I have no idea how many journals I own-maybe 20, or maybe even 30 or 40! Every time I have an idea, I have to buy a whole new journal for it because, well, I really like planning and organizing! I have one notebook for decorating plans, one notebook for restaurants I like, one notebook for items I would like to buy, and so on. The things is, I don’t make enough money on a regular basis to keep buying fancy, $20+ notebooks, so, instead I go to places like Target and Walmart and Dollar Tree. Okay, mostly Dollar Tree.
As you can see from this link, the options aren’t the best (but I guess I can’t complain for the $1 price!). Every now and then I find a cute notebook, but I’ve found that the best thing to do is look for the notebook least likely to fall apart any time soon, even if its ugly. Then, when I get home, I beautify it. My embellishments might not look professional, but they certainly add a personal touch and, dare I say, a certain je ne sais quoi. So, here are my five favorite ways to decorate a notebook cover and yep, I have these ideas written down in another notebook right next to me.
Alright, here’s the most obvious idea! Sometimes the right stickers can really make all the difference, though! Since the notebook is already cheap, I prefer to use fairly nice stickers. Typically, I look for puffy, glittery, 3-Dimensional, or just really, really cute stickers from either the clearance section of Walmart, or the Dollar Tree (yes, I go to this store a lot!). The Dollar Tree gets craft store-quality stickers every now and then, so every time I see some I grab it to use later. You can also find cute stickers for cheap at SHEIN, but I’ve never tried them so I can’t attest that the quality is great. Anyway, here is a notebook I got on clearance for 50 cents at the Dollar Tree-it was originally solid pink, and I decorated it with some cute, puffy lama stickers I had bought a few weeks before. Also, here are some examples of craft store-quality stickers I have found at the Dollar Tree.
This idea is, by far, the messiest. For the notebook shown below, I used liquid glue and loose glitter, but glitter glue would work too, and I would think it would be easier. I like to use this Elmer’s glitter glue; it doesn’t get clogged up as easily as some do, and it looks great!
3: Cardstock/ “Fancy” Paper
By “fancy” paper, I am referring to those single sheets of patterned or textured paper in craft stores that cost around $.60-$1.50 a piece. Every now and then I buy single sheets, but most of the time I purchase an entire pad of 50+ sheets. I’ve been collecting these pads since I was little, so I have hundreds of patterned cardstock and paper sheets! I simply cut shapes out of them (mostly flowers) and then hot glue them onto the journal. Below is an example:
As someone who loves traveling, I also love maps, and I often find myself walking around Google Earth in my spare time. When I go somewhere, I usually pick up multiple pamphlets that include a free map of the city. These maps are perfect for doing crafts with! If you don’t have any of these on hand, you can probably find one at a local touristy-area/visitor’s center. You know that shelf of brochures that’s always in hotels and restaurants and shopping areas? One of them usually has a map in it somewhere. The journal below is actually one I got for free at a college info fair. Later, I hot glued a map from my personal favorite place, Busch Gardens, onto the cover. The only downside to using a map is that it requires a bit of measuring.
I’ve saved the best for last: if you collect pins, this is a great way to put them to use. Whether you buy Hot Topic pins or Disney trading pins or both, I recommend sticking them into a notebook cover (as long as the cover isn’t too flimsy). I mostly collect Busch Gardens pins now, so that’s what I used on the notebook below (I put it on the same notebook with the map), but I have a small collection of pins from all over the place that would also work. I’ve never tried attaching button pins, but I do think the enamel/metal pins with the rubber backs would be easier to attach. If you don’t collect pins, or just would like some more, here are the best places to get them:
- For cheap pins: Shein (scroll down to “customers also viewed”)
- For trendy pins: Hot Topic
- For a large variety of pins: Etsy
Some Other Ideas
If you don’t care for any of the ideas above, or don’t have any of the items on hand, here are two more ideas (these I haven’t tried):
- Duck Tape/ Washi Tape
- Permanent Marker (if the cover is the right surface)
I hope these ideas were helpful? I would love to hear any suggestions!