Extreme Makeover: Notebook Edition

I like composition notebooks because of their binding and the way they look. Also the fact that you can buy them for 10 cents depending on the time of year (i.e. back to school time) and location (drug stores always overcharge for school supplies). Never spend more than a dollar on them. I guarantee that you can find a better deal. Anywho, sometimes I like to give my notebooks a new look. Here’s one I made for my boyfriend:

One of my boyfriend's favorite poems is "In a Station of the Metro" by Ezra Pound. It's a short poem so I put it on the cover along with a nifty metro sign design.

I thought you might be interested in seeing how I did this; it’s easy, even if a bit time consuming.

Here’s what you need:

  • A composition notebook
  • a few pieces of construction paper
  • an x-acto knife (If you’re design isn’t too detailed, you might be able to get away with scissors.)
  • glue
  • clear packing tape

To start, pick a design that would look good in only two or three colors. For this tutorial, I’ve chosen to create the Miami Dolphins logo. Why, you ask? I am not a Dolphins fan (Go EAGLES!). I chose it because I only have green, orange and white paper right now.

First, I’d recommend drawing out your design on a regular piece of paper.

Place the design on the colored construction paper you want to be the main color of the notebook. (Don’t put it too close to the edges of the paper–you’ll need some extra space around the outside to wrap around the edges.)  Trace the outermost frame of the design, cutting through both layers with the x-acto knife. NOTE: Place something cardboard or something under the paper so you don’t carve up your table or desk.

Continue tracing/cutting each layer, outside-in, in the proper colors.Keep putting the pieces on your base piece of paper as you go so that you don’t lose them or get confused about where they go.

When you’ve got all the pieces, glue them down to the base piece of paper. When you’re done that, figure out where you want to put the design on the notebook. Make sure you leave enough at the edges to fold over to the inside. It’s up to you whether you want the all of the binding to show or none of it. (It’s also up to you whether or not you paper the inside of the cover or the back.)

The last step, in my opinion, is the hardest and can be skipped,  but I wouldn’t recommend it. Here you use the clear postal tape to “seal” the design. It keeps the pieces of the design from getting accidentally picked off in your bag or getting ruined by rain or coffee stains. You’ll probably use four strips of tape that are slightly longer than the notebook. I usually keep it on the roll, holding the roll in my left hand while putting the tape down vertically and smoothing it with my right. Leave just a little extra at each end to wrap around to the inside. Work slowly and carefully; line up each piece of tape up to the last as closely as you can. Once that’s complete, you’re all done…     

…and it looks awesome!

Time: Roughly 1 hour or so, depending on the intricacy of your design.

Difficulty♦ ♦   It’s not so difficult as complicated…be slow, precise and thorough. Think everything out before you do it.

Cost: ♦  No more than $3, and you’ll have plenty of leftovers to make more notebooks or other cool stuff.


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