Thursday 12 September 2013

Decorated Notebooks, Scrapbooks and Photo Albums

Here's Kelly with a tutorial for older children and adults alike. I am totally doing this. 

Do you remember covering your schoolbooks in wrapping paper or other decorative paper and protecting them with sticky backed plastic? Me too! Every work book for every subject had a different cover and I vividly remember that my French text book was covered in cartoon cows - not sure why but obviously at the time I thought it was cool!
Inspired by this schoolbook nostalgia, I have a simple but fun craft idea for you to create a special notebook, scrapbook or photo album that you can make with your children and that will look really special. Perhaps you can make a nice notebook for their new term at school or you could make a lovely photo album to collect all your photos of summer sun and fun. I can guarantee your friends and family will want one too and it's a great project to try at home.
So, here's my step-by-step guide to making a Heartfelt Notebook, Scrapbook or Photo Album:

What you'll need:
  • A basic notebook, scrapbook or photo album – try looking in Home Bargains, Wilkinsons or Asda for a good quality but good value option.
  • Double-sided sticky backed plastic - I bought A4 sheets of this from a craft supplier online but you could use double-sided tape.
  • One sheet of felt - I bought my felt from HM Textiles via eBay for £3.50 per one metre of craft felt. They've got a great range of colours and the felt is really good quality.
  • Superglue or glue gun.
  • Scissors – the sharper, the better, so perhaps do this part yourself rather than your children.
  • Pen.
  • Embellishments - you can decorate your book with anything that takes your fancy. I've used other swatches of felt cut into shapes, I've bought embellishments from Hobbycraft and buttons are always great to add a homely touch to any project such as this.
  • Card - I have a wide range of patterned card scraps that I used to line the inside cover of my notebooks and photo albums. Just use whatever card you have available or take a look at the different patterns available for card making from somewhere like Hobbycraft.
Time required:
One hour, depending on the type of embellishments you decide to add to the cover.

Skill level:
Easy - great for children to try together with you but you may want to look after the cutting and gluing yourself.


1) Lay out your sheet of felt on a flat surface. Place your notebook or photo album in the centre and mark around the edges with a pen. Allow an extra three inches or so around the parameter, as you will use these to fold over into the inside covers.
2) Cut the rectangle of felt out using your scissors.

3) Take your sheet of sticky backed plastic and cover the notebook or photo album. Carefully place the front cover onto the felt, following the template you’ve drawn. Then gently place the spine down onto the felt followed by the back cover. Press the felt against the cover to make sure it has stuck down securely on each side.
4) Next, take the scissors and cut the corners of the felt diagonally. At the crease of the spine, cut at a right angle at the top and the bottom, either side of the spine. Then, cut the felt across so you have enough to cover the top inside of the spine, before meeting the pages inside. In the case of the spiral notebooks I’ve used, I could cut a larger flap to simply fold over and tuck underneath the spiral spine.
5) Squeeze some superglue or glue from your glue gun onto each flap of felt around the edges, then fold over and press down for a few seconds until the glue takes to the inside of the book.
6) When you have stuck down all the felt flaps, close the book and press down on the cover.

7) Now it’s time to decorate the cover. You could cut out shapes from other scraps of felt; draw a template onto some card first then cut around this to get the shape you need from the felt. I’ve made hearts and flowers from felt and have created a layered look using different colours and cutting each shape slightly smaller than the next. If you’re using buttons or have other embellishments, spend some time playing with the layout on the cover. Details in the corners, down the spine or centrepieces work best.
8) When you’re happy with how it looks, use your superglue or glue gun to stick the details to the cover.

9) After 10 minutes or so, everything should be firmly stuck in place. With a ruler, measure the inside covers, around 0.5cm in from the edge. Then mark these measurements onto your chosen decorative card. Put glue on the reverse of the card then stick into place on each inside cover, pressing down to make sure the card sticks to the felt.
10) Voila! You’re homemade decorated notebook or album is ready to fill with your notes, photos and mementoes from a wonderful summer.
Top tips:
  • Hardcovers are best and I found some great spiral notebooks which had covered spines, which work great. 
  • Try peeling off the backing of your sticky backed plastic on one side first, place onto the felt, then peel the remainder off, to avoid getting yourself all sticky or getting lumps in the surface of your felt. 
  • When cutting the corners of the felt to fold over the edge of your notebook or album, do this only at a slight angle, rather than at 45 degrees, as this will guarantee enough felt to cover each corner when you fold over each side. 
  • When gluing the felt flaps, do one at a time so that the glue stays tacky.

Crafting a Daydream
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1 comment:

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