TYS believes in open source information. Since this is a small (not even considered grassroots) venture, I have the advantage of not having to answer to anyone but myself. Which is why I am providing you with the knowledge to make your own reusable notebook. The cost for The Notebook 2.0 was about $11 (this cost only reflects the materials used and binding cost, not the price of the laminator, thermal pouches, or printing cost.) If there is enough of a demand, I may consider making and selling notebooks in the future. However, I am trying to avoid it, because after having done the math I realized that I would have to charge at least as much as the legit companies to make them.
Step One: Select and print your template
Choose the template that you prefer at the bottom of the page, print as many pages as you’re going to want in your notebook. Feel free to customize as much as you want, maybe you want 5 grid sheets, 5 college ruled and a blank “white board” space. You may even want to make your own templates from scratch, go for it! All I used was Microsoft word and inserted a table, though you may have to play around with table properties to get the desired effect.
Tip: Don’t go overboard on the amount of pages you put in your notebook. It will just encourage you to put off wiping down the pages. For a 4 class workload I made a 25 sheet book which effectively gives me 6 sheets (12 pages) per class, plenty if I want to wipe down once a week.
Step Two: Laminate
You can try out self-adhesive sheets, but if you want better results I would buy a cheap heat laminator, and get to laminating with Thermal Laminating Pouches. My laminator recommends 5mm pouches for standard paper, but I used 3mm without any problem. I would venture a guess that the 5mm sheets would make the pages unnecessarily stiff. I’m a newbie at this whole process so I’m still experimenting with different methods. You can also take your pages to get laminated, but it’s fairly expensive and after a dozen or so pages you might find that you should have just gotten the $20 laminator.
Step Three: Trim
You can opt out of this step when heat laminating if you want to be assured that your pages won’t come apart or that the alcohol and ink won’t leak in between the lamination. The downside is that if you need to make sure that you’re a rock star when it comes to lining up the pages, and there will be downsides when it comes to binding. If you try the self-adhesive method you won’t have a choice, you’ll have to trim.
There are two ways to go about trimming. First you can laminate then cut the laminated border, I just use a pair of scissors but I am considering buying a paper trimmer to make the process faster and neater. The downside to this method, as I mentioned above, is that the protective seal around the page will likely break allowing moisture in. If your careful when you wipe down the page there shouldn’t be an issue.
The second method is to cut the lamination pouches before you run it through the laminator. Make sure you leave a little extra around the page so that the sheet can form a seal. I haven’t tried this method but I can see the advantages.
Step Four: Bind
I don’t know how binding will work out if you don’t trim the excess lamination around the paper. I’m not saying it’s impossible, I just haven’t tried. My guess is that unless you get a custom binding job, that the excess lamination will stick out from the cover.
There are several ways in which you can bind your book. You can buy a spiral binding machine and do it yourself, you can three hole punch the sheets and put them in a three-ring binder or folder. There might even be a way to bind the pages like a traditional notebook, though I have not and probably will not ever attempt it. I chose to take the book to my local office supply store and have them do a rush binding job for $6.47. I had the front and back cover bound in black vinyl and black plastic spiral bind. I find that the plastic binding is more durable and doesn’t bend like metal binding.
The links below are PDF downloads of templates that I have made so that you can fully customize your notebook. They are all two pages, so that you can simply open them, and print them double-sided. I’ve set it up this way so that you can make as many or as few copies as you want. Please let me know if any of the links are broken.