It’s the week before Christmas, and I thought this might be a perfect time to tell you about these adorable personalized notebooks. My producer, Malinda, and I found these at a little cafe while we were filming an episode. I immediately fell in love, and thought about all the different varieties I could make and who might like to receive one. So, of course, I had to buy one as inspiration – then tear it apart to figure out how to make it myself.
And that’s when I nearly had a heart attack.
The shop was selling these notebooks for $30 each! I hadn’t bothered to look at the price tag, but was already at the checkout counter and felt guilty about saying, “Uh, no thanks – I’ve changed my mind. I’ll just snap a few pictures and go home to figure out how to make them myself.” So, I forked over the $30 + tax, and decided to write this how-to post so you can learn from my expensive experiment.
Here’s the original one we bought.
These notebooks can be made in any size, decorated to suit any occasion, and given to anyone who likes to journal, sketch, travel, etc. They also make a really fun crafting session if you have nieces, sisters, or girlfriends visiting for the holidays.
Let your imagination go wild and have fun!
Gather your scraps of fabric, ribbons, baubles, plus a notebook (or a few). It’s best if the notebooks are not spiral bound. Look for standard or tape binding, like the ones shown here
Cut fabric so it is long enough to wrap around the notebook from front to back and hangs over all the edges about an inch. Using a glue gun, glue the edges of the fabric to the inside of the front and back cover. You’ll need to fold the corners so they lay as flat as possible. You’ll also need to cut notches at the top and bottom of the spine.
When it’s completely covered, it should look something like this. If you don’t have fabric pieces large enough to cover the entire thing, you can use smaller pieces, like in the original purchased sample. The maker of that book used two different fabrics – one on the top and one on the bottom – and hid the seam with burlap ribbon.
Now it’s time to get creative. Start adding ribbons or fringe – whatever you’d like – and wrap it to the inside of each cover so the raw ends are hidden. You can even use burlap or solid color fabric and decorate it with ink stamps. Your imagination is the limit here.
Finish the inside covers by cutting decorative paper (or more fabric) large enough to overlap the fabric edges and ribbon ends. Use a glue gun to secure it in place.
Now it’s time to decorate the outside with baubles, extra ribbons, buttons – whatever you have. Your trusty glue gun certainly gets a workout on this project. But that’s why this is a great activity to do with kids – no sewing required. And if you use a low-temp glue gun (which I highly recommend), the chance of burns is very low.
Oh, and sorry for the blurry photo here. I have no excuses. Maybe that’s a metaphor for life…sometimes you just get a blurry photo.
I have no idea what that means. Let’s move on..
This is Malinda’s book. She decided to add a closure by making a loop at the end of a fabric ribbon and attaching it around the notebook. The closure is held shut by small pieces of velcro.
Mine is the burgundy one in the middle. And here are some examples of other sizes. Aren’t they adorable?
If you have kids, imagine the cool mom/daughter points you’d earn by having your little one write a story and illustrate it in one of these notebooks, and then covering it like this as a gift for grandma? Priceless.
I’d love to see pictures of your notebooks! So please come back after you’ve made your own and post a pic. Maybe I’ll even give a prize for my favorite. I don’t know what that prize will be yet – but it will be cool.