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Easy DIY paper-covered notebooks make pretty customized journals

Mariko has been married for 28 years to master carpenter "Bob the Builder", who she brags "really can fix anything". She home-schooled three kids K-12 and is now mother-in-law to two more, with one incredibly adorable grandson. They all ...

Upgrade inexpensive notebooks into colorful personalized journals with this simple DIY

For anyone who has a thing for journals, pretty papers or lists, here’s a fun and quick tutorial for making inexpensive customized notebooks.

If you’re anything like me, strolling down the paper goods aisle at the craft store gives you a little thrill. There's something about all the possibilities that a simple piece of paper or some shiny washi tape holds, and gets me motivated to make a special card, gift or something for myself. And who doesn’t love making something hand crafted that doesn’t take all day and saves you a few dollars while you’re at it?

Upgrade inexpensive notebooks into colorful personalized journals with this simple DIY
Image: Mariko Giverink/SheKnows

These little notebooks fit the bill. Make them for all your favorite people and you won’t even put a dent in the wallet. The plain little notebooks came in a pack of three at my local office supply for $3. (Hint: You will find these bargain packs in the paper section, not the notebook section.)

Upgrade inexpensive notebooks into colorful personalized journals with this simple DIY
Image: Mariko Giverink/SheKnows

The only tools you'll need are scissors, glue, a ruler and something to score your fold lines.

Upgrade inexpensive notebooks into colorful personalized journals with this simple DIY
Image: Mariko Giverink/SheKnows

Find your papers at a paper or craft store and purchase the large, sturdy card stock type 12 x 12-inch squares. At 99 cents each, this entire project of a set of three notebooks cost $6. Why not make a few for yourself while you’re at it?

Upgrade inexpensive notebooks into colorful personalized journals with this simple DIY
Image: Mariko Giverink/SheKnows

Start by cutting your papers slightly wider than your notebooks. To figure out where to score and fold them, place the notebook right side down with the edge resting where the paper meets the binding on the front side. Score with the back edge of scissors or something sharp that won't cut through the paper. I used the back of a razor blade.

Upgrade inexpensive notebooks into colorful personalized journals with this simple DIY
Image: Mariko Giverink/SheKnows

Turn it over and you'll see where to score the paper to fold over and fit the top of the notebook.

Upgrade inexpensive notebooks into colorful personalized journals with this simple DIY
Image: Mariko Giverink/SheKnows

Fold the top of the paper under and trim if needed so that you have a nice sturdy folded top that hangs slightly over where the bottom of the paper will fold up, so you can tuck it in like a matchbook cover. Now you can glue the back and top of the notebook to your paper.

Upgrade inexpensive notebooks into colorful personalized journals with this simple DIY
Image: Mariko Giverink/SheKnows

If you want to decorate it further, use washi tape, craft items or stickers. I kept mine simple by using decorative tape at the top, which wraps completely around to the back and helps hold the top down nice and sturdy.

Upgrade inexpensive notebooks into colorful personalized journals with this simple DIY
Image: Mariko Giverink/SheKnows

I'm sure you know someone who would love to get a set of these this year, or just give yourself a gift!

Upgrade inexpensive notebooks into colorful personalized journals with this simple DIY
Image: Mariko Giverink/SheKnows

DIY customized paper-covered notebooks

Supplies:

  • 12 x 12-inch patterned craft paper
  • Mini notebooks
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Something to score with (I used the back side of a razor blade)
  • Glue stick
  • Optional washi or decorative tape, stickers or paper craft decorations

Directions:

  1. Cut your patterned paper into strips just slightly wider than your notebooks. My notebooks were 3-1/2 inches wide, so I cut my paper 3-3/4 inches wide.
  2. Score and fold the paper around the notebook, starting with the front and rotating around to the top. Score with something sharp that won't cut through the paper, like the back of a razor blade or the blunt edge of scissors.
  3. Fold the top of the paper under and trim if needed so that you have a nice sturdy folded top that hangs slightly over where the bottom of the paper will fold up, so you can tuck it in like a matchbook cover. Glue the back and top of the notebook to your paper and weigh down with a book to help set the glue.
  4. Optional: Use washi tape, paper craft items or stickers to decorate it further.

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