Handmade Christmas: Fabric Covered Notebooks

I just finished a pretty pile of fabric covered composition notebooks for Christmas. These are easy and relatively quick, not too expensive and simple to customize.

Supplies Needed:

- Cottons or other lightweight fabrics that can be ironed... preferably dark since the pattern on the notebook tends to show through lighter fabrics
- Main fabric will be approximately 12" x 18"
- Scraps for optional appliques

*Heat 'n' Bond Ultrahold
- Fabric stores carry this and it can be found online but I've found that Walmart has the best price per yard.
- I have seen people use spray adhesive instead but that just seems too messy for my tastes.

*Composition Notebooks
- You can really use any notebook but for bulk projects, these are nice; inexpensive, smooth binding, stiff covers

*Ribbon for bookmarks (optional)


*Rotary cutting tool 
- If you don't have one of these and you craft with some frequency, you will not regret the purchase. I don't think I would make these if I didn't have this tool!


There are two ways to do this: You can make wrapped corners which are durable and lovely or just cut along the edge which is still nice but a whole lot faster. The instructions that I am posting are for the second option.

1. Measure main fabric for your cover. This only needs to be a little bigger than your notebook.

2. If you are going to use an applique: design, cut out and iron these onto the right side of your main fabric using Heat 'n' Bond or some other kind of fusible web. *note* if you want to add stitching to these pieces, you'd better use something other than Heat 'n' Bond since it is not intended to be sewn through. Bloody, aching fingers... trust me.

3. Attach optional ribbon to the outside of the book spine (about 1 - 2" from the top). You will be applying the main fabric over this and it will stay just fine. The ribbons will act as bookmarks once the project is complete. I did not do this because... well... I just totally forgot... but you can find a nice pic in this tutorial.

4. Follow the directions on the Heat 'n' Bond and apply it to the wrong side of your main fabric piece.

5. Remove the paper and line up the outside of the composition book with the wrong side of the fabric. Straighten, smooth, tuck and then iron the top side first. Make sure you get the edges. Flip the book and iron the back and spine. After a couple of books, you'll be a wiz.

Lining the book up to before ironing.
Fabric is completely affixed to the book.
You can see here what happens when you use a lighter colored fabric. It's still cute but the book does show through.
This photo shows a completed book that is just waiting to be trimmed.
6. Trim the edges with the rotary cutter (on a self-healing mat, of course). I take little sharp scissors to the top and bottom edge of the spine to get it clean and pretty.

That's it... Finished! 
I do like to use a warm iron and check the edges just to make sure everything is sealed tight but it's not strictly necessary.

There's really a lot of fun that could be had with these. I love the idea of adding an applique initial and ribbon book marks. But the simplified version is definitely faster and still a thoughtful gift for anyone who uses notebooks. Lovely teacher gift. Even if you don't add any embellishments, a bit of pretty packaging can go a long way...

If you have time and want to make a thoughtful gift of a covered notebook or binder, I've collected a few nice links. Spend a bit more time with Google and you'll find about a hundred more...

Fabric binder cover
No-Sew version
With pockets  
Reusable fabric notebook cover
With closure and pen holder

Posted on November 22, 2011 and filed under "Christmas DIY", "christmas gifts", "handmade Christmas".