Beautiful, fabric-covered notebooks are perfect gifts because they can be used as address books, diaries, scrapbooks, or places to write down favourite poems or quotations. Covered notebooks are expensive to buy but you can make them for next to nothing using plain notebooks and scraps of fabric. Old wallpaper could also be used instead of fabric. However, if the original notebook cover is dark or heavily patterned, make sure your fabric is thick enough that the original cover won’t show through. Envelopes glued inside will hold receipts or mementos, while ribbons, tape, or leather strings can be used to tie the notebooks closed.
What You Will Need
- Iron and spray starch
- Fabric such as linen
- Pencil and ruler
- 1in- (2.5cm-) wide double-sided tape
- Needle and sewing thread
- Button, ribbon, and large round sticker (all optional)
- Twill tape or leather string (optional)
- Craft glue (optional)
- Fabric scraps, ribbons, or other decoration
- Envelopes no larger than notebook
- Paper (optional)
- Iron the fabric with spray starch to stiffen it. Place the fabric wrong side up on your work surface and lay the notebook open on top. With a pencil and a ruler, mark out a rectangle on the fabric at least 1 1/4in (3cm) larger than the notebook all around. Using scissors, cut out the fabric.
- Stick double-sided tape to the outside edges of the notebook, but not to the spine area as this needs to be free to move. Remove the backing paper from the tape. With the notebook closed, stick the fabric to the outside, leaving an equal amount of fabric projecting all around.
- At each side of the spine at the top and bottom, snip into the fabric that projects beyond the notebook. Stick double-sided tape to the edge of the projecting fabric, but only as far as the snips—leave the fabric above and below the spine free of tape.
- Remove the backing paper from the tape. Fold the taped fabric onto the inside of the book and stick down. Snip off the excess fabric at the top and bottom of the spine. Miter the corners
- If you are using a button and ribbon, sew the button to the front, sewing through only the fabric by inserting the needle at an angle.
- Cut the ribbon so it is long enough to be wrapped around the notebook at least once and then around the button (if used). If you have sewn on a button, stick the ribbon in place on the inside, just under the button, using a large round sticker. If you are not using a button, the ribbon doesn’t need to be stuck on. If you are using a leather string or twill tape instead of ribbon, cut them so they are long enough to be wrapped around the notebook and tied. (If desired, you could make a tying loop at the end of the leather string, gluing the end in place.)
Decorate Your Notebook
Stick on your chosen decoration. I used strips of colored polka dots and squares from a piece of fabric for one notebook, sticking them to the spine and front with double-sided tape. Ribbon looks pretty, too.
Stick envelopes to one or more of the pages with double-sided tape, leaving the flaps open to create pockets. To cover the fabric edges on the inside of the covers, stick on either an envelope that is the exact size of the cover or a rectangle of paper or fabric cut to size. If you wish, make a bookmark from a strip of patterned fabric and place it inside.
Tie the ribbon, leather string, or twill tape around the book.