Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How to Make a Covered Notebook

A while ago I posted a picture of a journal I had covered to Facebook, and a friend asked me how I did it. It's pretty easy, actually, and you only need one piece of specialised equipment, which is the spiral border punch from Stampin' Up. It looks like this:

(Actually, that is the model from a few years ago, and the new punches are much slimmer and more fancy-looking. But this one does the job just as well.)

Once you have obtained (or borrowed, as I did) this punch, you will next need to obtain a spiral coil notebook and some paper.

I chose pretty muted colours for this project because it is going to be a Christmas gift for my almost-nine-year-old nephew, Andrew. (If you are my nephew, Andrew: Stop reading this blog! Go do your homework. Also, stop putting your arms in the crumbs! Love, Auntie Laura.)

Measure your notebook cover and cut the paper to the required size. Measure the entire cover, including the part that has a spiral notebook coil going through it.

Then take the covers off the notebook by bending the coils a bit. You will be left with a sheaf of paper held together with a spiral coil. For some reason I took a picture of this.

Lay out your paper onto the covers exactly as you want it to look, so that you can see where to use the punch.

Use the punch to put spiral-coil holes in your paper. You have to use the punch from right to left.

Apply adhesive to the back of the patterned paper. I use insanely cheap-o Dollarama glue tape. Glue stick and white glue would probably work as well.

Line up the punched holes with the holes in the cover and stick it down. This is where I found out that not all coil notebooks are created equal, and some have a deeper coil gutter (I just invented that term! It sounds dirty) than others. So my paper measurements turned out a little off. I think it still looks pretty good.

At this stage, you may choose to use a distressing block or plain ol' sandpaper to sand off the edges of your paper. This makes it sit a little bit more flat against the edges of the notebook cover. I used sandpaper from the garage and it worked fine.

Both finished covers. As you can see, I used a different patterned paper for the inside covers. You don't even have to do the inside covers, but I did.

If you are anything like me, the next step will make you a bit crazy with impatience. If it doesn't, I don't even know what to say. Is it really all that great to go through life with an endless well of patience and tolerance? Seriously, I want to know. Not that I can actually change, but it would be interesting to hear about. Anyway, use your chosen adhesive to stick down every little tab of paper in between the spiral coils. You will think that this step isn't important, and you will want to skip it, but if you do you will pay for it. More on that in a minute.

Now you get to put the book back together, pretty much the same way you took it apart. Line up your cover to the gap between the coils and work it in bit by bit.

Now you will thank me for making you glue down all those silly tabs. Working the covers back into the coil is a tricksy, fussy little job, and if you didn't glue down the tabs, you'd be driven even more crazy by them all sticking up and getting in the way. Here's a picture of how annoying that is:

Now use your chubby, weird-looking hand to pinch the coils back together. Or, if your hand looks normal, use that. Don't get all braggy about it, though.

Repeat the steps for the back cover. Your notebook is now covered!

Now it's time to decorate it a little. I had some scrapbook paper with quotes on it, so I cut it up and stuck them onto random pages throughout the journal.

Note that I did not stick three on one page, this is just an example of the quotes. In some cases I used a punch or my die-cutting machine to cut them out.

Decorate the front cover. As you can see I added my nephew's name and some stuff that I hope will make him feel really special and important when he writes in his journal. Because being a writer is awesome!

And that's it! The whole job took probably an hour. Of course, my life being what it is that meant it took a week of 7-minute stints as various people clamoured for my attention. Maybe it will be different for you. Happy Crafting!


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