Fun Idea: A5 Notebook with Variety Paper

By Jessica Coles

First thing I’m going to say in this post is that I’m showing ONE way to accomplish a project. There are MANY ways it could be done, especially if you have supplies other than the ones I discuss. I’ll try to bring up some of these other methods as I go.

Another disclaimer – if you click on the photos of products, it will take you to the Amazon page for purchasing. Well-Appointed Desk receives a small amount for referring to the product. I’m mainly using this so I can show what was used while legally using the pictures.

I purchased a pad of A4 paper at the San Francisco Pen Show from Yamamoto. This pad of paper includes 18 different types of paper (nearly all are very friendly to fountain pens) with 5 sheets of paper of each paper variety. Ana reviewed this recently.

I had forgotten one important fact. I don’t enjoy using A4 paper. Additionally, I don’t like using pads of paper.


This is why I haven’t touched the item for over a year. I’ve tried. I have opened it up, read the descriptions of each paper type, examined each variety closely… but I have never written on it whatsoever. I realized that I was overwhelmed with the size and with the fact that 5 doesn’t seem like much paper when I’m trying out new paper.

I came to the realization that I was never going to use this paper. I started wishing they had made it in A5 size and into a notebook. That would be amazing. Wait. A5 is just half of A4. What if I folded each sheet in half and sewed stacks of folded sheets together into a notebook…

Too much work.

What if I cut each sheet in half and then had TEN sheets of each kind of paper? One problem solved. But I don’t love loose leaf paper. They always tear or crumple or blow away when the fan is on. 3-hole punch? The three holes are never enough to hold thin paper – they just tear out easily. Should I put reenforcement stickers on each of the three holes?

WAY too much work.

What about disc bound notebooks? The kind that have weird holes punched that look like little mushrooms. You can put them into notebooks, take them out, rearrange the pages, fold the cover completely back on itself, and there are way more than three holes, so it might be less prone to tearing.

The best part? I already had the supplies.

I was briefly in a crafty point of life when I saw Happy Planners at Michael’s. I purchased a hole punch and discs, and got a TUL notebook from Staples… and had used these only a couple of times. Truthfully, I’m just not a crafty sort of person.

So I gathered up the paper, one type at a time. I cut them in half (I used a paper cutting board like this one from Amazon) I already had one because, hey, it took me a long time to realize I am not actually a crafty person:

With each type of paper, I punched holes in it. The mushroom shaped holes. I used this one, but I would recommend the second one instead:

Better choice: 
Very carefully, I put a few sheets of paper (now A5 size) into the disc bound notebook.

On the first page of each group of paper, I wrote the name and weight of the paper.

The result from all of this is exactly what I had craved. A notebook full of many types of fountain pen friendly paper, A5 sized, bound together. AND it didn’t take me long. Maybe an hour total, once I had decided how to go about the process.

I used a notebook with 3/4 inch discs – I think I would recommend 1 inch discs instead. I couldn’t fit all paper into the notebook at the same time. I also found that using a wide 3 or 4 inch rubber band helped to keep the notebook closed and further protected the pages.

One of my favorite benefits of this setup is as a reference when I’m shopping for notebooks that use new kinds of paper. I can try 10 sheets before purchasing an entire notebook.

Hopefully I have given you an entertaining look at this process and some ideas for making paper less intimidating!

DISCLAIMER:  All of the items in this review were purchased by me during the misdirected period of time when I thought I was a crafty person. Some links in this post link to Amazon and Well-Appointed Desk may receive a small amount of the purchase price. Please see the About page for more details.

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10 comments / Add your comment below

  1. What a great idea! I love the ARC system, or the one from Levenger, and use them a lot. I never thought to do this, though!! Thanks!

  2. I have the same issues you had, Jessica, about using the exact same pad of paper. I was itching to begin using it and after writing a sentence or two on one sheet, realized something was wrong…the size. I’m going to try to make a smaller notebook like you did. I’ve never used the discs before but maybe this is the time to try. However, unlike you, I am crafty so I may come up with something else. Who knows? Thanks for the great idea!

  3. Jesi, I have a bot ox Levenger 1 inch Pacifica disks if you want them. Also, have some ink for you. If you are interested, will find a way to get it to you. Good idea and great implementation.

  4. what a great idea! I already print my own planner and use the Circa system. But, I hadn’t thought of this idea, perfect!

  5. Great idea! I already use an A5 discbound planner and have the supplies to make a notebook of sample papers – yet somehow missed connecting the dots. With discbound, you can even include paper of different sizes, such as pages from pocket notebooks. If you can punch it, you can add it to the notebook.

  6. Yup, that’s a good idea.

    I’ve “made” my sketchbook like this for years. I tear down a 22×30 sheet of watercolor paper and it ends up just smaller than the Junior sized Circa (Levinger) book.

    FYI: the images from Amazon appear as blank to me. Viewing on Firefox.

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