[D.I.Y. tutorial] Personalised hard covers for journals

MbM_DIY-TUTORIAL_JOURNAL-COVERS-mainOkay, so here’s how to make personalised hardback covers for your journals and sketchbooks, like the ones you saw in my February Styling the Seasons post a couple of weeks back where I used the Laura Ashley Blue Bird Seaspray wallpaper to spruce up some new notebooks. You don’t need to use wallpaper but if you have any left overs then perfect, otherwise any kind of pretty patterned paper will do!

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What you will need:

  1. Wallpaper scraps, wrapping paper or any kind of textured/patterned paper you have kicking about
  2. Glue or double-sided sticky tape (something strong enough to bind cards together)
  3. Scalpel or Stanley knife
  4. Spray Mount (or similar spray-on adhesive)
  5. Cutting mat (and a steel ruler!)
  6. Notebooks (anything cheep and cheerful, like the 5-pack ones you get from Muji, that you can bond together or go for a thick one)
  7. Thick card (about 2-3mm thick)

MbM_DIY-TUTORIAL_JOURNAL-COVERS-01Firstly, stick your notebooks together to make up one thick one (ideally, you want a spine that is at least 2cm thick) or go for one that’s already thick to skip this part. If you opt for putting bind a few together, then you can do so by using glue (hot glue, UHU or PVA) or double-sided sticky tape. Leave it aside to dry and place a couple of heavy books on top to help it stay in place.

In the meantime, get the wallpaper and the sheet of card and glue them together using Spray Mount. Make sure you apply a nice even coat of this so to avoid any chance of the paper peeling off over time. Put this aside for a few minutes, with some heavy books on top. Once it’s dry, measure out the exact width and length of the piece you’ll need to cover the sketchbook, using the sketchbook as a guide. I would add an extra 1mm to the edges just to be on the safe side – it’s a lot better to have the cover 1mm or two bigger than it falling short to reveal the edges of the notebook. Also, when marking out the width of the spine, (big note: make sure this is marked out on the nice patterned side of the card) allow half a mm leeway too so that when you fold along those lines it’s not sitting too tight against the book. This will prevent the hard cover from being too stiff to open once stuck down.

Once the long strip of card has been cut down, take your ruler and scalpel/stanley knife and score down along the fold lines you marked out for the spine. Remember to score on the patterned wallpaper side of card for the fold to bend the right way! (You’ll see what I mean, when you’re doing this). When you’ve scored along those two lines, gently fold along it. You’ll know if you’ve scored well if the card bends easily without creasing or damaging the paper, and you have a clean fold. :)

Check the notebooks against the cover to double-check the fitting before you proceed onto the gluing phase. If it’s all great to go, then get your glue and apply it to both the inside faces of the back and front cover, and press them tightly against the notebook. You can apply glue to the spine but I’d advise otherwise as it does give it a lot more flexibility when you open the book. Make sure you apply some heavy books on top of this while you wait for the glue to set….give it a few minutes, and voila! You’re very own personalised hardback journals! You can of course, embellish and customise it further by adding a contrasting colour to the spine or add either rubber bands or ribbons to tie your book shut. It really is up to you how you decorate it further.

What do you think? Pretty darn effective right? Well, I hop you enjoyed that and if you have any questions, just drop them in the comments section. Let me know how you get on! Happy crafting folks! xx

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[Image credit: ©MadebyMolu]

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