Daydreaming on Paper
August 2020
Make Your Own Sticky Notes

Every now and then, I find myself revisiting old techniques or projects, usually out of necessity. This time, it was DIY sticky notes. Although I rarely have occasion to write notes to others these days, sometimes I really do need one. I never buy sticky notes because the stores in my area never have what I want, and I'm not willing to order something that mundane online. Plus, sticky notes - especially the solid colors - tend to come in quantities that I don't really want or need. So, when I needed a few notes recently, I put on my DIY hat and made some myself.


The good thing about making your own sticky notes is that you don't need to spend much money to make them. At most, you may need to buy a restickable glue stick, which I was able to get at a local office supply store for a couple of dollars. Other than that, the only thing you need is paper, and that's where the fun begins.

As I've mentioned before, I have lots of paper and paper scraps. Lots of paper and paper scraps. For my recent sticky note project, I used leftover odds and ends from various art projects - both solid colors and patterned pieces. For most of the notes, I used a paper trimmer to cut the paper to the sizes that I wanted. You could also use a pair of scissors for this, assuming that you are much more patient than I am. I also got out my large paper punches and made some cute shaped notes. I then used a rubber stamp to add my name to some of the notes, but I left most of them blank.

Once I had all of the shapes and sizes that I wanted, I simply swiped the back of each note with the glue stick a few times, then let them dry for a minute or two before sticking them together in pads. I found a piece of salvaged plastic (from a report cover) and used that to make a sheet of sticky notes that fits into my planner. That's it!

My custom sticky note assortment

Other ideas

The best part about making your own sticky notes is that you can make them the exact colors, sizes, and shapes that you want, using papers that you love or repurposing paper that would otherwise be thrown away:

  • Decorated paper left over from art projects
  • Vellum or tracing paper
  • Graph or dot grid paper
  • Lined notebook paper
  • The clean sides of printed paper
  • Paper salvaged from mail or other printed material that comes into your life

Customize your notes:

  • Add your name or monogram
  • Use rubber stamps to create graphs, grids, or lines in unusual colors (not just the standard blue or gray)
  • Make notes in hard-to-find colors or whatever your favorite color is
  • Use smaller paper punches to make cut-outs in your notes
  • Use rubber stamps to add sayings, instructions, sentiments, and motifs (this could also be good calligraphy or lettering practice)
  • Make your own to-do list or habit tracker notes

Why bother?

For me, the only reason that I need to make something myself is the fact that I will then have exactly what I want. I do not have to settle in any way. For a type-A personality like mine (which is cleverly concealed behind a type-B persona), that's worth a lot by itelf. I can make sticky notes and flags to suit my needs alone, and I can make as few or as many as I need. Making them myself also helps me use up my paper stash, and because I'm using scrap or salvaged paper, I don't feel guilty when I use my notes as intended for one-time messages and other temporary uses.

In addition to those reasons, making my own sticky notes just fits into my overall DIY aesthetic. I have one less thing to buy and store, and I make them from materials that can be used for many other purposes. Besides, making sticky notes is just the kind of pleasant, mindless but useful project that is perfect for long stay-at-home coronavirus isolation days - or just a rainy afternoon. Why not give it a try?


Happy Scribbling!


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