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Ideas to Decorate a Composition Book or Notebook Cover

Updated on February 3, 2015
Cover of my junk journal notebook
Cover of my junk journal notebook | Source

Personalize Your Books

When I was in school one of the first tasks of the new school year was to cover our composition books and our text books. We used dull old 1970s wallpaper samples and, because we weren't allowed to jazz them up in any way, the job of covering a dozen books or more was boring and monotonous.

These days composition book covers are becoming more exciting and interesting, however, designing your own book cover is a lot of fun and, of course, it will be uniquely yours. Your cover can be minimalistic or heavily embellished; it can be chic and cool or flowery and hippy. Let your composition book covers express your personality and get customizing.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

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There are so many varieties of tape available now, from shiny and hard-wearing, decorative duck tape to delicately patterned washi tape. You can even use plain old masking tape and stamp, draw or paint your own design on to it. Watch the first three minutes of this video to learn how to create your own decorative masking tape.


Beautiful or funky scrapbook papers are perfect for altering the cover of a notebook. They can be cute, sophisticated, stunning or very understated and simple. Or how about going completely low-tech and using a brown paper bag?

There are two ways to cover a book with paper – either glue it on, pressing air bubbles out from the center and trimming off the excess once dry. Or you can cut the paper two-inches wider than the whole book (have the book wide open), and fold the edges over the covers neatly, as if wrapping a gift. Tape or use a dab of gluestick to keep them place. The video shows a neat way of getting a perfect fit and I wished I had known about it when covering my books with that dreadful wallpaper!

Customized Book Cover Paint, Collage & Buttons
Customized Book Cover Paint, Collage & Buttons | Source


Grab a magazine and cut out lots of interesting photos and text. Glue artfully to your cover. Alternatives to think about are ticket stubs, handwriting samples, scanned copies of family photos or anything printed off the internet. Customize the collage by adding details with markers, draw on silly mustaches, hats and stripey stockings. Give people wings and antennae to turn them into fairies or butterflies.Mod Podge is great for gluing collage – once it's done you can apply a single coat to seal and protect it.


Acrylic paint is good for protecting covers. Use an old credit card to scrape thick paint on. Or how about adding some sand to paint for a textured finish? You might swirl on two or more colors with your fingers. Maybe paint the cover in a single color, say pillar-box red, let it dry and then paint one of your hands black and press it on to the cover.

Tissue Paper

Use crafting tissue paper. Lay your book out flat, covers facing up. Glue on a layer of tissue paper, making sure the tissue is larger than the book. Smoosh it a little to get some interesting textured wrinkles. Let it dry then tear off the excess Now you can paint it or leave it as it is.


Stickers are a really simple way to decorate a composition book, though they can become tatty over time unless sealed with Mod Podge or a similar sealer. There are so many wonderful stickers that you will have trouble choosing. Keep to a theme for a coherent look.

Altered Composition Book used with thanks under a Creative Commons license.
Altered Composition Book used with thanks under a Creative Commons license. | Source

Rubber Stamps

Combine rubber stamping with any of the above ideas. You'll need a stamp and an ink pad. A nice look is to paint the cover with a single color, then stamp butterflies or seahorses or anything else you like, then color the stamp in with markers or more paint. You could even add little sparkly stick-on gemstones for a whimsical effect.

Embellish Your Book

Glue on embellishments such as small keys, beads, buttons, ribbon, fibers, sequins, brass cogs or anything else you can find to personalize your book and add the final touches. Now... why not make a bookmark to match?

Are You the Crafty Type?

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    • profile image

      murtaza 2 years ago

      Nice site.... I am impressed and it helps Mr alot in my projects

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev 4 years ago from Wales

      Thanks so much, Sharye11 & amberlybites. I agree, covers are inspiring as well as personal. x

    • amberlybites profile image

      amberlybites 4 years ago from Texas

      I have been a big collage fan since I was a little kid. I love your creations! Journals are best when the covers represent the owner & inspire their creativity.

    • Sharkye11 profile image

      Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      Great ideas! A pretty notebook can be very inspirational for the student or writer. These would be much nicer as journals, the covers could be thematic or personalized. Voting up!

    • profile image

      why u need to know ---.-- 4 years ago

      awshome :3

    • LookNoHands profile image

      Erica Gourley 5 years ago from USA

      This is just what I was looking for, thanks!

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev 5 years ago from Wales

      Glad to help, wiccanfemme. Welcome to Hubpages - hope you will make some hubs of your own... it's lots of fun!

    • profile image

      wiccanfemme463 5 years ago

      just as i was thinking about buying some books i ran into your section in the HubPages and realized tht i could learn from you for FREE!!!thanks for opening my eyes!!

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev 5 years ago from Wales

      Thank you, Angela_Michelle :-)

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle Schultz 5 years ago from United States

      Very creative. I really like the pictures of books you completed. :) They are really awesome!