Thursday, January 28, 2016

Recomposition Book #1

Before I get into the details of my first composition book makeover, I should explain the slightly-off weirdness of the pictures I took. On the day I started this project the little video display window on the fancy new Nikon my guy bought me last year stopped working. Basically I had to point the camera and shoot blind, then download the pictures before I knew how they came out. Fortunately Target has a very nice return policy; they took back the camera and gave me a brand-new replacement without a bit of fuss.

Onto the project: for this one I kept it very simple and uber-green by raiding the paper recycling bin for two pieces of the thin cardboard (mine were inserts from two of the wall calendars I bought for this year), a wallpaper border remnant, and a piece of pretty scrapbook paper. I also used a paper trimmer, scissors, a small paintbrush and some washable school glue:

The covers of the composition book are really flimsy card stock, so I needed to reinforce them first. I cut the two cardboard pieces to fit the front and back covers, glued them on, and let the notebook dry overnight (and to keep everything from warping I sandwiched the notebook between two bigger, much heavier books):

I fit the wallpaper border remnant as the outside cover for both the front and back covers, and folded the ends over inside before I glued that on and left it to dry overnight:

I then covered the insides of the front and back covers with pieces of the scrapbooking paper, glued that down, and left that to dry overnight:

Here's the end result:

I liked how elegant the composition book looks now, and it's certainly sturdier. I was especially happy to finally use that wallpaper border remnant, which is one I found when we moved into this house (the previous owner's wife had them decorating the ceilings in practically every room.) I also didn't have to cut the wallpaper to fit; it was the perfect size for the covers.

More recomposition idea linkage:

Dream a Little Bigger has a tutorial here on how to re-cover a composition book.

Ashley Hackshaw has a post here about turning a composition book into an art journal.

Ellison Lane has directions here on how to sew a quilted cover for a composition book.

Momtastic has instructions here on how to give a composition book a chalkboard cover.


  1. Oooh! Pretty! I always have problems with the binding when I recover things. It doesn't want to stay glued down, or I end up not being able to glue it at all because then, I'm cracking the glue to open it. :(

    1. You might try low-temp hot glue, Theo -- it dries quickly, usually bonds well and is more durable than the school-type glue I used for mine.

  2. Do you have any recommendations for brands that don't fall apart, or ways to keep them from it? I have trouble with even the expensive comp books - just picking them up and flipping through them in the store seems to make them loose pages. I'd love to use them, but...

    1. Composition books are pretty flimsy, Shawna, and I think that's because they're designed for single rather than repetitive use. I think Mead brand is the best I've found so far for quality of materials and construction, but the comp books that have held up the best for me overall are ones I've picked up from Office Depot during back-to-school sales. I think their brand is foray.


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