While phones and virtual sticky notes are good places to store ideas, I always make it a point to transfer them to a notebook every once in a while so they don’t become scattered and forgotten beneath all my other files. If you’re like me and still rely on good ol’ pen and paper, then this super affordable and customizable DIY Idea Notebook is for you!
What you’ll need:
– A small binder notebook (make sure it’s small enough for you to bring anywhere!)
– Colorful paper, cardstock, magazine pages…anything you want as notebook dividers
– Hole puncher
– Double-sided tape
– Pencil, eraser, and ruler
Let’s get started:
1. Decide how many categories you need for your ideas. This will help you organize them so you can easily find which part of the notebook you wrote that one idea instead of going through each page.
You can start with broad categories like Illustration, Stories, and Random, then adjust later on when you notice a pattern of the type of ideas you usually get. The great thing about using a binder or filofax organizer is that it’s flexible enough to adapt to your needs! For my notebook I need 7 categories: Stories, eCards, Short Animation, GIFs, Illustration, Products, and Random.
2. Next, make a divider for each of your categories. This is the fun part as you can be as colorful or as minimalist as you want with your design! Use anything for the divider: patterned paper, card stock, gift wrapper, magazines, that pretty packaging of the thing you bought just cause you like the box, etc.
Trace the dividers that already came with your binder on the paper you want to use, then cut. If you’re using thin paper and you want the divider to be thicker, then stick it to a folder using double sided tape (not glue! You don’t want your paper to get wrinkly).
3. Make a front and back cover using the same method as the divider except without the tabs. Again feel free to decorate it as you will with any materials you want! You can label your cover simply as “Ideas”, keep it plain, or write an inspiring quote!
For my cover I wrote “One at a Time” to remind myself not to get too overwhelmed by trying to do everything at once (I also have this phrase pinned to the corkboard above my desk).
4. Make your idea notebook truly yours by customizing it to your needs. Here are some ideas to get you started:
– Insert a sketchbook section by cutting some blank or graph papers in the same size as your binder paper, then punch holes in them so you can add it in the notebook.
– Create a pocket to store pictures or other flat things. Cut and fold an envelope out of thick paper in a size that will fit your binder, then stick it to one of your dividers (or even make a separate divider just for the pocket).
– Keep your notebook closed by tying some elastic around the width of it, then glue the elastic to the back cover. The elastic can also be used as a pen holder.
5. The last step is to actually use your brand spankin’ new idea notebook! No matter how silly, or crazy, or vague your idea is, WRITE IT DOWN! It will probably evolve to something else later on anyway, but at least you’ll have a place to start when you need to come up with a concept or project.
Did you find this tutorial helpful? I know it’s not my usual art blog post but since my previous idea notebook — an ordinary spiral notebook— is almost full, I thought to share the process! Also, I feel like this is still related since it has to do with generating ideas for art.
Let me know in the comments what you think! Do you also keep a notebook for ideas, or do you list them someplace else?