals, sketchbooks.
In addition to the materials listed, you will need: scissors, 5 push pins, ruler, tapestry needle, sharp knife.
Cut out a rectangle from a cereal box, six-pack carton, or other cardboard packaging from your recycling. If you do use a six-pack carton, you will have to detach the bottle dividers carefully so that your notebook cover does not rip.
Fold the rectangle in half. This is your cover.
Variation: If you don't really like the printing on the box, fold it the other way and your outside cover will be blank.
For this notebook I have used old lab report paper that I must have picked up from a free pile or somebody's curbside recycling bin. It is quad-ruled on one side and blank on the other and every other page is blue.
Fold the paper in half top to bottom and then again side to side.
Now, line up the center folds of the the pages and cover. If your pages stick out beyond the edges of the cover you can trim them. If you do trim the edges of the paper, you may want to shuffle the pages around after you cut, so that the cut marks do not all line up. Alternatively, you can cut each page individually.
I did not trim the pages for this notebook because I like the way the perforated edges look.
Next, mark the holes for sewing the notebook together. Line up your pages and cover and open to the center fold. Hold down one side with a ruler. Mark five evenly spaced points along the center fold.
Then, starting with the center point, stick your push pins all the way through the pages and cover. Make sure that each push pin exits along the fold. Leave the push pins in place. Keeping the push pins in place makes sure that the holes stay lined up until you sew them.
Bind your notebook. Thread a tapestry needle with a length of yarn about three times the length of the notebook. Insert the threaded needle from the outside through the center hole, and pull the yarn through leaving 3 inches or so for tying off. Insert the needle through the next hole in either direction. Continue in the same direction until you get to the end.
When you get to the end wrap the yarn around the binding and pages and pass the needle back into the last hole. Then continue sewing through all of the holes until you get to the other end. Wrap the yarn around the binding and pages again. Then pass the needle into the next hole which will bring it to the outside of the cover.
Pass the needle through the first stitch after the center hole and then tie the remaining lengths of yarn together with a square knot
Finally you will have to "open" the pages by cutting along the top/bottom fold. Use a sharp thin blade, any kind of small kitchen knife will work fine. I used a Swiss army knife. Lay the book flat and insert the knife between the pages you need to open. Hold the book down with one hand and gently slide the knife towards the binding. Be careful not to cut the yarn. Repeat to open all of the pages.
Well, almost...Now you might want to stick your notebook under something heavy for a while to flatten it.