Tuesday, 27 October 2009

A notebook tutorial on 27th of Blogtober

Here's the notebook tutorial, as promised :-)

Fabric-covered notebook

You will need: mountboard or sturdy cardstock, fabric, scissors, adhesive, Crop-a-Dile or other hole punch tool, book rings, ribbons/buttons/stickers etc for embellishment (see step-by-steps for sizes and other details!)

First you need to decide how big you want your notebook to be. I usually make them A6, but long thin ones can be useful for shopping lists, and sometimes you might want a larger size - it really depends how you want to use it! Will it sit on a desk at home? Or do you want to be able to carry it round with you in a pocket or handbag? What kind of notes is it for? Short sentences, odd words, jottings? Or longer pieces of writing, such as journaling, story-writing, drafting articles or pieces of coursework?

Having made that decision, you'll need two pieces of sturdy cardstock in that size. One reason I usually go for A6 size is that I can get hold of A5 mountboard quite cheaply and just need to cut it in half to give me both front and back cover :-)

Next you need to gather together some fabric for the front cover. Pretty much anything will do - leftovers from other projects, spare pillowcases, pieces of outgrown clothes (though I only use items that aren't good enough to pass on to a charity shop) - you could even buy some specially! ;-)

Each piece needs to be just a little bit bigger than your front cover - there should be at least an inch spare on each edge.

Then you need to iron the fabric (yes, I'm sorry, but I'm afraid 'tis so...)

There are various ways of adhering the fabric to the cover but I tend to favour double-sided tape for most of my crafting. I'd recommend tape of about 1cm wide for this project but I seem to have run out, so I've used narrower tape here! I also strongly recommend the kind where the backing has a slight overlap to make it easier to lift away, as there are a couple of steps where that will be a _lot_ easier to work with. Apply tape all round the edge of the piece of mountboard/cardstock that is destined for the front cover:

As you can see, I've used two lines of tape on one edge. This is where I plan to punch the holes later, and I want to make absolutely sure the fabric is secure in this area. (This extra tape may not be necessary if you're using the wider variety.) I also applied tape in the same way to the other side of the piece of mountboard. You can if you wish apply tape to pretty much the whole of the piece of board or cardstock, to ensure that the fabric is secure, but I've found that thoroughly sticking down the edges is enough.

Now remove the backing from all the tape on one side of the mountboard/cardstock and lay it sticky side down on top of the fabric, making sure that the fabric is wrong side up! Turn the piece over and smooth the fabric over the mountboard, pressing down firmly along each edge. Then flip it again and trim away any excess fabric so there's a border of about 1 inch:

Next peel away the backing for the rest of the tape and neatly fold in the corners of the fabric, pressing down firmly:

And then add a little more tape in those corners:

Peeling the backing away from these little pieces can be fiddly, as the tape will want to come away from the fabric! If you've got the kind where the backing overlaps that will help. Make sure you press the tape down hard onto the fabric - rubbing it with the back of a fingernail or with a rub-on tool will help it to adhere. Alternatively, you can use glue dots in the corners.

*Make sure you remember which edge has the extra tape, because you're about to cover it up now! You can draw a tiny arrow in pencil in the centre of the inside cover if you like, as this will be covered up later, but at some point you'll just need to make a mental note!*

Fold the edges of the fabric over, again pressing down firmly:

Now just check that the fabric is smoothly adhered with no wrinkles. If you need to peel away a bit and re-do it you should find that the double-sided tape allows you to do this OK.

Next we need to cover up those messy edges, and make the cover stronger and the fabric more secure in the process. Cut a piece of cardstock to slightly smaller than the size of your cover. (With A6 notebooks I trim about 1/4 inch off the long and short edges of a piece of A6 cardstock.) Apply tape to the edges and a bit extra to the centre of this cardstock and stick it down centrally on the inside of your front cover:

Here's what it looks like from the front now:

Right then, quick!! Before you forget where the extra tape is! I use my Big Bite to punch the holes, though other kinds of hole punch should do the trick. (Alternatively of course you can use a Bind-It-All or similar, but I don't have one so I don't know how/if it handles fabric.) It's up to you exactly where you place the holes - and indeed, how many holes you have - but for an A6 notebook I generally go for two holes, 1 1/2 inches from the top or bottom edge, and about 1/2 inch in from the side.

If the fabric looks like fraying around the holes, or if you just want a neater or a different look, you can always set eyelets into each hole - but do make sure the book rings will fit through the eyelets OK!

Use the front cover as a guide to placing the holes in the back cover and, later, the pages themselves.

(You can also cover the other piece with fabric so both front and back covers look pretty... :-) I usually leave it plain though!)

Then you can decorate that front cover! I've included below one example of how you could do it and there's another 'look' here, but this is a great opportunity to use your imagination and any supplies you have available :-) Just one thing to remember: if you want to be able to carry this around in your bag, make sure everything is very securely stuck down, and you may want to avoid anything with too much dimension. (Buttons aren't out of the question though, but use glue dots so they're well and truly stuck!) You want to avoid loose edges in this case, too. If it's a 'stay-at-home' kind of notebook then you don't need to worry quite so much, but do bear in mind that it will be handled a fair bit.

So, this is how I embellished this particular notebook. First I applied two strips of ribbon across the cover, near the bottom. One was a nice red grosgrain, and for this I first applied a strip of tape across the cover, allowing it to overlap slightly at both ends:

I peeled away the backing and carefully placed the ribbon on top, again allowing it to overlap. I pressed down firmly then trimmed both ends:

Doing it this way helps to prevent the ribbon from fraying. Placing the tape first also helps you to keep the ribbon in a straight line! This also works well on cards and LOs...

For the ric-rac the tape was too wide, so this time I used glue dots. Did you know you can roll glue dots into thin strips?! I only found this out quite recently, and it was a bit of a *doh* moment! Very useful indeed in cases like this :-) I applied rolled glue dots here and there along the back of the ric-rac, making sure that when I positioned it on the cover there would be glue dot overlapping at each end:

(Ahem. I'm thinking I should maybe have ironed the ric-rac first...)

Then I pressed it into place and trimmed the ends as before.

(If you want the ribbon to be neater and also more securely adhered, you can use a longer length and wrap the edges round to the back of the cover - before adding the cardstock to the inside of the cover.)

Then I added letter stickers:

Then finally I put the book rings through the front and back covers. No pages yet lol! If you want plain (or lined) paper, just cut it to the same size as the covers or slightly smaller, punch holes using the cover as a guide, and join it all using book rings. Or you can use repurposed papers such as old book pages, maps, small pieces of notepaper or patterned paper etc, postcards, etc, etc.... As I did here (with more pics here).

Phew! Made it lol! Thanks for reading my latest tutorial - feedback and comments always welcome :-)

(Also, this is my craft for Craft It Wednesday - which doesn't have to be posted on a Wednesday!! It's kind of my contribution for last week, though actually the new MckLinky is up so it's kind of my contribution for this week too...)

Also, because once again I don't have enough to do.... (*hollow laughter*!) I've signed up for one of Shimelle's archived classes, Worth a Thousand Words:

The advantage of it being archived is that I won't feel any need to 'keep up', I can go through the prompts at my own pace. The disadvantage of this is, of course, I may not actually get on with it at all... I'll have to see how I go with Blogging for Scrapbookers (which I keep trying to call Scrapping for Bloggers!!) but with Journal Your Christmas on the horizon too I may just have bitten off more than I can chew....


Amy said...

Looks good Mel, I have not tried fabric before - most of my books are spiral bound journals that I take apart and cover with a similar technique but use paper instead. Your photography and instructions are very clear, thank you.

JO SOWERBY said...

thanx for ur lovely comment, mel. I luv ur blogs....scrapping clothes and food - what more can u ask for, see u in class,
luv jo xxx

Jen said...

Great instructions - thanks. I like this idea so I might well try it - I usually use paper - but have so much fabric sitting in boxes!!

Rachel Brett said...

Lovely Notebook Mel, The fabric is so cute!

Jen Martakis said...

This is a fabulous tutorial! Love the notebook!

Vikki said...

This is lovely Mel,I admired the notebook you made for LSNED. And thanks for the rolling the glue dots tip - never thought of that!

Anonymous said...

Hi Mel! Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog! Having some improvements done to the house at the moment, so having to sneak away in between clean ups to do some blogging, etc. I should be able to keep up with BfS, so look for ward to following your blog more closely than of late.Love the notebook. Irene X

The Creative Beast said...

this is a great tutorial! love the finished item =-)

Kerry said...

What a fantastic tutorial. Definitely going to try using fabric next time I make a book.

I also use double sided tape for most of my crafting.

Andrea said...

Awesome! I just followed you here from Craft it Wed and I love your journal! Thanks for all the details and photos - I've never thought of double sided tape for fabric - great idea!! I have just the fabric I wanna try this with!!


Jan said...

Just popping in from Shimelle's class. Fab blog some lovely craft items on there.
Have fun - Jan

lv2scpbk said...

Looks like a wonderful project. My computer is finally back on.

Sarah said...

This is fantastic. Thank you for the tutorial x

Lisa-Jane said...

Great tutorial! Visiting from Shimelle's class but the second run!