How to make a fabric-covered note book or diary

Here is a quick and inexpensive way to make a highly personalised present for friends and family.

diaires covered in hand printed fabric
Finished books
  1. Buy suitable note books or diaries at the Pound Shop
    pound shop diary
    One pound diary
  2. Using a craft knife or the side of a pair of scissors score along the sides of the spine to detach the cover from the pages.
    diary with pages detatched
    Remove the cover
  3. Cut a piece of suitable fabric (eg home printed samples, leftover fabric from dressmaking projects, vintage table napkins, sentimental items egGrandad’s tie, embroidered item) that is slightly larger than the cover (say1-2cms on each edge). Press it nice and flat before you start. Trim a little fabric away from the four corners.
    Cut fabric for covered book
    Cut a piece of fabric just larger, and trim corners
  4. Cover the outside of the book with a strong high tack, all-purpose glue, paying especial attention to the spine, and the two channels each side of the spine.
    diary with glue applied
    apply glue to the surface of the book
  5. Press the fabric to the book, wrong side down, keeping it taut and allow to dry under a heavy book or similar
  6. Turn the cover over and apply glue to the edges of the inside cover of the book, in order to stick the fabric to the inside
  7. Pull up the bottom and top layers and stick them down
  8. When they are dry work the left and right sides, tidying up the corners and using a bit of glue to make sure they are secure
  9. Leave to dry
  10. Now apply glue to the inside of the spine, the inner surfaces and the folded in fabric. little dots all over are better than huge blobs
  11. Line up the pages that you separated originally, then stick the first and last pages of your book to the sticky cover
  12. Put the book under the heavy weight again until completely dry.

Sorry, I should have given you this information before Christmas. It is a really good way to use up luxurious scraps – you can stitch them together to make a large enough piece and include a number of matching fabrics. This technique also works well with African fabrics, Liberty prints and anything with a strong pattern or colour.

Here are a couple I made with Linton tweed samples for dear Daughter in Law Bianca – “Chanel” notebooks for a girl who appreciates quality.

If you use a fabric with a white background the original printing or colour will show through so you will need to cover first in paper or card.

fabric covered books
Hand printed, African and Liberty print

And you can also cover Pringles boxes, which might be good for storing knitting needles.

2014-12-22 16.52.04

5 Responses

  1. Simple and great idea! It would for sure bring more variations in my sewing room.

  2. What great ideas! I love this. Seems like there are endless blank items needing serious embellishment! Christmas is always coming as are birthdays, great to have a plan! Thank you for sharing!

  3. A girl after my own heart.

  4. They look great…and perfect for the new year calendar books!!

  5. Fun idea, Kate. I love journaling so I think I will make some for myself!

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