Chica and Jo
...simplifying life
Chica and Jo
...simplifying life
Chica and Jo



Make your own customized picture note pads

by: Jo

Make your own customized picture note pads
Facebook Twitter Pinterest
share it

Mother’s Day is this coming weekend and like a lot of people, I’ve been thinking up a few gift ideas.  Most moms enjoy receiving pictures of their children and my mom isn’t alone there.  Actually, now she prefers pictures of my daughter over pictures of me!  I decided to combine this love of photos with my desire for my mom to be more organized and create customized photo note pads for her.  What better way to remind a relative of a child of happy memories than by putting the child’s photo on his or her grocery list?

First, you will need to select the picture or pictures you would like to use for your note pad.  You can either use the same picture over and over again or make each page a different one, it’s up to you!  For this example, I used one photo for the entire pad.  Once you have your picture selected, download our template and follow the step-by-step instructions included to replace our example photos with your photos.  Print out as many of sheet #2 as you want to make your pad.  I would suggest 10 sheets for a total of 30 pages for your note pad.

Use your paper trimmer or scissors to cut out the individual pages.  Cut a piece of thin cardboard to the same size and put it on the bottom of the stack of papers. This backing will give your pad some stability.


Line up your cut pages and cardboard backing so that the tops are even.  Add a plain sheet of paper to the top and bottom (to catch any drips) and then use binder clips to secure your stack together.  Next, grab some of the padding compound that we sell in our Amazon store and paint a coat of it across the tops of your pages to seal them together into a notepad.  For more detailed images and instructions on this step, check out Chica’s tutorial for making your own custom notepads.


After your pad dries, it is ready to be given as a gift.  Or, you can add a magnetic strip to the back so that it can attach to the refrigerator.  I just cut up one of the many business magnets I receive in the mail and glued it to the back of my pad.


Template for making your own photo note pads.


Make your own customized picture note pads
Facebook Twitter Pinterest
share it

29 comments so far:

  • 1
    Kelly 05/04/2009 at 8:43 am

    This is such a wonderful idea. Thanks for posting this.

  • 2
    Rachel 05/04/2009 at 2:19 pm

    Wow, this is super creative, I love it! I’ll be linking.

  • 3
    Veronica 05/04/2009 at 8:10 pm

    Hi I just ordered your padding compound to make the custom picture notepads. Can you tell me what kind of paper you recommend printing the picture on? Thanks for your time. Neat project can’t wait to make it!

    Veronica Miller

  • 4
    Jo 05/04/2009 at 9:42 pm

    Veronica, for this project, I used regular paper I use for every day printing. You can use nicer paper but it really isn’t necessary. We’ll have your padding compound in the mail tomorrow! Let us know if you have any other questions.

  • 5
    Jo 05/04/2009 at 9:50 pm

    Look at this cute recipe card and grocery list download from Tangarang a reader just sent us:

  • 6
    Veronica 05/04/2009 at 9:53 pm

    Thanks for the info Jo!

  • 7
    Kelly 05/10/2009 at 10:17 pm

    Thank you so much for making the template for this. I used this to make notepads of my kids to give to the grandmas in our life. It was so easy and really turned out beautiful.

  • 8
    Chica 05/11/2009 at 2:09 pm

    Sounds great, Kelly! We’d love for you to add a picture to our Flickr group so we can see. :)

  • 9
    Chica 08/27/2009 at 4:26 pm

    One of our readers, Elsa, shared a photo of the custom photo notepads she made using our tutorial. Check out a photo of her notepads in our Flickr group. Thanks, Elsa!

  • 10
    Elle 12/10/2009 at 6:43 am


    When I tried to change the picture the light bit in the centre to write on disappeared how do I get it back?

  • 11
    Chica 12/10/2009 at 8:02 am

    Hi Ellen. I’m not sure why you had that issue, but you can try hitting “undo” in Word until it gets back to how you want it, then try again. Or you can always just download a fresh copy of the template from our site :)

  • 12
    Carol 05/04/2010 at 2:50 am

    How do I make the photo lighter so you can write over it on the notepad? Or do I need to choose a photo with a lighter tone? There was a box to check, somewhere, for “make transparent” (I think) but I was not able to check that box.

  • 13
    Chica 05/04/2010 at 6:52 am

    Hi Carol. To make the picture appear lighter in our template, you actually need to make the overlaying text box less transparent. To do this, right click on the very edge of the text box and click on the “Format text box” menu item. On the “Colors and lines” tab, you’ll see a slider bar labeled “Transparency”. Our template has this set to 40%, but if you want a whiter text box, just reduce the transparency to a smaller number. Play around to get just the right number for your image.

    Please let us know if this solution helps or not. Good luck!

  • 14
    Carol 05/05/2010 at 2:55 am

    I’m still not getting it… A Right click on the border gets me “format object.” The “Text Box” tab is only dimensions. “Colors & Lines” has the “Semitransparent” box checked only if I choose a color, not “fill effects” and then a photo. No “transparency” slider bar or % in sight…

  • 15
    Carol 05/05/2010 at 3:11 am

    More on photo color density: I am getting the whole note paper photo in the same color density as the border, not faded like your sample templates. What am I doing wrong?

  • 16
    Chica 05/05/2010 at 8:03 am

    Hi Carol. I think the problem is that you’re not right clicking in exactly the right spot. It’s a delicate operation :) I’ve taken a few screenshots to show you what I mean. If you click on the actual photo border, where the arrow is pointing here, you will only get the “format object” option. But if you click inside the text box, where the arrow is pointing here, you will see that a dashed border appears around the text box. Right click on that dashed border, as shown here, and you should get the “format text box” option.

    I’m not sure what is going on with your photo density, but hopefully if you get the transparency adjusted, that will fix it. Let me know.

  • 17
    k 07/01/2010 at 9:59 am

    Hi, what trimmer you use to make trimming of paper even. I can’t do it

  • 18
    Chica 07/04/2010 at 4:30 pm

    Hi k. Trimming the sheets all to the same size is challenging, but if you measure carefully, you should be able to get really close. I like using a good paper trimmer like this one.

  • 19
    Alia 09/16/2010 at 6:10 am

    Hi. Just found you guys by accident and am SOOO happy! I SHOULD be grocery shopping for dinner as we just got back from a trip to Dubai! Anyhow. This is the perfect gift for many occasions but for sure for two ladies that I know that are not that good of friends and are both having babies soon.

    Thanks! You guys are DEFINITELY bookmarked!

  • 20
    Chica 09/16/2010 at 9:41 am

    So glad you found us, Alia. Crafting and reading blogs is definitely more fun than grocery shopping!

  • 21
    Suzie 03/13/2011 at 6:20 pm

    Someone recommended this tutorial to me as I do custom beach writings. I’m stocking up on pads for Mother’s Day! Thanks!

  • 22
    Wendy 05/02/2011 at 1:08 am

    I just found your website! LOVE IT!!!! I started making a custom notepad, but every time I downloaded one of my pictures, it cut off the right side of the picture. Am I doing something wrong? How can I keep this from happening?

  • 23
    Chica 05/02/2011 at 6:57 am

    Hi Wendy. Thanks for the compliments on the site, and we hope you continue to enjoy our project ideas :)

    If you use our picture notepad template, then the photo you embed on the page would need to be the same proportions as the page in order for the whole thing to fit — about 550 x 340 pixels. It sounds like you are using an image that is wider, so the sides are getting cut off. Try either cropping your photo or making the page size wider. Hope that helps!

  • 24
    Patti 11/19/2011 at 1:47 am

    Wow! I am a teacher and happened to stumble upon your website. We will be studying countries and cultures and we will be using the Amazing Race format. Your webpage gave us such great ideas and materials to use! I also love the notepads-They will surely be a holiday gift for the parents. Many Thanks!

  • 25
    Chica 11/19/2011 at 12:04 pm

    So glad we could help you inspire your students. Patti. Hope you enjoy all our projects!

  • 26
    Adelle 11/08/2012 at 4:38 pm

    I had no probelm with changing the photo out, but when I printed it the notepad part is not printing as it shows it should. It is more white and looks like little “x”s all over it???

  • 27
    Chica 11/09/2012 at 8:07 am

    Adelle, I haven’t seen that result before. Perhaps there’s an issue with your printer or your computer’s print settings?

  • 28
    Margaret 01/08/2017 at 9:27 pm

    Where do you get the cardboard for the backing or do you not use a cardboard backing? I will be ordering your compound glue!

  • 29
    Chica 01/09/2017 at 5:51 pm

    Margaret, the best type of cardboard to use is chip board, but if you can’t find it or want to be thrifty, you can find similar cardboard around your house. Try using the backing from old notebooks, or scavenge from folders, cereal boxes, or packing materials. Whenever I order postage stamps online, they always come in flat bags with the perfect piece of chipboard inside, and I save them up for notepads!

leave a comment:

submit comment

We are two best friends sharing our creative journey. You never know what we will be into each time you visit. We could be throwing a unique party, refinishing a flea market find, or whipping up a new cupcake recipe. We invite you to join us for the ride as we tackle life one project at a time!

Please visit Chica and Jo at for more DIY projects and clever ideas!