For the first time ever, the school year is starting without us spending hours at the school supply store, and most importantly without a list of countless items with the most peculiar specifications all requested according to each teacher’s personal preference. This year, our school district collected all supplies that will be needed throughout the year for each grade, ordered it for us and had it delivered to the children before the first day of school. Amazing, right? Everything was in a box: dividers, notebooks, pencils, graph paper, tape, scissors, glue… So there was no need for me to browse at the back-to-school stores’ isles, but I couldn’t resist buying more than half a dozen of the classic composition notebooks that were just sitting there, stacked in piles in front of me; There were only $.50 each at Target last week and I had never seen them at such a low price before – even the Dollar Store sells them for one hundred cents. Plus, they were just what I needed for a little project that I had been thinking of for a while.
So, with a few of these,
I made some of these:
White and gold stripped notebooks for every girl to love!
And personalized ones, too, with large and shiny initials for loved ones!
The finish is impeccable and the cost to make them is unbeatable! Take a close look at the finishing detail.
I honestly can’t pick my favorite.
The ones with the stripes and the dots are super easy to make, so I’ll first give you the instructions for the ones with the initials; they do require a little technique, but nothing really difficult. Here is what you are going to need:
1. Measure and cut a piece of vinyl fabric about an inch bigger than the notebook, on all sides.
2. Lay the notebook open, like so, and slide some pieces of scrap paper slightly bigger than the notebook underneath the front and back covers. The scrap paper will prevent the inside pages of the notebook from getting glue on them. Spray a generous coat of adhesive, directly on the cover, especially on the borders and the corners. Make sure to follow the spray adhesive safety directions.
3. Immediately position the vinyl fabric, right side up, onto the cover, starting from the spine in the middle and pressing the vinyl fabric out towards the sides.
4. Turn the notebook flat on its cover and immediately remove the sheets of scrap paper. Let the glue dry very well, for an hour if possible.
5. When the glue is completely dry – you don’t want to ruin your scissors – run your scissors around the border of the notebook to remove the excess vinyl fabric.
6. To add the initials: On the back of the letter stencil, apply double sided removable tape (or repositionable spray adhesive). The tape should be placed very close to the stencil’s opening, to keep the stencil firmly onto the vinyl; this will prevent the paint from bleeding.
7. Position the stencil(s) onto the notebook and press firmly.
8. Cover the sides and the back cover of the notebook with aluminum foil.
9. Spray a coat or two of paint, evenly.
10. Lift the stencil away from the notebook and remove the removable tape from the stencil. Let the paint dry.
11. You can correct small defects easily. A little piece of tape that was sticking out left an empty mark on the letter “E”, but it’s an easy fix (this is maybe why you should use repositionable spray adhesive, instead. As I didn’t have any, I’m showing you exactly how they were made). Spray some paint directly into a very small cup and with a Q-tip add paint to correct. You can also erase undesired painted spots using a Q-tip dipped into nail polish remover.
I managed to correct the “E” perfectly, but the small imperfection on the “C” was a little harder as it was not a straight line.
The first notebook is ready and it’s a present for my friend Elaine’s birthday!
The notebooks with the stripes are even easier to make: to create even stripes, I covered the area with regular tape, like so, and then removed some of the strips to create a repeating pattern. You can also use masking tape.
As for the ones with the dots, they’re simple self adhesive reinforcements positioned on the vinyl fabric and removed after the paint is dry.
The process is exactly the same as as for the letter stencil. Make sure to cover well all the areas that must not be painted. I slid some scrap paper underneath the cover to protect the inside sheets and some foil to protect the back cover.
Let the paint dry before removing the tape, the foil and the scrap paper.
The stripes come out crisp and straight.
You can make vertical or horizontal stripes, a single monogram on the cover or use a different color of spray paint. The possibilities are endless and there are quite a few colors of vinyl fabric to chose from.
One or two of these notebooks tied together with a nice ribbon make a beautiful gift for any occasion.