Cute and easy notebook cover tutorial

You know, when you wander around Anthropologie, there are all those cute housewares things poking up at you and telling you how cute your house could be if you had them all?
One of those types of things are the cute journals they have, and all the office-ey things, really.  Last time I was there, I remember noticing some fabric-covered notebooks, just simple lined paper or drawing paper or whatever, in different sizes.  It's the DIYer in me that said, "Well, $18 (or whatever) is typical for a noteboook, but can't I make one of these myself?"  So I did.

I bought a lined notebook at Dollar Tree and used Mod Podge and a scrap of vintage fabric I found in the bins at Goodwill Outlet.  The best part about DIYing is you can pick the fabric print you like!

Here's the (scrap-busting!) tutorial:

  • Assemble your materials.  I'm using Mod Podge since it dries flexible, but I imagine other types of glue or adhesive would work, too.  Probably.  Rubber cement probably wouldn't be permanent enough, and Elmer's might dry too crispy or flaky.  You'll also need some medium-grain sandpaper.

  •  Figure out where on the fabric you want the journal.  Make sure you have enough.


  •  Mod Podge one side of the journal, all over.  Try to make it as even as possible, since it won't spread out too much once the fabric is on it and you want all areas to be covered evenly.


  •  Press the fabric back over the gluey side, evening the Mod Podge out with your hands a little.  This is very messy!  It bled through the fabric onto my hands, so I had to wash them before I took the picture ;).


  •  Wait for it to dry.  I waited overnight.
  • Now, apply glue to the other side of the journal.  Evenly, of course.


  •  Smooth out the Mod Podge again...


  •  And let dry again.  This time, it definitely needs to be totally dry.  Because next, you'll...
  • Get some medium-grade sandpaper and, folding the excess fabric down the side, sand the edge of the journal.  This works even better on paper, but with some elbow grease, you can sand the fabric down so the threads tear exactly at the edge of the book.


Careful around the edges!

  • All done!!!  Enjoy! 

What a fun gift these would make!  You could do them in different fabrics and tie them together as a gift for someone who journals a lot, or make them in different holiday themes as cookbook notes, or...

And they're a great use for all those extra fabric scraps you have sitting around!

14 comments

  1. what a great idea for gifts and a fun easy fix for an ugly notebook. lovely and I love your blog! I also found lots of inspiration since I am also a civil war living history reenactor as well.

    God bless,
    Rebecca

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  2. I never would have thought to cover a notebook in fabric, I've only done it with paper. Genius!

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  3. Anonymous10/18/2010

    Is the picture showing through?

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  4. Glad you like it!
    Yeah, the picture on the cover shows through a little--in retrospect, I wish I had put a coat of paint on the cover before the Mod Podge!

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  5. I love this! So awesome. That fabric is great.

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  6. I've done this, just a little differently though. I use the sandpaper to give the glossy book cover a little tooth. Then I use unbleached muslin as a first layer, applying as directed here. (I wear latex gloves to avoid "messy handitis"! lol) I use an X-Acto knife or box cutter and my self healing mat to trim away the excess. Repeat with the fabric of your choice, and embellish away! :D

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  7. I did the same thing for a wallet I wanted to re-vamp.
    Worked like a charm!!

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  8. oh everything about your blog is lovely!
    the pictures make me smile!

    happy blogging you!

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  9. If the notebook is of the thicker variety, you could also fold the edges of the fabric over, glue them on and glue a nicely patterned piece of heavy paper over the inside of the cover...

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  10. Adorable! Such a clever idea. If the picture showed through, you could put a thin piece of cardstock in before putting the fabric on...

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  11. Instead of glueing the fabric on you can use heavy duty heat and bond and iron it on. Its not as messy and works just as great. Glue the edges to keep fabric from fraying. Just thought I would share I have done it both ways and like the heat and bond better.
    Have a Blessed day,
    Bec

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  12. Oh man... no notebook will be safe in my house now!! I like to use paper... but had not thought of fabric -awesome. Thanks for the great idea, and for all of the additional hints in comments!

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