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... Daiso Notebooks Review ...


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This is a review of DAISO notebooks. (Singapore)


As I have mentioned in the past , there are "little gems " you can discover in DAISO every once in a while , if you look carefully enough. :D


Lots of products in DAISO are useful , even if not used as originally intended.

When it comes to writing paper, it gets interesting.


If you are looking for FP ink friendly paper, just narrow down your search to anything that is 'Made in Japan'.

There's a very high chance ( in fact, I haven't been disappointed) they perform beyond expectations, especially at such low prices.


Most papers in the stationery section are made for DAISO, from countries where labour costs are still low.

Not surprisingly, becos of mass market products, the quality cannot be expected to be high.

There are writing paper products that are pretty decent , for that price range, but on the whole , most of them cant take FP ink well.


On to my find.


I found these writing pads that are Made in Japan ...


A4 size on the left, and B5 size on the right.

These are 5mm grid section paper.


Pretty thinnish , I reckon about 70g or 65g.

(commonly, photocopy paper is 80g)

Very smooth paper (feels coated but I am guessing)

Smoother than your common photocopy paper.








Then there are these ...

All made in Japan ...


They look very much like APICA notebooks.

These are all smaller than A4, at exactly B5 size.

The white cover , is a pad containing white paper that is blank, unlined. 60sheets


The orange cover , is a pad containing 5mm grid section paper. 40 sheets

The papers are a nice Cream colour


The green cover , is a pad containing 6mm ruled lines 40 sheets.

The papers are the same Cream colour too.


These papers are heavier , I reckon about 80g or 85g.

Very good grammage.


All are very smooth :thumbup:

Smoother than your common copier paper. :thumbup:



Look at the back cover for the 'Made in Japan' label ...


White covers (white paper, plain , unlined)



Orange covers (cream paper , 5mm grids )



Green covers (cream paper , 6mm ruled)




Looks so much like APICA





Made in Japan










When you see these coloured cover notebooks in DAISO, just grab them before they disappear off the shelves.

Figure out later how to use them.

I will show you some ways.

soon ...

(no prizes for guessing ... :D :D )

Edited by TMLee
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Posted Images

Here's how they stand up to FP ink ...


Beginning with the White Cover notebook.


Its smaller than A4 size.

Its exactly B5 size.



Plain , unlined , white paper

Total 60 sheets



(proudly) Made in japan ..




Exact dimensions of the booklet




White paper.

The binding is glued.

But also very well done. No excessively glue.




My usual way of testing ...

Noodlers Black ink (waterproof)

Watercolours by DALER ROWNEY Watercolour Pocket Set

This pic shows that I have already used the paper from the booklet and stitched it into a mini journal.

( I will post about the Mini journal in a separate post to come )



This pic shows how wet I purposely deposited the watercolour paint on the paper.

Look at the yellow colour pencil.

I wanted to see how it withstood the wetness.




Decided to colour a larger area ,

grey watercolour




A better pic under daylight




See the back page ...

warpage as per normal due to wetness

But no bleedthru




Here is the ink test ...

Zero feathering :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:

( thats my new assistant "Kooyar" and the PILOT Elite 95s )




The backside of that written page ...

Zero bleedthrough :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:

White copier paper placed underneath to show you the whiteness of the paper.

Yes there is shadow and it is to be expected becos the paper is white and thinnish , written with coloured inks.

Darker inks = more shadow.

My favourite ink in these paper condition has to be the PLATINUM Mix-Free ink - Smoke Black diluted 50%.

It shows the least shadow . Likewise with the PELIKAN Turquoise.




Closeup of the inks ...








Very good paper for FP ink at SGD$2 ... :thumbup:

Cant imagine how much cheaper if you guys order in bulk.

Edited by TMLee
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Orange Covers DAISO Notebook


Exactly B5 size



Cream paper, 40 sheets only.

5mm grid section in light grey :thumbup:



Made in Japan :thumbup:




APICA look-alike !!!!




5mm grids

Glue binding (known as 'perfect' binding )




How it takes watercolour ...

Drawn with Noodlers Black waterproof




Look at that part with a puddle of watercolour ...

the green colour pencil ..




In daylight, the morning after ....





The backside of that painted page ...

( my new assistant ... :D )





How it takes FP ink ...

Excellent ! No problems at all ...



The backside of that page

white copier paper underneath

even less shadow , becos this paper is Cream coloured, so its contrast with inks is less noticeable.











Excellent paper.


My confidence in Japanese papers remain unshaken ... :D :thumbup: :thumbup:






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TM, thanks for sharing, wonderful find... now I want me some of that paper... or better, one of those B5 white unlined notebooks... but alas, no DAISO in Curaçao... so only virtual enjoyment, so far. Enjoy yours!

a fountain pen is physics in action... Proud member of the SuperPinks


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Daiso is a store full of surprises. One of my favourite time killers is to pick up any product in Daiso and read the english translations of the instructions. Their paper products and stationery in general is amazing value. I have had a very good run with notebooks made in Indonesia and haven't seen the 'Apica' range as yet in Australia. I will keep an eye out for them. The branding on the rear is so Apica I would be stunned if these were not from the same factory.


Incredibly good review - thank you.

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Yeah ...


They look so much like APICA ,

can someone find out if indeed it comes from the same factory ?

Its quite possible.

Factories do make for more than one client.


If yes, then yes , its GREAT value for money !!!

The APICA journals are not exactly affordably priced ....






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Here is the review of the third journal booklet - the one with green covers.






40 pages only. 6mm ruled



Backside label ...




Forgot to take a pic of the inside.

This is already cut up, but you get the picture.

Its cream in colour the paper.

Lines are light grey :thumbup:




By halving the pages, I can make the 355 mini journal.




There are a total of 40 sheets.

so using 5 Folios per signature, 40 divided by 5 = 8 Signatures.

So i decided to use all 8 Signatures to stitch one journal.


So one booklet can yield 2 mini journals, each contain 8 x 5 x 4pages = 160 writing pages , not bad at all for a mini sized journal .






How does it take ink ?


Excellently :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:










Zero feathering :thumbup:


Zero bleedthrough :thumbup:


The backside of that page

white copier paper laid underneath to show the colour tinge

you can see shadow but pretty faint.




top half





bottom half





A simple black sheet of paper underlay works wonders ...

distracting shadows completely eliminated ...




The mini journal




Used dental floss , doubled over to get a bit more body ...

8 Signatures instead of my usual 7.

Stitching with dental floss doubled over is kind of challenging. :(

They tangle easily even tho they are waxed, becos they are so fine. :(





This green cover booklet is of the same excellent quality as the other two.

Perfectly ink friendly.



I would think 3 of these DAISO booklets is equivalent to one APICA booklet in terms of cost.

So its a great bargain.


To me this is a great find, becos :


1) its THIN but thicker than TOMOE RIVER paper .

This has a little more heft , easier to handle.


2) less shadows or show-through compared to TOMOE RIVER paper.


3) Doesn't crease so easily like TR paper.



If you see them in DAISO, don't hesitate.

Edited by TMLee
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Thanks, great review. I'm a big fan of Daiso and am currently using one of the kraft paper covered ones and they are very good.


Haven't seen the "Apica look" ones but will be keeping an eye out. Yep, I really need more paper and notebooks. Sure.

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Thanks, great review. I'm a big fan of Daiso and am currently using one of the kraft paper covered ones and they are very good.

Haven't seen the "Apica look" ones but will be keeping an eye out. Yep, I really need more paper and notebooks. Sure.


Thanks , yes, the Kraft covered ones are also pretty decent.


The paper is thinner than the coloured covers type , I reckon about 70g , and white .


They perform very well with well-behaved inks.


Will do a review here soon too.

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  • 1 month later...

I picked up a few Artesan brand notebooks from Daiso. It's not coated as far as I can tell but the paper is decently smooth and quite thick. No bleed through but there is slight feathering, especially if it's a wet medium.

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If you find a ripper buy at Daiso stock up as they do change paper grades from time to time. Generally I have had a fantastic run with Daiso and use their loose leaf every day. Same with Muji paper products. Daiso is very inexpensive so I tend to take a risk if I like the look of a product there. Rarely have I been disappointed.

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  • 1 month later...

Note: If you are buying notebooks branded Kraft A4, it's going to be a one sided writing experience. There is quite significant bleed through, especially if you have a wet medium. Artesan branded A4 notebooks have the same problem, but the bleed through is still tolerable.

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Artesan branded A4 notebooks have the same problem, but the bleed through is still tolerable.

Interesting. They must have different versions, because I've used the Artesan A4 ones for work for a few years and I've had little if any bleedthrough. I use wet M pens and saturated inks

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Note: If you are buying notebooks branded Kraft A4, it's going to be a one sided writing experience. There is quite significant bleed through, especially if you have a wet medium. Artesan branded A4 notebooks have the same problem, but the bleed through is still tolerable.


Yes you are correct.

The paper in the Kraft paper covered notebooks are slightly thinner.


Aside from the shadow/showthru which is expected from thinner paper,

I did observe there is some bleedthru with some inks.


In particular, HERBIN Orange Indien,


I am more convinced the coloured notebooks so far are the best performing ...


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  • 2 months later...

Another Daiso notebook (100 pages, small size) found in Cupertino, California store. It has dot-grid pages, not lined. Makes it easy to write in either direction. A Daiso fountain pen fits in the binding rings perfectly. :)








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Those are dead ringers for Apica made notebooks, any confirmations that these are indeed made in the same factory?


The style of the Apica notebooks is quite similar, but this is because the style itself with the filigree-border and vintage font is generic for vintage (and modern look-alike) Japanese notebooks. With other words, it's not just Apica that uses this style.


For-example, here is the Tsubame vintage style Japanese notebook from Nanami Paper, read the description:



Edited by Drone
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  • 5 months later...

Another DAISO notebook find that may be worth your attention.


These are A6 in size.

They bear a striking resemblance to APICA notebooks.

I found three variants and bought all three kinds.

Square gridded, ruled and blank.








Specs & details

Made in Japan :thumbup:









The notebooks are held together by book tape.





Its actually two notebooks , attached together.




Each notebook contains 13 Folios.

13 Folios x 2 leaves each = 26 leaves

26 leaves x 2 notebks = 52 leaves

Each leave has 2 sides,

so 52 x 2 sides (pages) = 104 writing pages



The grid is at 5mm square

Light grey lines





The notebooks are stitched.

Not stapled.

The stations are at exactly 1cm intervals.





Next comes my usual ink and watercolour test










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