Introduction: Composition/spiral Bound Notebook Up-do

About: I'm an artist, environmentalist, animal lover, gardener, recycling nut, a high school teacher, crafter, Mom, Christian and widow who reads a lot in between figuring out how to do things.

This instructable will show how to refurbish and fancy up (up-do) plain composition books or spiral bound notebooks.

I'm a middle school art teacher and use some of my projects presented on Instructables as lessons for my students. My students are required to have a notebook for daily use in class. But sometimes students aren't able to purchase a notebook, so I recycle one that is from a student who moved or one that had a lot of use left and was saved for this purpose. But because the notebooks are used, this project makes them more attractive and therefore more acceptable.

Second, many of my students are lower income and cannot afford fancy notebooks and this project makes the plain and sometimes cheap notebook into a stronger and more useful material. The spiral bound notebooks are usually more economical, but the metal spirals have the tendency to come loose, or worse snag on everything.  Covering the spiral with cloth keeps it from snagging and also unwinding.

Third and probably most important, when students spend time decorating their notebooks and personalizing them, they care for them more and are more likely to use them!

Step 1: Measure and Glue

Step 2: Finishing

After it has dried, open the notebook and fold over the extra edge on the inside. Glue down this edge. You may also put another piece of paper over the inside cover (called an endpaper) to disguise the maybe uneven edges. Trim the area over the binding if needed.

  • You may create a bookmark to help you find your place. This needs to be made of fabric or ribbon.
Cut a piece of ribbon or fabric about 2 -3 inches longer than the measurement from top to bottom (do this before gluing down the endpapers). Check your measurement before gluing down to see placement and also to make sure the bottom edge sticks out enough. Glue down at least 2 inches of the ribbon on the top and near the binding/spiral. Put the end paper over top of the bookmark and the edges.

You may do as many of these ribbons as you need. On one example, I included 3 ribbons (one for each grade level that I teach).
  • You may include a pocket in the end paper to store things. You may include a pocket on the outside.  I’ll show a pocket you can make on the inside of the notebook too. I'm not showing a pocket to hold a pen/pencil as I don't want my students to copy that example and add extra bulk as I have storage issues.

  • You could make a wrap around ribbon that ties or buttons or uses Velcro to close.
Voila! A notebook customized and done up fancy! Doesn't this look better? Enjoy!
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