Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Altered Mini Composition Notebook

Hello, everybody! I promised you girlies a brand-new (to me) craft today, and I have to say, I'm so pleased with how it turned out! In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I decided to make this a how-to post, rather than my typical show-and-tell.

I don't know about your little ones, but my kids love to have their own little notebooks. After trying a few of the different styles out there, I came to the conclusion that I like the mini composition notebooks best, for several reasons.
1. They're pocket sized, perfect for little hands to hold.
2. They're lined, and the lines aren't too close together so they're ideal for practicing letters, names, or short words.
3. The pages are bound nice and tight so they aren't always coming loose.
4. They're light and take up a minimal amount of space in my purse (and this is key, since God knows I carry WAY too much stuff in that thing!)

The problem with mini composition notebooks is that they pretty much only come in black and white, or if you're lucky, a colored print. Because of this, it can be hard to keep track of whose is whose (or is it who's is who's? I can never remember). In the past, I've given my kids stickers to decorate them, but stickers can sometimes peel off and they still don't look all that great.

Well, we're going to change all that today. Are you ready? Here we go. Start off by cutting down two sheets of designer paper to the size of your mini composition notebook. This should be the thicker stuff, not the thin, copier paper weight patterned paper. In this case, I used one of those 4X6 stacks of patterned cardstock, and it was the perfect size. I cut it right down the middle and it was pretty much an exact fit for both sides. Adhere with your favorite permanant adhesive (I used tape runner glue), and don't be bashful about it. You want this thing to really stick. Line it up as best you can, sticking over the corners just a wee bit.

Yes, I did say wee. I'm apparently channeling my Irish ancestors today. Must have been that Shamrock shake my lovely hubby bought me yesterday after I not-so-subtly hinted.

Notice that I lined up the paper to the outside edge. The paper does not have to cover the black binding. We'll cover that up later. For now, open the cover of your notebook and use the inside edge as a guide to trim down any excess paper. Then lightly sand the edges in a downward motion using a fine grit sandpaper. Make sure you are going down toward the notebook. If you sand upward toward yourself, you will peel the paper back up. As to where to get the sandpaper, just raid your hubby's tool box if he's got some, or you can pick up one of these sanding sponges at Walmart for around $2.50.

Next, attach your ribbon. I picked up this bright orange polkadot ribbon at JoAnn's yesterday for $1. And the best part? It's self adhesive! Isn't that cool? The things people come up with these days... Anyway, if you don't have any self-adhesive ribbon, not to worry. You can use any double-sided tape or tacky tape. Just get your tape down in a straight line, then smooth your ribbon over it.

I forgot to take a photo for the next stage, but you want to cut another piece of coordinating cardstock down to the height of your notebook, and then about two inches or so wide. You can see mine laying over to the side there. Train the cardstock over the binding so that it's even on the front and back, then apply lots more adhesive and attach. Once again, I lined the front up first, then just folded the rest back. That way, even if you didn't cut your cardstock perfectly straight, that part will be on the back and won't show anyhow. Trim if needed, and lightly sand top and bottom.

And now, the best part! Embellish to your little heart's desire! Since this particular notebook is going to be a birthday present for my son Dominic, who turns five tomorrow, I stamped this cute little chihuahua (He loves chihuahuas. And Siamese cats. It's unbelieveable that he's my child. I kid!) and colored it with my sweets (i.e. Copic markers), added a snippet of patterned paper behind for a more finished look, and viola! I seem to love saying viola! (it's impossible to type without the exclamation point), don't I? I guess it reminds me of my great-grandmother Vera, which isn't really like Viola, but they both start with v...

For a final touch, I broke out those alphabet stickers I picked up last week or so from K&Company and added a capital D for Dominic. And then I sat back on my heels (I currently use my floor for a workspace, it's great on the back, lemme tell ya) and clapped my hands with glee because I was so proud of myself for figuring out how to do this. It turned out pretty darn cute, if you ask me!

So there's my craft for today. I hope I've got you all feeling inspired and ready to race away to your craft supplies! Before you go, I just want to give fair warning that I'm baking cupcakes for tomorrow. So come back with a full tummy, or bring some napkins along. Drool isn't good for keyboards, you know. ;o)


  1. What a fun project! I love journals, notebooks, etc. The best part is transforming a blank one to something fun and personal. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. So adorable and I bet you kids feel so proud to carry these clever and creative notebooks.


Thank you so much for taking a few moments to brighten my day!


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