Custom Notebooks for under $5!

Mandy added a great how-to to make cute custom notebooks. As soon as I saw them I knew I had to do it too. So I did.

DIY Notebooks for under $5

Love my notebooks?

However. I’m not that “scrpbooky” so the project kind of freaked me out. I took a look around the dollar stores (about six of them) and realized I had no clue what’s OK and what’s not OK to affix to notebooks. And how do you even affix things properly?

In high school and even throughout university I would collage my binders with magazine and real life photos. After I glued them down I would cover the binders in packing tape. It took ages and looked a bit silly I guess, but it was pretty awesome/unique/awesome at the time. I wanted to do a slightly more professional job this time around.

So I went to the source: my sister-in-law. Not my new sister-in-law. The old one. Just kidding Natasha! You’re not old!

My not-old sister-in-law is a scrapbooking maverick—truly talented. So after I finally found composition books (they were irritatingly difficult to locate) I headed over to what we shall now refer to as the Den of Scrapbooking.

In reality it’s the basement at her house but it’s all unfinished and holds oddball things like a Foosball table, a treadmill, a fully decorated Christmas tree, and (of course) piles of scrapbook supplies spread out over two folding tables and beyond.

I should have taken a picture.

Anyway, after looking through paper for what felt like hours, I finally got my sister Jaclyn to choose the combinations I would use. I knew I wanted layers but I didn’t know which ones. She’s in design school so she is trained to make courageous choices all the time. I’m a writer so I second-guess every detail.

Front and back of DIY notebooks

Front and back

Then we went into the Den of Scrapbooking and stayed there for a while. Not for the length of the Superbowl, but pretty darn close to half of it. Of course this could be because foosball games broke out, children came down to make their own Valentine’s Day cards, and I take forever with the double sided tape.

I used all my sister-in-law’s supplies, since she’s um…well stocked, but she kept a running total for me so I could let everyone know the cost of the notebook re-covering project.

  • Notebook: $1.50
  • Pieces of scrapbook paper: $0.10 each
  • Double-sided tape: $3.00 a roll

Of course you don’t use an entire roll of tape, so the cost is quite small. And to get the paper for so cheap, you have to buy it at Costco or someplace similar in large quantities. So don’t be mislead: there are some start-up costs involved.

And if you want to cut the word “love” out, you’ll need a cutter thingy, which is quite amazing but will run you a few bucks or several.

But don’t be sad! There is good news if you only want to do the odd small project: many scrapbook stores will let you use their equipment if you purchase your paper there. So, you could actually show up at the shop and create your entire project there for a relatively small cost—even if it takes all day!

I should also mention I did an extremely simple project here. I’m not even going to pretend I know what I’m doing. It was trouble enough cutting straight lines (with a cutter) and then getting them on to the notebook. And my sister-in-law cut out the “love” and the hearts for me. But man was it fun.

Actually, now that I think about it…she cut MOST of the paper for me!