Altered Composition Book

working (1 of 1)

q8~We LOVE journals. I have altered the covers to sketchbooks, but I have been wanting to cover a graph-grid composition book. Now is the time to purchase them, the regular composition books are about 25 cents at discount stores and the graph-grid books are $1 at Staples. I really have to cover it!

I love lists and how perfect to have a covered composition book for each hobby. ๐Ÿ˜Ž This one will be for my knitting notes. I purchased the paper supplies at Michael’s. Each book will be about $5. A great gift idea. This is the project I brought to Curl’s for the Chick’s Only days. Totally surprised her. Look how much fun she’s having.


  • Composition Notebook
  • Scrapbook paper – I used the heavier paper
  • Mod Podge – or any glue
  • Paper Trimmer
  • X-Acto knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Ribbon
  • Decorative elements
  • Ephemera

Here are the composition books and materials.

These are the incredibly wonderful altered composition books. Instructions follow the examples.

This is Curl’s:

This is Q’s. I actually knit the sample on the toothpicks it’s glued to. ๐Ÿ˜Ž Also, the letters were cut from letter paper and glued to chip board to give a 3-D effect. That’s a list of objects I want “To Knit” on the left rectangle and “Terms” for knitting on the right rectangle. There are a few stitches I use so infrequently that I always have to look them up. Now I don’t. ๐Ÿ˜Ž


Step 1: First decide whether or not you want to wrap the paper around the edges or not. If you don’t want to wrap the edges, glue the paper to the top and use an X-acto to trim close to the book. I want a more finished look so Iย  measured the size of the book added a 1/2 ย inch to top, bottom and edge so I could wrap. Next time, I think I’ll use 1″ – I think 1/2″ was too skimpy.

Step 2: Glue the paper to the top of the book. We used Mod Podge on the book and the paper.

Use a folding bone to make sure paper is flat and “squeeze” out all of the air.

Step 3: Trim the curved edges of the book. (NOTE: Curls wanted squared corners so she skipped this step. See her corners in her example above.)

Step 4: Fold the paper to the inside of the book using the bone tool to get a crisp fold. This is what the inside looks like.

Step 5: Place waxed paper or aluminum paper between inside cover and 1st page. Then place “weights” on the book until the glue dries. Our composition book has a slick inside cover, we did this to make sure the glue stuck.

Step 6: Cut paper for the inside cover, the front endpaper, make sure it is large enough to cover the decorative cover paper. I used a light-colored paper so I could add a bookplate. Again, place under “weights” until endpaper is dry.ย After the glue has dried, repeat Steps 1 – 6 with the back cover.

Step 7: Measure out a 2.5 inch x book length” strip in an accent paper to cover your book’s binding. In order to help with the folding, place the paper along the binding and pre-fold. Make sure the binding slightly overlaps the decorative papers on both covers, close the book, and then glue binding. Put waxed paper or aluminum foil around the binding and place under “weights” until dry.

Step 8: To hide the seam between the binding and top paper use some coordinating ribbon. Measure the distance from inside the cover, around the book, and back to the starting point. Using glue tape, attach the ribbon.

Step 9: After all of the glue is dry embellish it with ephemera, stamps, etc. See our finished examples above.

Isn’t it amazing, we started with the same material, but our books look so different! Both are wonderful! Q wants hers for knitting and Curls want hers for general purpose. Make one, it’s fun and easy! Please share!

6 thoughts on “Altered Composition Book

  1. They both look lovely…
    I had to chuckle when I saw the toothpicks/knitting. Last week, I actually knitted on toothpicks… my daughter wanted to know if that was possible, I knit a few rows to show her it was.

    My daughter loves journals, and so we’ll have to make some of those. I’m currently trying to finish up the two dolls I’m making. One is crocheted and the other is knitted.

    I’ll have to check out staples for the graph paper. When I’m away from my computer, I use graph paper to sketch out my Fair Isle designs.


    • I still have a doll sweater my mom made for my Ginny doll. She knit it on toothpicks!

      As a science major, we always used graph paper composition books for lab work, it stuck! ๐Ÿ˜Ž

      Can’t wait to see the finished dolls!


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