***Please note that after switching from several different hosts before settling on Blogger, the formatting of my pictures may not be as it was originally intended. I simply don't have the time to go back through years of posts in order to fix the orientation of the pictures. Sometimes a picture just shows a box of text in its place, but clicking on it will allow you to see the picture. Others, there may be no picture at all. I apologize.***

September 11, 2007

My Very First Tutorial - Altered Notebooks

Something special I try to do for friends as they PCS (leave) our base is to make them an address book for us to put our info in so that they can be sure to keep in touch. If you check out my link to 3-D Projects on the right in the sidebar you should be able to see some of them.

Well, after I had already started step one of the project, I thought, "I should do a tutorial on this!" I've been wanting to try my hand at one, so bear with me as I learn to be better descriptive and take better pictures in the process. The picture that should have been first would have been a picture of the address book I was altering, but as I said I had already started the first step so I'll show you the inside and back of the book so you can get an idea of what I look for. Here goes:

To do this project I look for a journal/address book that has square holes for the binding, and has a paper cover that I can sort of easily remove. I have made them before without removing the paper layer on the cover but I think that they're sturdier if I take off the decorative paper on the chipboard cover of the book. So, here is a picture of the book that I started with - the inside and back (since I'd already removed and started working on the cover):

Step 1:
Remove the cover by bending and opening the coils and flipping the cover to the back of the book and pulling it out of the coils. Remove the paper layer that covers the chipboard that makes your cover. You want to get as much of the cover off as possible so that it is as smooth of a surface as possible. See picture:

Step 2: If desired, cover the edges of the chipboard with Craft Ink or Classic Ink with a direct-to-pad method. If using Craft Ink you will need to allow a significant amount of time for the ink to dry so that you don't accidentally get smudges on your project. **You could also use acrylic paint to cover the edges (use a paint brush to apply) and would have to again allow time for it to dry. See picture:

Step 3: This is kind of a combining of what could be 2 steps. Cut your inside sheet of patterned paper and cover piece of card stock/patterned paper to the correct size of your chipboard cover - I usually trace the cover onto the backs of my paper to ensure they're as close as possible, or I wait to trim until later in the case of the inside piece (see step 7). Using the SU! spiral punch, punch holes along the edge where they will be needed. The spiral punch has aligned PERFECTLY for me every time so far, as long as I've chosen a journal/address book with square holes in its binding. Make sure to remember which side will be the bound side (I've messed a couple up before by putting the holes in what would have been the wrong side of the book! LOL). See picture:

Steps 4, 5, 6: Using Mod Podge (the finish doesn't matter since it won't show - here I used Matte) you will now cover the inside of your cover and place your piece of card stock or patterned paper on top of the Mod Podge, lining up the holes for your coil binding. You have to be careful not to apply too much because it will cause bubbling, and too little will dry before you can apply the paper. It's a little bit tricky, but easily figured out. I always start with the inside because it doesn't matter if it gets squashed when I'm pressing the cover flat. Sometimes your cover will have dimension to it that would get ruined by pressing the inside flat if you did it in the reverse order. I run a bone folder over the paper after I have placed it, and then flip it over and press it down to ensure that the edges are good and "stuck." Follow this with placing your completed cover on with Mod Podge. It needs to be completed so that eyelets and wrapped ribbon, etc. are hidden between the layers. The pictures I took show adhering the inside but would be the same for adhering the cover except for flipping it over and pressing it. Here you have to be more gentle and use your finger and bone folder to ensure that it is good and flat. See pictures:

Step 7: (Optional) Sometimes I like to cut my patterned paper that I use on the INSIDE after I Mod Podge (turning that into a verb! LOL) it down. I do this to ensure it fits exactly. So in this step you will see that I trim it after the Mod Podge has dried. Note that you can't do this with your cover since it will have elements that perhaps wrap around or are 3-D and don't fit well into a trimmer. Your base layer of your cover has to be cut prior to Mod Podging it down. Hopefully that makes sense! Here is how I trim my paper with my hobby blade and cutting mat. See picture:

Step 8: After putting the cover back on, tie ribbon along the coils if desired to add some more glam to your project. See picture:

you are finished. I always like to make a pen to go with the book. I will either put a piece of rolled up patterned paper inside of a RSVP ball-point pen, or cover the same pen with patterned paper and roll it in some micro beads. I like to also tie some ribbon that matches on the pen's top. In the case of this book, I didn't have any patterned paper that I thought coordinated with my book so I put some red micro beads INSIDE of the pen (being careful not to get them in the ink tube) and I think it turned out neat. I only use patterned paper to cover my pens, or to roll for inside the pen, because it's thinner and works more nicely than card stock does. Here is a close-up of the beads in the pen and the finished project:

I would love to know what you think of my tutorial and where I can perhaps improve. I didn't want to have an overwhelming amount of photos so I sort of combined what perhaps could have been separate steps, but hopefully it still illustrates my process well. As for the book, I had originally envisioned it having the embossed flowers colored in with my red marker, but I decided to leave it more simple in presentation. This book was made for a friend to give to a mutual friend of ours who is leaving. I hope she likes it!

Here's the recipe for the cover I created:
Stamps: Dots and Daisies BG, Chinese "friend" stamp from Pier1 Imports, Label stamp from the Designer Label punch box
Ink: Black StazOn, VersaMark
Paper: Certainly Celery, Basic Black and Whisper White CS, Red patterned paper from My Mind's Eye
Accessories: Gold brads, Gold cord, Gold detail embossing powder, crimper, assorted ribbon, Label punch and Spiral punch


  1. This is a great project. I think the tutorial is great.Tina

  2. What a neato project. The tutorial is very helpful!

  3. Marie, thanks for sharing - very nice work! Bless~

  4. Great tutorial! I'm lazy and leave the cover on and adhere paper to the cover without taking it off. Unfortunately it doesn't go all the way to the edge that way. Your way looks better.Jane


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Marie :)