DIY Notebook Re-Design - Designer Look For Less

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

I had a great long weekend; Valentine's Day and an extra day off for Family Day - yay! Today I'm back at it and, as you can see, I've got a new post and a new DIY project for you all! First, how was your Valentine's Day? Was it a long weekend where you are, too? I love to hear from ya, so comment with your weekend activities! Now, let's move on to this project - DIY Notebook redesign!

In my life I have to keep everything organized and scheduled; since starting my blog and YouTube channel, scheduling and note keeping have become more important than ever. It can be difficult at times because, when you're in charge of every single thing, you always have a lot going on, and a lot of thoughts swirling around in your head... and I tend to be a heavy thinker and worrier in the first place. So, again, writing everything down is a MUST!

Now you might be saying "uhhh...there's an app for that, Sam!" True, but I am just more comfortable when actually writing things out on paper; I just feel like I can "see" everything better... if that makes sense. Also, I LOVE a great looking notebook! I think sooo many people are the same - if it's cute, or whatever your style preference, then they are drawn to it and want it and want to use it! But, I have to say, sometimes those amazing looking designer notebooks are so expensive and I just can't bring myself to spend that kind of money on them! So, I do what I do best - Make it myself!! And in this post I'll show you how to make your own! You can copy the designs I've made in the video, or you can use this to get your started and do your own thing! Just keep in mind, when using gold leaf your lines will not turn out too precise, but I like the sort of worn, rudimentary look it creates.

**FYI - I took a book binding course in art school so the covering techniques I'm teaching you are professional techniques... maybe at some point I'll show you all how to do hand sewn book binding and assembly! Good idea for a DIY? Do you want that? Comment!

Cheap Dollar Store Notebooks (or notebooks of your choosing)
Decorative Scrapbooking Papers
Uhu Glue Stick(s)
X-acto Knife
Bone Folder
Scrap Paper
Rub-on Gold Foil Lettering/Words (optional depending on your design)
Gold Leaf (optional depending on your design)
Martha Stewart Ball Point Glue Pen (optional depending on your design)

TO COLOR YOUR OWN PAPER | Instructions below video
Large Sheet of Paper
Watercolour Paint
Large Paint Brush

Again, to save money, I like to color my own paper to cover my books with. This also allows me to get a custom color. You can also choose to use decorative and patterned paper like I did with the smaller of the 3 books, but you'll have to find it in larger sheets at an art store or even online. If you'd like to color your own papers, too, see the instructions below.

1 | You'll need a nice large sheet of paper. Here I'm using a very cheap newsprint quality paper even though it is not acid free because, in this case, I don't mind if the paper becomes discoloured over time. Most of the time you want to choose acid free paper to prevent the chances of that happening.
2 | Trim paper so that it will wrap around your entire book with about 2 inch excess all around - you will trim this again later, so make sure it's big enough.
3 | Crumple your paper into a ball to get some wrinkled texture. The paint should soak into the wrinkles a bit more and create a cool textured look. This effect will be more/less visible depending on the type of paper you use.
4 | Smooth paper out with hands.
5 | Wet paper randomly with clean water using your paint brush.
6 | Use whatever water soluble paints you like (acrylic or watercolour). These are watercolour pan paints, but these are most often available in small tubes - same kind of paint, though.
7 | Begin painting on your desired paint color. You can add more water to feather color for an all-over even color, or concentrate color more in random areas for more variation.
8 | Once your sheet is fully painted to your liking--watercolours look lighter when dry while acrylics dry darker--let it dry. You may want to come back throughout the drying time to re-crumple it a bit to get more texture back, but this depends on your paper as well.

Your paper is ready to use once dried!

Hope you enjoyed this and have fun creating your own books! Just be warned about creating these awesome looking notebooks - others may be looking to your for notebooks from now on!

Have fun!

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