Hello, Donna here with my first post as a Hybrid Chick (so be gentle with me). I have followed The Hybrid Chick for years and I can’t even describe the excitement I feel to be on the other side of the screen … writing the article vs. reading the article. So, without further ado… let’s get started.
A favorite hybrid project of mine is altered composition books. They are affordable (usually priced from $0.25-$1.00) and they are easy to make. I use them for work projects, brain dumps, recipes, scrapping ideas, holiday organization… you name it. Plus, they make excellent gifts for almost any age and can be customized to fit your recipient’s interests.
Before we get started, here are the supplies you will need
- Composition Notebook
- Digital Scrapbooking kit
- 2 sheets white cardstock or matte photo paper for printing (I used Staples Brand matte photo paper)
- Mod Podge (I used their Matte-Mat finish)
- Foam brush or paint brush
- X-Acto or scissors
- Ribbon for book mark (optional)
I am making this one for a dear friend of mine. She posted this wonderful quote on Facebook and it became the inspiration for my design. I wanted an art journal kind of feel, so I chose the digital kit “My Altered Life”, a Digichick Boutique Collaboration kit.
I have made many of these over the years and have found that they vary slightly in size. So the first thing I do is measure my book. I measure the vertical length from the top edge of the notebook to bottom edge. Then I measure the horizontal width by placing my ruler about ¼ inches in from the spine and measure to the edge of the notebook. I always add 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch to my measurements on each side, just to be on the safe side. It gives me more wiggle-room when gluing it down… and I can always trim off any excess that laps over the edge.
I am now ready to create my design in my photo editing software (I use Photo Shop Elements). Notice how I added a small black scalloped border to the edge of my design. When completed, it will match up to the book’s spine and will appear as if the spine has a scalloped edge.
Once my design is exactly as I want it, I am ready to print. I am using matte photo paper but you can use white card stock, as well.
Before I glue my printed paper to the book cover, I want to first attach a ribbon book mark. (You can skip this step if you don’t want a book mark). I select ribbon that coordinates with my design and I cut it 3 inches longer than the vertical length of my book.
Next, using double side tape (you can use any adhesive) I attach about 1-2 inches of the ribbon to the top back of the book, close to the spine (see photo below).
Now I am ready to start attaching my printed paper to the book. But, before I start with the Mod Podge, I place the pages in a gallon-sized zip lock bag. This keeps the Mod Podge from getting on the interior pages. (Believe me, it is no fun when you end up with stuck together pages.)
After cutting out my design, I use a thin layer of Mod Podge to “glue” the paper down. (I use a nylon or sable paint brush to apply the Mod Podge, but you can use a foam brush, as well.)
To glue the paper to the cover, I line up my paper starting from the outside edges and working my way toward the spine. You can use a brayer, a credit card, or do what I do and use the side of your hand to smooth the paper down. Don’t panic if you see a few bubbles. They will disappear once it dries.
Once my front and back covers are on, I let it dry for 30 minutes, or so. Then using an exacto knife or a scissors, I trim the corners and any edges that may have overlapped a bit.
Now, I am ready to apply the top coat of Mod Podge. (Make sure your interior pages are inside your gallon bag, protected from the glue). I apply a generous coat of Mod Podge to the front cover. It goes on white, but dries clear. I apply it fairly thick and use long smooth continuous strokes to apply it. It should always feel like the Mod Podge is gliding over the paper.
If it feels like it is skipping across the paper with each stroke, you will need to add more Mod Podge to the area. Most brush strokes will blend as they dry, so don’t get carried away on perfection. If you over-work an area your design may smudge. Once the front dries, it’s time to coat the back…. And your final step … coat the spine. Again, don’t panic if you see the paper warping or bubbling a little. It will flatten out as it dries.
Tada! All done … a beautiful journal ready for gift giving. (If you are going to gift wrap your book, be sure to let it dry overnight first.)
Here’s the front:
and the back:
Embellish: You can add additional embellishments (rhinestones, buttons, charms, glitter, etc) after your final coat of Mod Podge is applied (allow the cover to dry for 30 minutes before applying your embellishments)
Covered spine: You can also cover the spine. I personally like the black spine of the composition book, but I have covered the spine when my design didn’t work well with black. There’s several ways to do this. You can use a coordinating strip of duct tape or you can make a spine with card stock or digital papers. Simply measure out a 2 1/4 inch strip to cover your side binding and adhere it to the spine after you have glue on the front and back covers. I like to mold it onto the binding first, before I glue it down.
Skip Top Coat: I lug my books all over the place so having the cover protected by the Mod Podge is critical for me. However, if your book is going to stay on your desk or you are not worried about the cover becoming soiled, you could skip the Mod Podge top coat.
Inside covers: You can cover the inside of the front and back covers. Just measure, print, cut and glue corresponding papers to the inside. You can glue them down with any adhesive and you don’t need a Mod Podge top coat. I have also included a pocket on the inside covers to catch receipts, etc.
If you create a journal, I’d love to see it! Post the link to your journal in the comment section below.
Other Articles by Donnatopia:
- Trick or Treat Handouts: Quick and Easy Halloween Bookmarks - October 2nd, 2015
- Last Minute Gift Idea - December 17th, 2014
- Holiday Pop up Box Card Tutorial - December 11th, 2014
- City Sidewalks Wall Art: Quick and Easy - December 3rd, 2014
- The Hatchery: Gift Card Cutting files - November 30th, 2014