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In this post, I want to talk about making notebook covers out of upcycled paper or material, including the internal pages of notebooks. When creating notebooks a few years ago, I used paper bags or pages from old tatty books, or old material.

What can I use?

You can use anything pretty much anything as a book cover as long as it can be glued and/or folded.

  • Paper Bags: A paper bag could be used, from Starbucks for example, or from a favourite shop.
  • Material: Like an old pair of curtains or clothing.  What about an old pair of jeans and having the back pockets on the front or back…or even both on the cover?  In a previous post called Making a Scrapbook, I used Sanderson material my wife had spare to use as a cover.
  • Old Leather Bags: An old leather handbag that’s going to be thrown away can make a great cover.  It’s going to be cheaper than buying a piece of leather which can be expensive!  My wife had an old leather bag that was broken and couldn’t be used anymore, so I made a cover using this.  With the stitching and details on the bag, it can make for an interesting cover.  Again, you could use any external pockets for the cover.
  • Wrapping Paper: I’ve used wrapping paper in the past, and we’ve had some funky stuff before!  But there is always that last bit on the roll that isn’t enough to wrap anything else but might be enough to make a cover.  With wrapping paper it can be thin and easy to tear, so care would need to be taken when covering or perhaps thickening it with another layer of thin paper.
  • Old Books: Have you got any old books that you have with interesting images in them that would make a great cover?  For example, what about an old atlas?
  • Comics: You could perhaps put this and old books together as one, but what about an old comic book?  You can use the cover of a comic book or even the comic strip pages inside.  I’ve used these on hardback and softback notebooks before – like wrapping paper the comic book paper can be thin, so you may need to thicken it to give the strength.
  • DVD/Blu-ray sleeves: I’ve used DVD and Blu-ray covers that slide over the plastic case as covers before.  This card is nice and thick and will do as the cover itself, and I’ve made lots of softback notebooks with these before using the perfect binding technique.

As you can see there is an extensive list of materials you can use, and perhaps more I haven’t even thought about.  Let me know if you have used anything else before to make the covers, I’d be interested to hear from you and I’m always up for a challenge to give something new a go!

Don’t forget about your pages!

Don’t forget to use any paper for internal pages as well!  If you have pads of old paper that are lying around and not being used why not make them into a customised notebook?

I’ve used an old watercolour pad of A4 paper before and made it into a notebook and used one of the sheets as the cover by painting a watercolour pattern.

Thanks for reading, and hope to see you back again!

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