For some reason, I thought it was a good idea to buy a big box of comics, old and new, at an auction. They have been sitting in my craft room for some time so the other day, I decided to upcycle one of the Simpson's comics to create a couple of child-size notebooks for my grandchildren. I used cardboard from cereal boxes and for the pages I used smooth heavy weight recycled paper. The only part of these notebooks that isn't recycled is the waxed thread I used to stitch the pages in and possibly the glue. The little boys I made them for loved them and immdediately started drawing pictures in them.
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Step 1: Gather Materials
To create the notebook you will need:
- An empty cereal box
- A Simpson's comic that is no longer wanted as a comic (or other comic of course)
- Some decoupage glue (I used matte but you could use glossy)
- 12 sheets of recycled heavyweight smooth white paper 8.5 x 6 inches
- Several feet of waxed thread
- A piece of stiff 8.5 x 6 inch card cut in half to use as a template
- A glue brush
- Metal ruler
- Cutting mat
- A bone folder
- A piece of transparent film measuring 4.25 x 6 inches to use for framing which part of the comic you will cut out
- Some rock music (optional)
Step 2: Cutting and Measuring the Cereal Box Covers
Open out the cereal box and cut in half.
Take the 8.5x6 inch stiff card and carefully cut exactly in half. You will use one of the pieces as a template.
Lay the template on one of the pieces of cereal box and draw around it. Then measure about a quarter of an inch around the line. I folded up a piece of card stock to a quarter of an inch and held it against the card on each edge in turn to get my measurement and that worked for me. You could just make your template the right size to begin with but where I live, our standard paper and card sizes are such that it is just easier to fold the standard size in half and then add a quarter of an inch around the edge with a pencil when marking out.
I add the extra quarter inch all around because I have found if I make the covers exactly the same size as the pages, it doesn't look so good.
So basically, you need to cut two covers out of the cereal box which will be a quarter inch bigger than your folded pages will be.
Step 3: Paint the Cardboard With Glue
Take your glue brush and slather on the decoupage glue really well to both covers. Let dry and then do the other side. Let that dry too. I do this to condition the cereal box cardboard and make it slightly more robust. It also helps stop it warping when you glue the comic paper on.
Step 4: Decide on Your Images
Take your chosen comic and the piece of transparent plastic (I use the old overhead projector film sheets because I have a big box that someone gave me), and place it over the comic in various places to assess where you will cut your front and back cover images from and also your inside cover images. Use the pencil or a pen to mark out your chosen images. Then, for the front and back cover images, take the ruler and mark out an extra half inch all round to allow for folding the edges over the cardboard.
Then cut the corners off the front and back cover images taking care to ensure that when you fold them in,
they create neat corners with no gaps. It isn't the end of the world if there are gaps because you will be sticking the inside cover images over the folded in edges and can take any mistakes into account when trimming the inside covers down. You can leave them a bit bigger if you have gaps to cover up.
For the inside cover images, just cut out to the size of the cover and trim down a fraction all round. Ideally, your inside covers should be smaller than the actual cover but if you have not trimmed your outside cover corners well enough, you may need to keep them to almost exactly the same size as the cover to mask your errors! I am speaking from experience of course.
Step 5: Glue Your Images On
Take your covers and put lots of glue on them. Place your cover centrally and press down evenly. Fold the edges over neatly to the inside and paint lots of glue on them. Then turn them over and glue the inside covers over the exposed areas inside.
Let them dry and then paint more decoupage glue all over the covers to make them more robust and smooth.
Step 6: Bind Your Notebooks
Once you have completed your covers. Take the twelve sheets of 8.5 x 6 inch heavy weight paper and fold each piece exactly in half. Score each crease with a bone folder. Then make up four sets of three and visit here on YouTube to see how to do Coptic Binding if you don't already know.
I can't tell you as well as the person who made the video so there is no point in me trying to reinvent the wheel. I have made lots of these books and I still go back to this video every time I need to bind. The tutor advises making up the folio sets in fours but I have advised three's here because the paper I used was more or less like card and four was too much. If your paper is thinner, you could use more pages and make them in sets of four.
Have fun with your comic notebooks!