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DIY Repurposed Memo Books

DIY Repurposed Memo Books
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Have you ever spent time at a lakeside or mountain camp with friends and family? It is one of my favorite New England traditions.  One thing I have always loved about “camp” is exploring the magazines, puzzles and games that have been used through the generations.  I love finding handwritten scoreboards from previous visits, discovering creative repairs and game piece replacements, and seeing the wear and tear that has accumulated.  Every now and then I  find other treasures, like these vintage cereal and cracker boxes seen below.  Sometimes these items get thrown away, which is the perfect time to repurpose them if you like.  These Repurposed Memo Books are made from games and ephemera that was set aside to be thrown away with spring cleaning.  I used cards from a Clue game and an I Spy game, as well as small snack boxes.  I’m not sure if these boxes of treats were for human consumption or part of a pretend play set, but I knew they’d be great memo book covers.

Repurposed Memo Books made from game cards and snack boxes
Photo/Art by Bonnie Thomas
Repurposed Memo Books made from game cards and snack boxes

Materials needed to make Repurposed Memo Books:

  • Playing cards– the cards can come from a regular card deck or from games like Clue, Monopoly (the real estate cards), or I Spy
  • A hole punch
  • String
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Stapler
  • Plain paper
Repurposed Memo Books
Photo/Art by Bonnie Thomas
Repurposed Memo Books

Directions to make Repurposed Memo Books:

If you are using thin cardboard (i.e. single serve cereal boxes):
  1. Undo the flaps of the box as if you were going to flatten or recycle it.
  2. Fold the left side of the box in half.  This will become part of the binder for the book.
  3. Cut several sheets of paper to fit the size of the book.
  4. Place the sheets of paper in the book and then staple in place.

    Single serve boxes folded in half and paper cut to size
    Photo/Art by Bonnie Thomas
    Single serve boxes folded in half with paper cut to size
If you are using thick cardboard (as in I Spy cards):
  1. Cut several sheets of paper to the same size as the I Spy (or other) cards.
  2. Staple the outer edge of the papers together to create the binding.
  3. Glue one of the I Spy cards to the first page; glue the other card to the back page.
If you are using other playing cards (as in Monopoly or Clue cards):
  1. Cut paper to into sheets the same size as your playing cards.
  2. Use a hold punch to punch 2 holes along the edge of the papers.  Make sure the holes are all punched in the same location for proper book alignment.
  3. Place a sheet of the paper over the playing card and punch 2 holes in the same location.  Repeat this for the other playing card but make sure you have the cards facing the desired directions.
  4. Place the paper between the front and back cover of your memo book.
  5. Make sure all the holes line up.
  6. Tie a piece of string through each hole.  Make a secure knot and then trim the excess string.

    Playing cards turned into memo books
    Photo/Art by Bonnie Thomas
    Playing cards turned into memo books

These memo books are small enough to fit in pockets and purses.  They can also be made as unique gifts for others. If you have a rainy day at a family camp this summer, make some of these whimsical memo books to pass the afternoon with family and loved ones!

Bonnie Thomas


Bonnie Thomas


Bonnie Thomas shares her ideas and instructions for simple Yankee crafts. Bonnie Thomas works full time as a child and family therapist in Southern Maine and is also an established artist and author. She has published two books via Jessica Kingsley Publishing, titled Creative Coping Skills for Children: Emotional Support Through Arts and Crafts Activities and Creative Expression Activities for Teens: Exploring Identity Through Art, Craft and Journaling. Don't miss her latest book, How to Get Kids Offline, Outdoors, and Connecting With Nature
Updated Monday, May 19th, 2014

One Response to DIY Repurposed Memo Books

  1. ginny norwood May 19, 2014 at 8:14 am #

    Love these blogs and all the wonderful ideas. Thanks Ms. Thomas and Yankee Magazine for sharing!!!

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