I love paper.   While my office is going paperless, I am in love with paper, physical books and lovely pens.   My favorite catalog is Levenger.    That should pretty much sum up how I feel about writing on paper right there.

I have filled notebooks upon notebooks and expensive journal among expensive journal.  There is something about writing in a composition notebook that is freeing somehow.   A reminder of simpler times–maybe it’s just the wide rule and the freedom to be sloppy that it provides.

Regardless, with my love for all things paper and pen, I still like PRETTY things and things that feel good.   I will show you how to make a pretty, yet frugal notebook for whatever you want to write.


4 – 12×12 scrapbooking paper (can be gotten Uber-cheap at Jo-Ann’s when it goes on sale (I just paid $9.99 for 180 sheets ($0.05 1/2 cents each).   You will need 2 of one print and 2 of a coordinating print/solid.   I personally like the combination of a print and a solid, but you don’t need to do that.

a normal sized composition notebook.   Between $1-2 each normal price OR you can get them for under $0.50 if you buy them during the back to school sales.

Glue sticks – approximately 1 small/regular glue stick for each notebook


1.  On a piece of 8-1/2″ x 11″ scrap paper, trace the cover of the notebook in one corner of the scrapbook page with the spine of the notebook on the inside of the page, not the edge.   Trace along the top until you almost hit where the spine angles to the “point”.

2.  Cut out the piece.   This template is for the covers of the notebooks; it is essential to make sure that it is deep enough to go inside the notebook from the inside spine all the way out to the edge.   Check that part first!    Trim edges & corners or make larger, if necessary.

3.   Once you have the template the right size.   Put it in the bottom left corner of the white side of your scrapbook page.    Trace around your cover template.  (Pieces A & B.)

4.  Once you’ve done that, take your top and draw it all the way across the page.   Your remaining piece will be scrap paper.   (Piece C.)

After you’ve drawn these lines, the page should look approximately like this:

4.  Cut out pieces.   Piece A is for the covers of the notebooks, Piece B is the spine and Piece C is scrap.  I’m sure you can find a good use for it :).

Repeat 4 times.   You should have 4 covers (2 of one color for the outside and 2 of another color for the inside), 4 spine coverings (You will use one and have 3 extra), and 4 pieces of scrap paper.

I personally like to use the same color on the spine as on the inside cover.   If you are doing a bunch of these (like I did) you can mix and match them.

5.  Take the pieces that you would like on the outside and glue them on with a glue stick, one at a time, taking care to line up the curved edges.   Trim if necessary (a mat & a razor are useful for this — scissors are much harder).

6.  Then go inside the notebook and glue on the inside pages.    Again, trim if necessary.

7.  Lastly, glue the spine on the outside.  There will be overlap and that’s okay.

8.  Let dry for a day or so & then enjoy!

9.   If you are Uber-crafty, you could use all sorts of awesome stuff to embellish the covers.

I made about 30 of these for Christmas last year and gave them out in sets of 3 coordinating ones (for the most part).   I got a lot of complements on them.  I intended to have posted this as a part of Christmas in July so you could get the notebooks during the back to school sales and make them this year, but it didn’t work out that way and I was able to have it ready to post after the baby came :).

Have you made these before?   I’d love to see pics of how they turned out — feel free to share links to pics in the comments!

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