DIY Notebooks

Hello there, creative people out in the cybersphere!

Today the sky is filled with smoke and everything is bathed in yellow light. There is a monochromatic filter over the world. To counteract that, we should add color and dreams and fill the page with pop and sparkle.

I’ve missed communicating with you and missed creating blog posts with art projects and musings. So, I said to myself, “Self, get busy!” There is work to be done and exchanges to made, and as we are distracted by environmental, social, health and political challenges, no better time than now to dig in and make something with your hands.

So, a few weeks ago, my kids started talking about “Back to School” supplies- binders, pencils, notebooks. We decided that nobody needs another plain grey notebook, especially not this year, and that we should create our own notebook covers. As online school unfolds for us, here’s a project that can brighten your math, spelling, science, language arts, music, etc., etc. folders.


Composition books – They are often available at dollar stores or drug stores or of course, office supply stores.

White acrylic paint or gesso


Acrylic or craft paint in variety of colors


Optional: glue, glitter glue, Mod-Podge, collage papers


For me, this project falls under the category of “altered books”. So first, we need to begin the alteration by painting the front and back cover of the composition book. To protect the pages inside, I would put a piece of scrap cardboard inside the front and back cover and begin painting the entire cover with the white gesso or white acrylic paint. Don’t water the paint down because though the cover is thicker than the inside pages, it will still absorb water.

Cover your book covers with white gesso or paint and then let dry completely. 

The next step is all about your creativity and designing a book that reflects an academic subject, your favorite book, fashions, or perhaps an abstract pattern.

For spelling, my daughter created a “spelling bee” book.

For science, another daughter made a galaxy.

For a language arts notebook, another daughter made an inspiring seascape.

And a friend of mine altered a notebook with a card of Harry Potter.

Have fun and good luck with the start of school- online and/or in-person…and thank you teachers, administrators and so many other people out there who are working so hard to make this challenging time more gratifying. Your hard work and patience do not go unnoticed. 

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: