Introduction: Adventure Book From Up

About: Huge geek who loves trying new things. This generally gets me into some weird projects. Figured it was time to start sharing them!

The movie "Up" came out back in 2009 and is still a wonderful movie. For those who forget, Carl spent the whole movie trying to take Ellie on an adventure to Paradise Falls, only to find out that she had enjoyed their life/adventure together when he looked through her adventure book. As my wife and I are both fans of the movie, I wanted to make her one for her birthday to keep track of our adventures together.


  • Simple scrap book
  • Leather textured paper
  • Red, blue, orange, and yellow textured paper
  • ModPodge Matte glue/sealer
  • Black string/twine
  • Cardboard


  • Paint brush/sponge
  • Knife + Cutting Board or Scissors
  • Printer
  • Tape
  • Pen
  • Measuring tape
  • Red Sharpie Marker

Step 1: Create the Spine

Most scrap books I found had a fairly small spine and were folded over to hide the hardware. I couldn't find any books that had the nice wide spine and were wider than they were tall. Luckily, with some minor adjustment, a basic scrap book can be modified into the shape we need.

Open one cover of the scrap book all the way and fold back the piece closest to the spine. This will reveal 2 bolts/fasteners. Do the same for the other cover so both ends of these bolts are visible. You should be able to unscrew these bolts with your fingers as they likely won't be tight. If they are, a screw driver will help.

Once these bolts are removed, the pages will fall out. Set them off to the side and we will put them back in later.

With those spine flaps folded back, the spine is the perfect width for our book. The problem is that the flaps will keep moving and trying to close themselves again. To fix this, measure how wide the spine is now from the edge to where the cover bends to open. Cut 2 strips of cardboard that are that wide and as long as the book is tall. I used some thinner corrugated cardboard (similar to pizza box thickness).

Next, you need to glue this cardboard strip to the inside of the spine. This will strengthen the spine so it will keep its shape. Take some of the ModPodge glue and spread it over the inside of the spine and one side of the cardboard strip using a brush. Use a decent amount of glue as this doesn't need to look amazing and will get a lot of movement as the book is used. Glue one strip onto each cover spine and weight it down for a few hours.

Step 2: Add "Leather"

The next step is to add some "leather" to the cover. Adding actual leather would be expensive and hard, but when you can buy paper that looks like leather for under $1/sheet, that is a decent option for a project like this.

Unfortunately, the paper I found is smaller than the book cover, which means that the covering needs to be pieced together. When piecing this together, try to work from smaller pieces up to larger pieces. This will help to hide some of the seams.

When cutting pieces, make sure to have at least 1/4" of overlap between neighbouring pieces, and 1/2" of extra material to wrap around to the back-side of the cover.

Step 3: Clean Up the Corners

When you are gluing the large coverings to the front, you will have to deal with overlaps on the corners when you fold the material behind the covers. These are easy enough to fix, but will need a little practice.

First, fold one edge of the paper over and glue it solidly to the the back-side of the cover. Next, fold the corner (where the two edges overlap) into a small triangle. Depending how thick the paper is, you may be able to stop here, or you might need to rip out the paper that is on the back side (hidden part) of the triangle.

Once you have your corner prepped, put a little glue inside the corner triangle before folding the whole edge over and gluing it tight.

Step 4: Finish the Spine

Now that the book is covered in leather, we want to finish the spine. This is very similar to how the main leather part was done. It will need to be pieced to together, with the corners done the same, just using the red paper instead of leather.

When you put the paper over the bending point in the spine, make sure to add lots of glue and push the paper into that joint really well. If there is a gap in there, or it isn't glued well, it is more likely to break off or rip during use.

Step 5: Add the Lettering

To make the letters, I took a screenshot from the movie and adjusted the image using a program called GIMP. I used the Perspective Tool to make it so I was looking at the book face straight-on. If I didn't do this, the letters would get smaller towards one edge of the book. I also made it black and white and cut out unnecessary parts of the image just to save on ink. Once this image was made, just printed it out on plain paper.

I cut the black and white letters out to get the general shape and laid them on the book to make sure sizing was right. I then traced them onto the colour paper to get the outlines for the final letters. This doesn't need to be exact. Remember, a kid made this book in the movie so a little inaccuracy will add "charm".

Once you have your final letters traced out, use a knife or scissors to cut them out. In our case, I changed it from My Adventure Book to Our Adventure Book so I had to make up some extra letters.

Finally, glue them onto your book. I find it easiest to lay out all if the letters first, then glue them on one at a time. This will make sure that they all line up where you want them to at the end. Make sure to add glue all over the back of the letters, and especially to get to the tips of the paper. This will help make sure that they don't lift up because of time or use.

Looking back on this, I'm sure there is a much less repetitive way of accomplishing this. If you have the time, this way is simple and doesn't require any fancy tools.

Step 6: Final Touches

The final touches are always the scariest part of a project. You've put all of this work in, and now you're going to colour and paint all over it. Be brave. These last two steps pull it all together, and will protect your work.

Red Details

If you look closely, there is a big red circle and two red boxes on the cover of the book.

For the squares, I measured in from the edges the same amount and put a dot, then came back and connected the dots into the squares using a straight-edge.

The circle was trickier. I ended up using an old plate and marking points all around it, being careful not to actually get permanent marker on the plate. I then manually drew the circle by connecting the dots.

Cover It All

Here comes the scariest part. Take some ModPodge and cover the entire book with a decent layer. Try to smooth it out as much as possible with a brush or sponge, and make sure to get all of your exposed paper edges. This will make sure to protect all of the work you've put in. It will protect the cover from marks, and will also help keep corners from peeling. This step is why I chose Matte ModPodge. Even though it dries clear, I didn't want it to be too obvious by being shiny.

Step 7: Put It All Back Together

First step is to take some scissors and re-make the holes that go through the covers. You can use your fingers to find where the holes used to be be, then cut through the red paper, and the added cardboard.

Next, to be able to tie this all back together, take a little of the masking tape and wrap it around the end of the twine and shape it into a point. This will almost make a needle to thread through the holes.

Take your tape needle and push it through the front cover, then through the pages that were removed earlier, and the back cover. Repeat from the back to the front on the second hole. Up until now, you can leave lots of slack when doing this as it might be tricky to line everything up. Make sure to pull a lot of string through. It will be easier to do that now than once it is more tied together.

Take your tape needle and repeat the step above. This will give you one full loop through the book spine. Keep feeding and pulling the string to tighten the whole thing up. Making one full loop around the spine makes sure that even if the string breaks, the whole book won't just fall apart.

Cut off the ball of string leaving about 12" of string on the book and do the same with the tape needle end. Tie them in a bow-tie in the middle.

Step 8: Make It Yours

The last step is to add your adventures to the book. I'm not going to pretend to be scrapbook-inclined in any way so there isn't a ton of advice I can give. I found some double-sided tape meant for pictures that seemed nice as it made it so you could re-position the pictures without a problem. Luckily, since the book is just tied together with string, you could easily untie it and add pages as needed if you fill it up.

Paper Contest 2018

Participated in the
Paper Contest 2018