Oh So Glamorous DIY Notebooks!

Oh So Glamorous DIY Notebooks!

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:

Five Glamorous Notebooks - mydearirene.com_edited-1

White and gold stripped notebooks for every girl to love!

Notebooks - mydearirene.com_edited-1

And personalized ones, too, with large and shiny initials for loved ones!

Personalized Notebooks - mydearirene.com

The finish is impeccable and the cost to make them is unbeatable! Take a close look at the finishing detail.

Vinyl Detail - mydearirene.com

I honestly can’t pick my favorite.

Glamorous White And Gold Notebooks - mydearirene.com

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.

Vinyl Fabric Dimensions

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.

Spray Adhesive

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.

Drying Spray Adhesive

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.

Cutting Vinyl Fabric _edited-1

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.

Tape On Stencil

7. Position the stencil(s) onto the notebook and press firmly.

Position Stencil

8. Cover the sides and the back cover of the notebook with aluminum foil.

Cover Notebook - mydearirene.com

9. Spray a coat or two of paint, evenly.

Spray Paint - mydearirene.com

10. Lift the stencil away from the notebook and remove the removable tape from the stencil. Let the paint dry.

Remove Stencil - mydearirene.com

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.

Remove Stencil III - mydearirene.com

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!

EC Monogram IV - mydearirene.com_edited-2

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.

Adding Tape - mydearirene.com

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.

Spray Over Tape - mydearirene.com

Let the paint dry before removing the tape, the foil and the scrap paper.

Remove Stripes - mydearirene.com

The stripes come out crisp and straight.

Notebook With Stripes - mydearirene.com

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.

Blue Notebooks - mydearirene.com

One or two of these notebooks tied together with a nice ribbon make a beautiful gift for any occasion.

Notebooks With A bow - mydearirene.com


7 Responses to Oh So Glamorous DIY Notebooks!

    • Mary, they are fancy and for girls only! However, my son asked me to buy him a journal for school – something with a hardcover. Instead, I used some of the blue vinyl fabric on a notebook, and ready!

  1. Love the navy/gold ones. Too bad I only have sons — they would KILL me if I ever tried this on their stuff. However, I could use a few notebooks, and I love the idea of bundling and gifting them. Now you just need to spray the handles of your scissors gold and you will be super-fancy!!!

    • Laura, I bet the boys would love a nautical style with the blue vinyl and white spray painted stripes! For my 10 year old son, I did the blue vinyl for a school journal that he needed, but it was too plain, so I added a very large “R” red sticker – his name’s initial. Thank you for stopping by and I’ll take the scissors’ advice 🙂

  2. I love what you did to these inexpensive composition books. Where did you’d find the vinyl? I would like to make some of these for myself and my sisters.

    • Hi Diana, I bought the vinyl from Joannn’s, but I’m sure that most fabric stores would sell vinyl fabric. There were a couple of different types and I got the most expensive one. Let me know how they turned out 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

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Hi! I'm Angelica! For the last ten years I've been sharing my cooking, home projects and ideas with my sister Irene. "Once Again, My Dear Irene" is just an extension of our daily chats. Moreover "My Dear Irene" Continue Reading