Tuesday, July 21, 2015

DIY: Designer Notebooks

Good morning, my dearies! When I was in high school, I was the organized friend. I still am the organized friend. But ever since my freshman year, I have always kept my school stuff very organized. I had a separate binder for every class. Every binder had tab dividers and was color coded. I would even buy color coordinating scrapbook paper, and have the names of the classes on scrapbook paper in the binders. I continued this throughout all of high school. I even still have some of the binder cover inserts that I made. Why? I have no idea.

Since coming to college I have changed my system a little bit. I not keep things filed. I realized that I didn't need to always carry around everything, but I still needed some sort of system. So, I keep things neatly filed in a drawer using file folders and a label maker. (I LOVE my label maker!)

I have always loved cute notebooks. I also like to rewrite my notes. Thus, I don't usually buy cute notebooks. They're a tad expensive for a notebook, and I use too much paper to buy a bunch of them for one semester. So, noticed that regular 70-page, college-ruled notebooks were on sale at Staples for $0.25. I went that night and bough 24 notebooks. There were 7 colored, I actually meant to buy 4 of each color, but I ended only buying 2 orange and 2 green. (Hence the 24.)

I had the idea to cover them with scrapbook paper to make them more attractive, but didn't really want to go to the effort. Then I figured, why not? I'd rather spend a few hours with Mod Podge hands than have boring notebooks for the next four months. So, I went to Michael's. My mom and I were furniture shopping a few exits up, so we went to a different one than our usual. I found a few single-sheet scrapbook sheets that I liked, but forgot the Mod Podge. So, on the way home, we stopped by the Michael's down the street from our house. On a display rack, we found a pile of 12x12 scrapbook page books. They were on sale for $5! (They're usually about $20). I fell in love with the first one I flipped through, grabbed the glue and headed home! 

I ran into a few bumps along the way, but in the end they turned out looking pretty great and I'm very happy with them. 

Step One: Collect your supplies. I ended up using:
A paper plate (to put the Mod Podge on).. A foam paint brush.. Matte Finish Mod Podge.. A Ruler.. A Pencil.. An Exact-o Knife.. Grocery Bags(To cover the table).. Notebooks.. Scrapbook Paper..  A Magazine(As a cutting pad. Use a sheet of cardboard or craft mat)..

Step Two: Trace and cut your paper!
Its better to have a little extra than to not have enough. You can do this one of two ways: 1. Trace the outline of the notebook cover. This way is guaranteed to have correct angles and such. Or 2. Measure the notebook cover and then measure out a corresponding square on every sheet of paper. I went with option 1, I thought it would be faster and cause less frustration. Now cut them out. I used a ruler and an Exact-o knife because I knew it would be faster, but you can use scissors.

Step Three: Glue it on!
This is the hard part. "Paint" the Mod Podge onto the cover of the notebook. Don't get too close to the spiral, you don't want to glue your cover to the spiral. Make sure you get extra glue around the edges! When the edges start to come apart, then you have trouble! Carefully place the cut piece of scrapbook paper on the notebook cover. Again, this is when its better to have extra than not enough. Make sure you press them together, it will insure that you have a well-glued piece of scrapbook paper and no bubbles. Let them dry!

Step Four: Trim off any extra!
Take a pair of scissors to the edges. Make sure there isn't any extra paper hanging off the side. 

Step Five: Enjoy your new notebooks! 

Problems I ran into: 
1. Not placing the paper correctly. There was one specific notebook when I put the glue on and then placed the paper on the cover and realized that there was a strip at the top of the notebook where I could still see the cover. How I fixed it: I pulled the cover off (careful because it will curl) and I very carefully replaced the paper to fit correctly.

2. When they began to dry, the covers began to curl. Now when I say "curl" I mean that they didn't stay flat. How I fixed it: after they're dry, place something heavy over them for a day or so. The covers will flatten out in no time! 

The best thing about designing my own notebook covers is that I can have as many notebooks and I want and they all match! I have 5 classes and usually use 2 notebooks for some classes because I like to re-write my notes.

Hope this inspires you to DIY your own notebooks for a fun touch of your own! 

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