Introduction: Academic Planner From a Composition Notebook, and Duck Duct Tape (Ireland Theme)

I decided to make this academic planner because other planners I had used in the past never had enough space for me to write. I used a 100 page composition notebook that had about 20 used pages, which I turned into reference pages. This project was really fun and will take about 2 hours (not including dating the whole inside).

Composition notebook (I used an old, partially used one)
Sharp Scissors
Glue stick or rubber cement (white glue will cause the paper to wrinkle)
Reference Pages (from your computer, you can print of yearly calendars, monthly calendars, maps, etc. for this)
Duct Tape in your choice of colors (I used Duck Brand Duct Tape Sheets in bright green and yellow, these sheets work best as you want to minimize duct tape edges to ensure it stays looking fresh longer).

Step 1: Inserting Reference Pages

First, make sure you have a clean workspace. I like to put a towel down to ensure pens don't roll of the table and that the space is absolutely clean.

Take your reference pages, make sure the map/calendar/whatever on them is smaller than a page in the composition notebook. Then,  print it out.

Trim the reference pages to size. Place them where you want them in the composition book. If you have an empty page at the front, you may want to save this for a table of contents (so don't glue anything on this page!). Make sure monthly calendars etc. are in the right order at this point.

Glue the corners, and the edges' midpoints with a glue stick or rubber cement. A dab will do ya'. When placing the glue side down, start the contact with the page at the center of the reference sheet. Then, smooth to the corners. This will help prevent wrinkles.

Step 2: Table of Contents and Date Pages

Table of Contents
If you want to have a table of contents, you can number your pages in the notebook and list the reference pages and their page number in the table of contents.

Once you have written in the date pages, you can also list the month and corresponding pages in the table of contents.

Date Pages
This really depends on your personal preference. For this project, I listed Monday-Wednesday on the left side of the book and Thursday-Sunday on the right side. 

In the left header, I wrote the month and dates for Mon, tues, and wed (ex. September 10-12). In the left margin, I wrote the day, the month and the date. I divided the page into 3 horizontal sections, each one with 9 lines (this would depend on how many ruled lines there are per sheet in your book. It just so happened that mine had 27 per page, and 27/3 is 9.)

In the right header, I wrote the month and dates for Thurs, Fri, and Sat (ex. September 13-16). In the right margin, again, I wrote the day, month and date. I also divided this page into 3 horizontal sections the same way I divided the left side. BUT  in the last horizontal sections I drew a vertical line at the midpoint, dividing it into two squares (one for Saturday, one for Sunday). 

Step 3: Basic Cover

You could overlap strips of duct tape for this, but to keep the cover looking fresher for a longer period of time, it is best to minimize edges of the tape. For the basic cover, I used two 8.25 in x 10 in duck tape sheets one on the front, the other on the back. 

First, make sure the cover of your composition book is free from dirt, lint, etc. Debris will cause bumps.
Then, place the sheet on top of the cover, noting how much edge space you have on each side. This will help ensure the book is centered on the sheet.

Second, peel the backing from the short edge back 2 inches, and fold it. This will leave a 2 inch sticky strip exposed, but the rest of the sheet will still be attached to the backing. Place the sheet sticky face down on the composition book, aiming for about the same edge spacing as was previously observed. Stick the strip onto the cover smoothing it in place from the middle, working towards the edges to minimize bumps. 

Taking a ruler, evenly push the rest of the duct tape sheet onto the cover, while peeling the backing off. Fold the edges over the cover and around the binding. On the top and bottom of the binding, trim the sheet where it does not have room to fold over. Don't worry if the corners are messy. Fold them as neatly as possible. They will be finished off in the next step.

Step 4: Edging

Edging ensures that your base cover will stay folded in on the inside of the cover. It also gives a finished look to a composition book's rounded corners. 

Take the color of duct paper you will use for the edging. Determine how wide an edge you want, and cut a strip of duct sheet twice that width. Start by edging the vertical sides on the front and back covers of the book. Because I wanted an edge .5 inches wide, I used a ruler to mark .5 inches in from the edge towards the bottom as well as the top of the book. Line up the strip of tape with these marks, adhere, and fold over. Tuck the edges in at the corners. 

Do the same with the bottom and top edges of the book, trimming the strip at the book's binding where there is no space to fold it over. However, this time, when folding over the corners, be careful to round them with these strips of tape, trimming any excess.

Step 5: Logo / Decoration

Finally, you can add any further decoration you want to this. 

Find the shape you want to add. I found an Irish harp image on the internet. Take a mirror image of the shape you want in the end. Because you will be glueing the image to the back side of the duck tape sheet, it needs to be a mirror image (reverse of the actual image) so that when the front side of the sheet is facing up, the logo is facing the correct direction.

Glue the mirrored image of your shape to the backing of the duck tape sheet, making sure there is glue everywhere on the back of the image so it doesn't fall off when you start to cut it. Then, cut the image out of the duck tape. Flip it over (so it faces up), and it should be the correct image.

Because a harp has delicate strings, I did not cut the strings from the same sheet. Instead, I went back and added the strings (thin strips of duck tape) after I adhered the harp image to the book. 

Finally, I added some green free-form shapes to the body of the harp to make it a bit more interesting. And, then, I was done!