I’m always excited to start seeds indoors for late spring planting, but this year I’m taking it to a whole new level and actually planning my first vegetable and cutting flower garden. I’ve been poring over seed catalogues for about two months and I’ve already tilled the two plots. Now I’m at the planning stage, and as a novice, I’m going through a lot of paper. To keep my motivation up (and to keep all my notes and thoughts in one place), I made some fabric covered notebooks to stay organized. Of course, these personalized notebooks are great for just about anything, from dream journals to “someday” wish lists. This year I’m determined to get my hollyhocks started and dedicate an entire area in the flower garden to old-fashioned flowers, so I chose a bright, vintage-y print for my garden journal! –Caitlin
Click through for the full instructions to make your own fabric covered notebooks!
*This post is brought to you in collaboration with. This project, ideas, and words are from us here at D*S and were created by us, for you. Thanks for supporting our sponsors that help us create and publish original content like this. The Waverly Inspirations collection is available at Walmart.
- Cardboard covered composition book
- Fabric (I used a Waverly Inspirations classic floral and polka dot fabrics)
- Trim (optional)
1. Measure the height and width of your notebook. Since you’ll be covering the inside and outside of the front and back covers, you’ll need to do some quick math in order to cut your fabric. Multiply the height of your notebook x 2. Multiply the width of your notebook x 2. Then add 3″ to both numbers. For example, my notebook was 8.5″ x 11″, so my fabric measurements were 17″ + 3″ (20″ total height) by 22″ + 3″ (25″ total width).
2. Lay your cut fabric print side down on a flat surface width-wise. Place your notebook in the approximate middle of the fabric and open the cover so that the notebook lays open with the front cover to the left. Pull your excess fabric on the left over the front inside cover and adjust the notebook on the full piece of fabric until the left piece folds over the front cover and meets the edge of the notebook next to the binding seam. Mark a vertical line in pencil on the top and bottom of your fabric where the binding line is. That way you can line up your notebook to that center line as you work.
(Image above: front notebook inside cover)
3. You’re not glueing yet, so close the notebook over the fabric on the front inside cover. Once the notebook is closed and the back cover is facing up, open the back cover and fold the fabric over the inside of the back cover just like you did with the front. Make sure you have enough fabric for the book to close easily when wrapped in the fabric.
4. We allowed an extra inch and a half on both sides, so if anything, you may have extra fabric that goes past the back binding edge. If you do, mark a quick line on the fabric in pencil and trim the excess so that it meets the edge of the binding edge. (You can see that center line pencil mark in the photo below too.)
(Image above: back notebook inside cover)
5. Now that you have a piece of fabric cut to wrap the entire notebook, flip the pages of the notebook over the back inside cover, keeping the notebook binding line on your center line you marked in pencil.
6. Pull the fabric flap off of the front inside cover and brush on mod podge or school glue on the inside cover. Use the glue lightly. You don’t need a lot, but you should cover the entire surface of the cover with a light coat. Once it’s covered, fold the fabric over to the edge of the binding. Tap it down lightly, but don’t pull or stretch it. If it looks uneven, just start again so you don’t alter the weave of the fabric. It’s like hanging wallpaper, fold it over and gently flatten it from the center to remove any wrinkles.
7. Once the front inside cover is attached with glue, tuck a dish towel or scrap fabric in between the inside fabric cover and the first sheet of paper in the notebook to prevent the glue from wrinkling your first sheet! Repeat the glue brushing on the front cover and adhere the fabric there too.
(Image above: front notebook outside cover glued)
8. Now that the inside and outside of the front cover are wrapped in fabric, turn the notebook over and repeat the glue and fabric fold process on the back outside, then inside cover. Don’t forget to tuck a dish towel or scrap fabric in between the inside fabric back cover and the last sheet of paper in the notebook.
(Image above: back notebook inside cover that needs to be trimmed to meet the binding edge)
9. Open the notebook and make a 1″ cut on that center line on both the top and bottom of the fabric.
10. Next, you need to trim the inside cover fabric (top and bottom) to the edge of the notebook cover. This doesn’t have to be exact or look pretty! The purpose is to remove some bulk so that when you fold over the fabric at the top and bottom of the cover, there’s only one layer of fabric from the outside to cover the edge of the notebook cover.
You can see me removing that extra inside cover fabric below.
11. With the one layer that’s left on the top and bottom, cut two diagonal lines as shown below so you can apply glue to this strip and fold over to the inside cover. Like I said, it doesn’t have to be pretty because the print will hide the line edge and the glue will allow you to smooth down any stray threads.
12. Brush on glue to this strip and gently fold over and attach to the inside cover. Smooth it down with your finger and either trim loose threads or lay them flat with the glue. Repeat this step for the front top cover and both the back cover top and bottom.
Let the covers dry.
If you’d like to add a pocket for seeds or pencils like I did, I recommend using a glue gun to attach to the inside cover so it has more staying power. You can use the school glue to cover any “seams” you want, like I did with the binding seam and pocket seams seen below.
Now you have a pretty notebook to jot down your #gardengoals or whatever your heart desires! I made three. Once you get started, it’s hard to stop.