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Decorating Notebooks: 3 killer design ideas!

DIYKim & Chloe
binder covers

Decorating notebooks for back-to-school is a time-honored tradition. It is either something that is intentional  {you are trying to hide a boring notebook} or happens organically  {you are doodling day after day after day in a snoozer of a class}. We love decorating notebooks because we can never seem to find the perfect notebook that to match our fave fashions, although Jonathan Adler makes some killer back-to-school stuff that comes pretty darned close.  But since notebooks are usually one of two things: bland or expensive, we made our own. Decorating notebooks is easiest if you just use the binders with the clear front and design on your computer or on a piece of paper. You can print your schedule and slip it in, or go crazy with patterns and have some fun. We printed out some free backgrounds and put in our classes and with a few tweaks, made some covers for binders that are bit more fun than plain old binders. But when it comes to notebooks, we wanted to see what else we could do besides just drawing on them on or putting cute tape patterns on them (which is always fun to do and can create amazing designs). Since glitter is a cure for just about anything, including a boring class, we got glittery and glam. But we also got preppy and perky with a traditional design in blue, cream and white. Let us know what you think! I.  How to Decorate a Binder Chloe decorates anything that can be decorated! iPhone backgrounds are a specialty and lately it's been binder covers. She simply showed a few on her Instagram -- @seebychloe1-- and the orders for them have been rolling in. So Chloe suggested showing everyone how to make their own too!  We are in the process of opening a shop soon, but in the meantime, you can order from her on her Instagram or her blog, Preppy Diaries. Hopefully she'll be creating some custom backgrounds :lol:  but have fun creating your own --> here's Chloe's binder cover secret:

decorating notebooks

1. open a file in Pages.

2. once you open a file in Pages go to the top bar and press view, then press zoom, and then zoom out. (repeat step 2 twice)

decorating notebooks

3. next, drag and drop your picture/print of choice onto your document.

notebook decorating

4. then stretch your picture to fill your entire page.

notebook decorating

5. click the “shape” tool (to the right of the text box tool), and choose the square shape to insert onto your page.

decorating notebook

6. stretch the square into a rectangular shape

notebook decorating

7. change the color to match one of the colors of your background.  TIP: white is a good base color and you can change the opacity (using the opacity tool) to 90%, and it creates the illusion of making the rectangle blend with the background

decorating notebooks

8. click onto your rectangle, and then click the “pt” button. manually type “20 pt” into the box, then change the color of you box’s outline to match your background

decorating notebooks

9. add your text into the rectangle, and change the color to match your background.

how to decorate notebooks

10. and you’re finished!!

how to decorate notebooks

UPDATED AUG 2014: click for more easy customizable notebook designs here

II.  Initial Notebook Decorating Design This is an easy idea that takes more time to gather supplies and to let dry between steps than it does to create. This is such a fun look when done and is very classy!

notebook decorating ideas

step 1: gather supplies. Glue gun, notebook, scissors, duck tape, paint, heavy paper, letter design, pencil, ruler, fabric step 2: measure 1" around front cover of notebook and cut away excess fabric step 3: fold fabric in over front cover only (you can do back as well, but we just did front!) Fold in corners first for the cleanest look. Use glue gun around inside seam to glue securely to inside of front cover step 4: trace cutout of letter wherever you would like letter to be placed. We chose bottom right corner and placed a period for the effect. Paint letter with your choice of color. step 5: use duck tape along seam to hide fraying and to help secure fabric to notebook.  Step back and admire!


III. How to decorate a spiral notebook:  Another project Chloe did was to cover a spiral notebook. This is a great project to do in your favorite colors or school colors. Choose as many separate colors as you like for the stripes.  You can either combine the 1 part modge podge to 2 parts glitter in a tinfoil lined bowl, or follow the instructions below. Make sure to wash the brush in-between coats so the modge podge won't harden and keep layering until the glitter is consistent!

step 1 -- Gather your supplies! You will need two different types of glitter (perfect in your fave colors or school colors or team colors, etc), a sponge brush, a notebook, and modgepodge. step 2 -- Brush modgepodge onto your notbook, and sprinkle the first glitter color (or use technique above). You might have to spread some glitter out with your fingers. step 3 -- Continue step two until you reach the bottom of your notebook. step 4 -- Add a coat of ModgePodge on top of your final first coat of glitter.

step 5 -- Add ModgePodge on top of your first coat. step 6 -- Sprinkle glitter on top of step five’s ModgePodge coat. step 7 -- Continue with steps five and six, until you reach the bottom of your notebook. step 8 -- Add paint to make the stripes “pop” more!

DIY Notebook ModgePodge Glitter how to

VOILÀ! The finished notebook!

notebook decorating

IV. BONUS And as an added bonus... check out this amazing upcycled t-shirt notebook cover tutorial! Great for old band tshirts you might have outgrown! It's right here on trashn2tees.

There you go - 3 killer notebook decorating ideas + 1 bonus idea! Which one do you plan to use?


UPDATE AUG 2014: click for more easy customizable notebook / binder cover designs here

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