Often Zhan

7 minute read

However, the attractive convenience of disposable cups and bottles seems to always be an inhibiting factor when it comes to going packageless: if you buy just one cup of coffee or tea in a disposable cup every day, you’ll end up creating about 23 lbs of waste in one year.

Packageless Simply by Christine


Following the advice of another blogger, I decided to collect all of my garbage for a month to see how wasteful I was. After a month, I was surprised at how much non-recyclable and non-compostable items I bought. One area of improvement was reducing my use of disposable coffee cups. Since a large majority coffee cups are generally not recyclable or compostable, I had to throw them away in the garbage can.

Last week, I had a brilliant idea: I should make booklet covers out of coffee cups! There is just enough paper from the coffee cup to for a small moleskine-sized booklet cover. So I disassembled one of my coffee cups apart, and to my surprise, the large (Venti-sized) coffee cup had just enough paper to make a medium sized (3 12” x 5 12”) notebook.

I looked around the internet to see if anyone else has thought of this but couldn’t find a thing. So, I decided to make a tutorial about how to make a coffee cup booklet.

Tools and Materials


  • 20 oz Large Coffee Cup (Venti)
  • Paper
  • Staples

Basic Tools

  • X-Acto knife
  • Ruler
  • Stapler
  • Scissors

I used specialty tools in this tutorial. However, this booklet can be made with the basic tools described above. Here are the following tools that I used to make my booklets:

Specialty Tools

  • Paper Guillotine
  • Paper Corner Cutter
  • Saddle Stapler
  • Scissors


The directions are fairly straight forward. However, one of the difficulties in this project is the process of disassembling the paper coffee cup. Since they’re designed to be watertight, the paper is lined with plastic, and they are made with a thick stock paper which makes it difficult to tear apart without wrinkling or damaging the paper.

Step 1: Peel Back the Paper Cup Lip

Here is a part of the paper cup lip partially peeled back.

The lip of the paper is folded back to hold the lid in place, add structural stability at the top, and create a watertight seal at the top. The paper is rolled outward, so you have to unroll it so you can can cut along the seam in Step 2.

Step 2: Cut along the Seam

Cut at the center of the seam all the way to the bottom of the cup.

Cut at the center of the seam all the way to the bottom of the cup.

Next, you need to cut along the seam of the cup. At first, I tried to rip the cup apart at the seam, but the cup was glued so tight that I often found myself ripping the sides of the cup making it useless. I just used some scissors to cut the seam from the top all the way to the bottom.

Here is the bottom of the cup cut in half.

Afterwards, keep cutting straight until you cut the base of the cup in half.

Step 3: Remove the base of the cup.

Be careful not to rip the sides of the cup used for the booklet.

The bottom of the cup is useless, so you need to carefully remove it. Take care to pull slowly so the base peels away rather than ripping the sides of the paper cup.

Optional: Step 3.5: Flatten out the sides of the cup

Putting the booklet cover under a heavy weight helps flatten it out.

The paper cup naturally curves to take the shape of a paper cup. You can flatten it out by…

curling it the opposite direction against the edge of a hard surface (like curling ribbons) ironing it out using an electric iron pressing it with a heavy object for several weeks.

The booklet on the left has been in my pocket for more than two weeks while the booklet on the left is brand new.

However, this is not necessary in my opinion because as you put the booklet in your pocket, it will loosen up and conform to the shape of your fat thigh.

Step 4: Cut the Outline of the Book Cover.

I used the Moleskine book cover as a template.

After the paper cup is dissassembled, you need to cut out the general shape of a booklet.

Add some extra margin space when cutting the booket for Step 5.

Leave extra margin space because you will need to cut the top, bottom, and foredge of the booklet. You also need to angle the template so that the image on the front cover is centered on the booklet. Also, if you center the front cover, the back cover will not be centered.

Step 5: Cut and Fold all Pages of the Booklet

Here are some of the folded pages for the booklet.

I used fountain-friendly archive-quality paper for my notebooks.

Get some paper, cut them to a manageable size, and and fold them in half. Step 6: Bind/Staple the Booklet Together. Once you have all your pieces, you need to put everything together and staple bind them. If you don’t have a saddle stapler, that’s OK. You can staple them using a regular stapler and then fold afterwards. Another method is punch holes in all the pages and fold the staples in by hand.

This is saddle stapler I used.

I marked the edges of the paper with a pen, but next time, I will probably use a pencil so I can erase the markings.

If you want, you can sewn-bind them instead of stapling them.

Step 6: Cut the Edges

This is the paper guillotine that I used to cut the edges.

This is the paper guillotine that I used to cut the edges.

Lastly, you need to cut the top, bottom, and fore-edge of the book. I used a paper guillotine to cut the paper, but you can use an X-Acto knife to cut the edges of the booklet.

Step 7: Cut the Corners

I used an industrial paper corner punch, but you can use an X-Acto knife to cut the corner as well.

Once you cut the top, bottom, and fore-edge, you need to cut the corners of the paper to help prevent folded corners. Also, it just looks aesthetically pleasing.

Step 8: Use your Journal and Enjoy

I tested the paper with several types of pens.

You should celebrate! You are saving the environment and also have a nifty new notebook.

#Pictures of Coffee Cup Notebooks

Here is a few samples of my final product.

Here are some sample front covers of my freshly made booklets.

Here are some sample back covers of my freshly made booklets.

The industrial punch is useful for making consistent corners.

Here are all the booklets I made.

Thoughts and Reflections

There are two reasons why I like making these notebooks:

It’s better for the environment

The general rule is that you should reduce, reuse, and then recycle. From now on, I’m going to buy a thermos so I buy less paper cups. However, since I already bought these paper cups, I might as well put them to good use by recycling them rather than throwing them away.

However, not all of the paper is used from the coffee cups so there is still some waste.

Waterproof Cover

Since the paper was originally designed to keep in water, it’s reasonable to assume that it will help keep water out. Thank You for Reading! This tutorial is a small part of my larger project to make my own book business. If you want to see my current progress, you can take a look at my book design project page.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for improvement, please comment below.