Spruce up a small spiral notebook by replacing and decorating the cover.
by Kim M. Bayne
Has this ever happened to you? You're out shopping and you suddenly think of a great crafts project. But you don't have anything to write on. So you buy the nearest thing -- a boring-looking spiral with plain notebook paper so you can jot down and remember your idea.
Several years back, I did just that. Now I keep that notebook in the car so I can sketch ideas anytime during car trips when a family member is driving.
But the other day, I looked at it closely. It was dog-eared, worn and sorry-looking. I didn't want to start over with a new sketchbook and I felt this one needed a bit of sprucing up.
My style? Very eclectic. I love mixing earth-tones with a surprising splash of modern metal -- so you'll notice I added silver beads and silver ribbon.
And while I stuck mostly with blues and neutrals, I couldn't resist throwing in a bit of olive-drab satin ribbon on the spiral plus a hint of gold with a star-shaped paper clip.
Here's what I did to my sketch book's front cover. Enjoy.
Altered Spiral Notebook
Materials & Tools
* Mead Fat Lil' Notebook, spiral-bound with 200 ruled sheets, sheet size 5.5 by 3.5 inch
* 1 piece of heavy-duty plain cardboard, discarded from packaging
* 1 piece of 80 lb. uncoated scrapbooking paper, like packages of 12 by 12-inch sheets by Provo Craft
* 1 piece indigo blue 80 lb. cardstock
* 1 piece of imprinted beige canvas ribbon with the word "inspire", 3/4-inch wide by 4.5 inches long
* 1 piece of silver metallic wire-edged ribbon, 1/2-inch wide by 5.5 inches long
* Assorted decorative, shaped metallic paper clips, with shapes like spirals, stars, etc.
* 1 scrap of brown rope netting
* 5 tarnished, flat silver beads or bead spacers, averaging 1/4-inch diameter each
* 3 discarded, dirty keys
* Assorted ribbons and strings, each about 4 inches long
* An extra 10-inch piece of brown string, for weaving through the netting
* Permanent bond glue stick, like Glue Stick Clear .70 oz by MANCO
* 1/2-inch wide double-stick tape, like Terrifically Tacky Tape by Art Accentz/Provo Craft
* 3/16-inch diameter mini glue dots by Glue Dots International
* 1/4-inch diameter pop dots by All Night Media, for adhering the silver beads
* Handheld paper punch, like 1/8-inch Round Punchline Punch Item #52400 by McGill
* Ordinary pencil, for marking where to cut on the cardboard and paper
* Jewelry pliers for bending the notebook spiral, for both removal and reattachment
* Good pair of comfortable, teflon-like coated scissors, like Velvet Touch Scissors by Armada, or a craft knife and a straight edge
(Click to enlarge images. Click the back button to return to this article.)
1. Using the pliers, bend and remove the spiral from the notebook. Carefully put the notebook aside so you're able to put it back together later.
2. Use the original notebook cover to measure and cut a replacement cover out of the plain heavy cardboard, which you'll decorate. You can also decorate your original cover, if you wish. I chose to replace mine because it was plastic and I wanted a paper surface to work on.
3. Apply glue stick to the back of the scrapbook paper and adhere to your new cover.
4. Tear across the indigo blue cardstock to create an artsy edge. Use the glue stick to attach the cardstock on top of the scrapbook paper.
5. Turn over the notebook cover and use your scissors to trim the extra paper and card stock to fit the cover.
6. Use the hole punch to create holes in the new cover -- use the old cover to help line up where the holes need to go. Remember to hold steady and punch hard so you can go through all layers.
7. Apply flat ribbons to the front of the cover with the tacky double-stick tape.
8. Add the paper clips to the cover edge.
9. Position the keys on the cover over selected holes. Once you decide where you want to position the keys, put the notebook back together.
10. Wind the spiral through the new cover, stopping to put the keys on the spiral to hold them in place. Remember to use the jewelry pliers to bend the ends of the spiral again so the cover stays in place.
11. Hold the keys on the cover using the glue dots -- see the photo for a close-up of one key with the tiny glue dots on its back.
12. Randomly tie pieces of ribbon and string to the spiral -- one or more pieces of ribbon for each cover hole. To hold them securely, use a square knot. If you're concerned about the fibers coming loose, use a tiny dot of tacky glue on each knot.
13. Using the pop dots, attach the silver beads to the cover. If you don't like the 3D look of the pop dots, use flatter glue dots to adhere the beads.
14. To tie the scrap of brown netting to the cover, punch a few holes through the cover (close together) and tie off with brown string. You can untie/re-tie a few pieces of ribbon or string near the spiral to anchor the left-hand side of the netting, too. Finally, if you have any left-over brown
string, you can weave it through one edge of the netting, like I did here.
Remember to go back up to the top of this article to see the finished notebook again. For a variation on the same theme, look below.
* Most project photos on this page were taken with a 5.0 MP resolution KODAK EASYSHARE DX4530 Zoom Digital Camera