How to Rip Pages out of a Composition Notebook

Removing pages from a composition notebook is a pain, especially if you don’t know how and you’re just trying to get rid of a few pages where you scribbled some quick notes that don’t belong with the rest of what the composition notebook was intended for. There’s a way to do it, however, that won’t tear the book in half. 

Since composition notebook pages are glued or stitched to the center of the binding and not perforated, you really can’t tear them out. The best way to remove pages is to use either a pair of scissors or carefully use a box cutter to cut and remove the unwanted pages.

A box cutter can really mess things up for you and you don’t want to just lay down the box cutter and start cutting at that first page, as you will inevitably cut through several more pages beneath. This is especially true if you are using a brand new box cutter, with an edge that has never been dulled.

Using a Box Cutter

If you remove pages from your composition notebook, there is one thing that there is no getting around. You will always leave behind a small strip that is still glued or stitched to the center of the binding. 

It’s worse if you use scissors since the scissors just can’t get too deep into the binding, close enough to the edge of the paper, to make a proper cut down the length, without leaving behind a strip. 

Using scissors is the easier method, however, it also leaves behind the most material. So using a box cutter is your best method, so long as you can trace a straight line from the top of the paper to the bottom of the paper. 

  • Start at the top of the page
  • Slide a very thin sheet of cardboard behind the paper that you want to cut
  • Line your razor blade up with the edge of the binding and lean it in 
  • Leaning your razorblade against the binding will control your cut
  • Slide the razor down the paper, cutting it from one end to the other

Be careful not to cut too deep, as the razorblade is more than capable of cutting through the paper, the cardboard behind it, and the next page that is sitting beneath the cardboard. If you do this frequently, keep in mind that nothing dulls a blade quicker than cutting cardboard or paper.

Using a Pair of Scissors

You can certainly use scissors, although the best method for using them will leave quite a large section of paper behind. What you want to do is cut directly down the red line that represents the left margin on the composition notebook paper.

Yes, you will be leaving behind a large strip that may seem out of sorts with the rest of the notebook, however, trying to get deeper in and closer to the binding makes it far more difficult to cut with scissors rather than a razor blade. 

You can use the same technique of kind of leaning the scissors against the binding to create a straighter cut, assuming you want to go deeper than the red line when you cut through your paper. 

The Hard Way

You can also remove the entire binding, so long as you have something that you can replace it with. All of the pages are attached to each other and the binding of the composition notebook with stitching. 

So, the first thing that you want to do is remove the binding and cut the stitching as you pry it off. 

  • Open both the back and the front cover and fold them away from the pages
  • Grab all of the pages in a pinch, close to the binding, and pull just enough to expose the first stitch behind them
  • Use a pair of cuticle scissors to cut the first stitch
  • Continue pulling the binding off slowly, cutting each stitch as it is exposed
  • When you reach the bottom and cut the last stitch, pull the binding and covers away from the pages
  • Now you are free to remove whichever page you want

There will still be an inner binding of sorts. It’s usually a glue-type substance that you can pull off on your own. If it breaks up while you are pulling it, don’t worry, just continue where it broke and pull off the next piece. 

Rebinding the Pages You Want to Keep

Stack the remaining papers perfectly together so that they are all uniform and use a pair of alligator clips—one at the top and one at the bottom—to secure the pages in place. Make sure that you place the alligator clips close to where the new binding is going to go.

There are a number of ways that you can rebind it, many of which involve stitching, with some quicker methods and some more traditional, with both glue and stitches. You can get an idea of how you want to rebind yours here. 

The best way to bind your pages and create a new composition notebook will involve both stitches and glue to hold everything together. There is a multitude of different stitching methods to try as well. 

You can even go the lazy route and bind everything up using nothing more than alligator clips. If you decide to go with glue, the market is saturated with choices and there are plenty of methods and tutorials for how to apply it and how to make your new binding really last. 

All Things Considered

No one buys a composition notebook so that they can spend most of their time pulling pages out of it. They’re not designed for that, however, pulling a page or two every now and then is sometimes a necessity.

Regardless of the “why,” there are several ways to go about it and you can even take them all apart and redo the entire thing in your own, creative way.

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