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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Personalize your Composition Notebook

I've got a quick little crafty project for all y'alls today. 
This is something I have been doing since college... personalizing composition notebooks.  Michael and I use composition notebooks a lot for bible study, quiet times, and church.  I started decorating my own initially (you know, because I couldn't just enjoy a composition notebook for its functional uses only, it had to be pretty too) but then I started to decorate Michael's too.  Of course the differences between decorating my own and his are vastly different.  So here is the manly journal that I made for ma man. 

And here's how you do it.

Composition notebook
Modge Podge
Paint brush
Paper - 8 1/2 x 11 cardstock works best
Paper cutter or scissors are fine too

Use your computer to pick out a saying/picture/design that you want on your notebook.  This time I used a quote from C.S Lewis.  And I wanted the backdrop of the notebook to have a subtle yet manly pattern to it.  A subtle, yet, manly pattern for Michael?  What about engineering graph paper?! Yes!  Totally Michael.  So I just searched on google images for engineering graph paper, copied and pasted the image into a word doc and increased the size of it so that it printed as far into the margins as my printer would allow (I tightened my margins as far as I could so I would have the least amount of blank space around my pattern).  Then I added my text over the top.

You could also use patterned scrapbooking paper and layer them for a more interesting effect.  I have used a paper bag before, I have painted them before, and I have also used fabric.  But this time around, simple was what I was looking for. 
Once you've got your design, print that sucker out!
I cut off the margins of the the long side that would be closest to the spine of the notebook - so there was no plain white margin showing.  No need to cut the short sides and the other long side since you are going to fold over those sides and glue them to the inside of the cover - you won't see them.

Glue.  Using your paint brush (I like foam paint brushes for this), paint on the Modge Podge onto the entire cover of the notebook.  Line up and place the paper over the top - making sure you have enough margins along each side to fold over (except the one that is nearest the spine of the notebook, that just gets glued in place).  Press down.  Be careful of getting wrinkles in the paper.  You may get some but the best way to avoid it is to use heavier paper.  The thinner the paper, the more likely you are to get wrinkles. 
Fold the sides over and glue down.  I do the short ends first and then the long end.  At the corners I try to get them so that the curve of the cover is maintained.  Like this in the third picture.  
Then, on the inside of the cover I paint on more Modge Podge.  Close the cover so that you glue the first page of the notebook to the back side of the cover.  This just creates a clean look.  If you are a better crafter than I, you could cut some cardstock and glue that on instead.  But I'm lazy, so I'm stickin with the original plan.  You get lots of air bubbles when you do this but they don't bother me much since they are on the inside of the cover (see previous sentence).  
Repeat process for back cover. 

And then you're done and you can enjoy your new and improved and personalized notebook!

 Full disclosure: the above picture is a bit misleading because, Michael doesn't even drink coffee! But it just made more sense for the purposes of this tutorial if there was a cup of coffee sitting there (why? Don't ask me, I just work here).  So I added cream and sugar and drank it myself -maybe some day I will be a grown up and drink my coffee black - but until then I will just keep personalizing composition notebooks, blogging, and drinking my coffee sweet and smooth. 
 I love that when Michael is getting to the end of one notebook, he lets me know and asks me to start working on his next one.  So sweet that he values this little thing that I do for him.  That makes me feel really good. I think I'll keep him ;-)

The great thing about this craft is that there are about a million different ways you could do it! Here are all the ones I have made over the years.
 And another great thing about this little craft? The cost is so close to nothing!

For me?  It was free because I had all the stuff. 
For you?  Maybe $10-15 initially to buy all the supplies which, maybe, isn't an awesome deal but then you can make a million more of them for free, it's a long term win!

I have also done this same thing with smaller composition notebooks and used it as a little engagement gift.  It's great to keep track of bridal shower and wedding gifts, to jot down to-do lists and shopping lists.  This is the one I made one for myself and it was helpful in keeping track of the gifts all in one nice, tidy, and tiny little place.
And now, 4 years later, it is a special little memento full of generous memories of the ones we shared our special day with.   

There really are endless uses for a decorated and personalized composition notebook.  What are your ideas?

Don't miss a beat.  
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