Cheap and Easy Altered Notebooks-a Tutorial

A few weeks ago I showed a picture of an altered notebook that I made, and promised I would give you a tutorial. It’s taken me a month, but I finally got it done. I found some cheapo notebooks for 4/$1 both at the dollar store and my local grocery store. You should be able to find some pretty easily.

I actually made another notebook and discovered that using lightweight patterned paper instead of cardstock is a little bit easier. But it isn’t as sturdy, so choose which is more important to you. Either way, you can take a plain old notebook and make it darn cute. And I am all about making things more cute.

I am showing you both methods. Aren’t I just the nicest blogger ever? They are basically the same, there is just a few more steps if you are using cardstock.

Tutorial #1: Using lightweight paper to cover your notebook.

1-Place your note pad on your patterned paper, lining it up evenly with the bottom. Take a pencil and mark the height of the notebook.2-Cut the paper to the desired height using a paper cutter or scissors and ruler.

3- Wrap the paper around the notebook. Press very firmly at the binding edge so that the paper will crease.

4-When you have it wrapped tightly, cut off the extra paper that extends past the notebook edge.

5-Now it’s time to adhere your paper to the notebook. I used my ATG gun, but you can use any strong adhesive that you like.6-Carefully place the back of your notebook on the right side of the paper, making sure it is straight. Press firmly. Wrap the left side of the paper around the binding edge of the notebook and onto the front. Press it firmly in place.
Note: I placed the adhesive on the patterned paper, but I think it is actually easier to put the adhesive on the notebook instead.

7-Using a sanding block or sturdy nail file, sand the edges of the notebook. This will even out any edges that aren’t quite straight, and help the edge of the paper bond tightly to the notebook. 8-Embellish as you would like. Here is my finished notebook:

Tutorial #2: Using cardstock to cover your notebook.

1-(Same as above.) Place your note pad on your patterned paper, lining it up evenly with the bottom. Take a pencil and mark the height of the notebook. I forgot to take a photo of this step this time, so just refer to the one above.

2-(Same as above.) Cut the paper to the desired height using a paper cutter or scissors and ruler.

3-Lay your notebook on the piece of cardstock and mark the width of the notebook at the top and the bottom. (If you look hard, you can see my tiny pencil marks, I promise.)

4-Tip the notebook up on it’s end and mark the width of the binding edge. It will look like this when you are finished:5-Score the lines where the binding will be. It will look like this when you are done:6-Place the notebook inside the cardstock cover.
7-Mark the edge of the notebook and cut off the extra length of cardstock.

8-Attach the cardstock to the notebook using a strong adhesive or glue. Press firmly.

9-Use patterned paper and embellishments to decorate the front cover. (Remember the sanding tip I taught you in step #7 above.)

Here is the finished project:
Wasn’t that easy? I think these would make super cute gifts, especially if you put them in a cellphane bag and tied it off with some fun ribbon. And everybody could use an extra notepad. Especially a cute notepad. Have fun, and if you happen to make some, I’d love to see ’em!

I am linking this post to A Beautiful Life at The Inspired Room. If you have never checked out Melissa’s blog, you really should. Lots of ideas for beautifying. Because even making something small (like a notebook for example), can be hugely rewarding!


  1. Cute! What a great idea on dressing up a plain old notebook. Thank you for sharing your tutorials.

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