Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Craft: Fabric-Covered Composition Books (Tutorial)

I had so much fun with the paper-covered composition books that I went back for more. In a variety of sizes. I got the standard (such a deal these days for back-to-school) at the grocery store, and this cute mid-sized (which I also used for Tess's party) at Target, and the mini at Office Depot. And, this time I covered them in fabric! It works! Beautifully. With adhesive spray. Seriously, it's so easy!

I lined the inside cover with paper (leftover from these) so there are no raw edges showing. I used some plain paper too, which I also like, but it's fun to mix patterns.

How can you not help smiling when you look at these? This blue fabric is "Toy Box II" by Sara Morgan for Bluehill and the pink is from Windham, and that's all the info I have on it!

I think I'll use the pink mini for shopping lists instead of scribbling on the back of random junk mail, and perhaps a mid-sized blue for a "blog-to-do" list (which goes on and on and on, by the way!). I'll cover some other mini-sized to make books for Audrey and Scarlett to doodle in when they need to be occupied. Different fabrics will make it much easier to keep track of which comp book is for which purpose. I used to shuffle the plain black ones a bit in my work life--if only I'd come up with this then! Perhaps in a more "serious" print!

Click for a brief tutorial (building on this one).


  • Composition book (any size will work)
  • Enough fabric to cover both sides plus about .5" margin all the way around. A fat quarter (1/3 yard) is plenty to cover a standard comp book and I was able to cover two mid-sized with it. You would be able to cover a whole bunch of mini comp books with this amount!
  • **Please note that this works best with darker, less transparent fabric, especially if you are using a black comp book. Lighter fabrics are a bit too transparent. However, you can "line" the fabric by using spray adhesive to affix plain white paper to both covers before adding your fabric.**
  • Spray adhesive (Krylon)
Please also refer to this tutorial for covering with paper, for additional images walking you through these first 4 steps:

Step 1: Cut your fabric to fit, with a .5" margin around all sides of your book when it is opened flat. Iron your fabric if there are any noticeable wrinkles (but, obviously no need to prewash!).
Step 2: Coat the wrong side of the fabric with spray adhesive.
Step 3: Center the spine of your book on the fabric and lay down one cover.
Step 4: Close the book and bring the fabric over the cover facing you. Smooth the fabric flat. The spray adhesive has a period of "adjustability" so you can peel back the fabric and adjust if necessary.

 Cut a notch in the fabric at the spine. This will enable you to fold the fabric to the inside cover.

Fold in one of the fabric corners centered over the corner of the comp book cover.

Fold in the margin of fabric at the top, overlapping this corner fold.

Fold in the fabric at the side, overlapping the corner, and potentially the top. These margins of extra fabric don't need to be equal since you'll be affixing paper to the inside cover, which will mask all the raw edges and give it a symmetrical appearance.

Repeat for the other corners so the book is neatly wrapped.

See the paper-covered composition book tutorial for how to add paper to the inside cover--just measure, cut, spray adhesive, and smooth over the inside cover.

Trim any extra fabric left at the spine from the notch and you should have a neat finish. You could add some no-fray spray or even clear nail polish at the spine to prevent fraying. I haven't road-tested these too much so I'm not sure how well it will wear without any preventative measures but I'm going to risk it! The adhesive on the wrong side of the fabric will certainly help.

Make some more! Give as gifts!


CrochetBlogger said...

Great tutorial. I love using composition notebooks for all types of different lists and writing so this is cool way to make them more personal.

Teresa Sumler said...

Just wanted to let you know that I pinned this with Pinterest! I can't wait to try this project :)

RitaJC said...

Great idea!
Thanx for sharing!

Anita from St. Louis said...

LOVE the shirts, too. Did you make that pattern as well? You're so creative...

Kristyn said...

I am getting ready for my daughter's 1st birthday party (I am using your Vintage Little Golden Book Theme) and this is perfect for party favors!!

ash said...

Thank you for posting! I am trying to make these, but I am finding it very difficult. I am not using the exact glue you recommended I couldn't find any, and maybe that is why I am having so much problems. I am using a spray adhesive, but it is very smelly! Is the glue you recommended smelly and do you have to wait a little bit until it sticks?

Anneliese said...

@ash: Yes, adhesive is often smelly. With rubber cement I apply glue to both surfaces and then wait a minute before adhering. With spray fix I spray on one surface and then apply right away. With both, doing it outside is the best so there is plenty of ventilation. I hope that helps!

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