How to Make a Phone Book

Illustration by Ryn Gargulinski

Things You'll Need

  • Standard size binder with clear plastic insert on front
  • 26 plastic business card holder pages
  • 26 plastic tabs
  • Index cards
  • Thin piece of 8.5-inch by 11-inch cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Old magazines, illustrations, photos
  • Rubber cement
  • Superglue

With a ratty cover, crossed-out numbers and names that are no longer even alphabetized, your phone book is in a sorry state. It definitely needs an update. Rather than buying a new phone book that will eventually end up like your old one, you can make a phone book that can be updated, kept neat and organized. To top it off, you can give it an incredibly creative cover.

Create your cover. Cut interesting words, phrases, pictures and other visuals from magazines, newspapers and other publications. Pick a theme to increase the fun. Make it all phone-related, all flowers, all animals or some other overall theme. Use actual photos of the contacts who appear inside your phone book. Once you've collected your visuals, use rubber cement to glue them onto the heavyweight paper to create a collage. Once the glue is dry, place your cover collage in the binder's front insert.

Set up your inside inserts. Place the 26 business card holder sleeves inside your binder. Insert labels into the 26 tabs, one for each letter of the alphabet. Use Superglue to attach one tab on the edge of each insert, cascading them from the topmost position on the first page to a slightly lower position on each succeeding page so they are all partially visible when the pages are shut. Your first page should have the letter A, your last page the letter Z.

Start your listings. Insert any of your contacts' business cards in the appropriately lettered sleeve. Make index card contact sheets for people that need them. Place a business card atop an index card, trace the outline and cut around your tracing. Write the contact's name and other information on the index card. Insert in the appropriate page.

Add to the book as needed. Rearrange the card contacts to keep the listing alphabetized as new ones are added. Add extra business card sleeves when you need more space for certain letters, placing the new sleeve behind the appropriate letter.


  • Use multicolored index cards for your handwritten inserts. This adds a splash of color and also lets you color coordinate your contacts. For instance, all family members can be orange, all friends can be green, all business contacts can be yellow. Supplies can be purchased at office supply and craft stores. You can use any width binder, but it should be at least 1 inch thick to hold 26 business card sleeves.