This is a prop notebook I made for my Halloween cosplay this year. The character I was portraying carries around an old book, but old-fashioned notebooks like that aren't cheap, and I wasn't ready to spend that kind of money on a prop, so thrift store to the rescue!
Step 1: What You Will Need
- A Notebook with a Hard Cover
It'll be completely covered, so don't worry about the condition of the cover. If the pages are yellowed or worn, even better!
- Brown Fabric
Again, the more damaged it is, the better. I used an old throw pillow cover.
- A Strip of Slightly Different Fabric
This will be used as the spine. The throw pillow cover had some ribbing detail on one side that was perfect, but this could be substituted for a strip of darker material or the reverse side of the fabric, if it is different.
- Light Brown Cardstock
This will go on the inside covers and should be a tan or off-white colour.
- A Glue Gun
Step 2: Wrapping the Front and Back Covers
Cut the brown fabric slightly larger than the cover of the book.
Using the glue gun, draw a line of glue along the bottom of the inside cover and lay your fabric along the line, smoothing it with a popsicle stick (or your finger if you don't mind the sensation of your fingertips burning).
Close the book, letting the fabric hang out. Glue along the side of the cover that attaches to the spine and stretch the fabric and lay it down on the glue so that it is tight against the book.
Open the book again, and glue along the top of the inside cover, pulling the end of the remaining fabric tightly over, smoothing it with the popsicle stick.
On the remaining side, glue the two corners in towards the middle, forming a triangle (see pictures above). Glue down the final side to the inside cover. If it doesn't look neat, don't worry! This will be covered up in a later step.
Repeat for back cover.
Step 3: Adding the Spine
Take a long, thin strip of the second fabric. If the ends of the fabric are frayed, you can glue or sew them inwards to make the line cleaner.
Open the book, holding the pages up, but leaving the cover flat. Center the narrow end of the fabric with the pages, gluing it to the narrow lip above the pages.
Flip the book over, stretching the fabric over the spine. Center and glue it to the narrow lip opposite the first, trimming if needed.
Glue the loose sides of the fabric to the book.
Step 4: Covering Up the Mess
Cut two pieces of brown card stock to the size of a page in the notebook (it should be slightly smaller than the size of the cover).
Glue one piece of card stock to each inside cover, lining it up so that it is centered with the top and bottom, but connects to the 'hinge' of the book, so that you can still see a thin strip of fabric on three of the sides (like in the second image).
Fun fact*: In books, this paper is known as a 'pastedown'.
*It's a fun fact for me, but I work in a library, so maybe I'm biased?
Step 5: All Done!!!
Admire your finished notebook and give yourself a high-five.