DIY Cover Ideas for your Journals, Notebooks or Binders

A lot of good-quality journals and notebooks tend to have plain black or solid colour covers. The good thing about this is that it gives you a chance to personalise it in any way you want.

If you have the time and patience, decorating your BuJo, notebook or binder cover can be so much fun! We’ve compiled a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing.


Retro notebook by Velvet Brainwaves

While not a particularly original route to take, you can make a collage cover stand out by picking a particular theme and style of image that you want. Give it a retro feel, like in the image above, or give it a theme, like the history notebook below.

Image Source

Why just stick to images though? You can print out lyrics or quotes or even excerpts from your favourite books and paste them on your cover.

This cover uses country music lyrics (Image Source)

In a similar vein, you can cut images or patterns to fit into a particular shape or design, rather than pasting them across your entire cover. For example, in the below image, pictures from fashion magazines have been carefully cut out into different pieces and assembled together to form geometric hearts.

Learn how to make these at Mottes Blog

2. Hand-drawn patterns

Covers by Craft Gawker

Depending on the material of your cover, you can resort to drawing a design or illustration. Black and white pens work beautifully on brown covers. White pens work well on black covers.

Mandala book covers by Anneliese Delaunay

If you have a light coloured cover you can, of course, experiment with way more hues. However, make sure that you know what materials you are working with. Pens might not work on all surfaces or might smudge easily, in which case you will have to resort to another material such as paint.

3. Geometric patterns

Sketchbook cover by Wit and Whistle

Similar to the geometric hearts mentioned previously, you can make your job much easier by cutting different papers into a single shape and pasting them in whatever pattern you’d like. If you want to avoid the tedious process of pasting you can use washi tape like in the image above.

Don’t know what to do with your washi tape? Check out some inspirational ideas here: Creative Uses for Washi Tape

Image Source

Alternatively, you can use coloured and patterned paper. Remember to use strong glue though, as you don’t want bits of paper to keep falling off.

If you want to go in a really interesting direction, how about trying something like in the image below?

Design by Craft Gawker

The vibrant honeycomb pattern looks beautiful against the dull brown background. Making this will definitely take time, but the eye-catching results would be worth it.

4. Embroidery, Fabrics and Buttons

Embroidered cover by Appelzee

When it comes to a needle and thread I’m pretty terrible, which makes this idea unsuitable for me. But if you’ve had some experience with basic embroidery and stitching, you should attempt this. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: make sure the cover you’re working with isn’t too thick. And we’d appreciate it if you could avoid stabbing yourself.

Covers by The Forge Style

Lace of different patterns can also be used to class up an ordinary book. Something as simple as strips of fabric makes for an unusual cover as well. You can throw in other elements like sequins or buttons.

If you’re rather avoid wrapping fabric or lace around your book, you can also use lace as a stencil for recreating it’s pattern on your book cover.

You can play around with colour combinations and shades. For example, this lace pattern in a vibrant yellow or a metallic colour would look amazing against a black cover.

5. Paper

Notebook covers by Ruby Murray’s Musings

If you have neither the time nor the patience to try any of the previous ideas, you can always go old school by simply wrapping your notebook, journal or binder in paper.

Music notebooks by Say It

Why stick to just any old paper though? Try something unique like a map torn out from an old atlas, or sheet music.

Have you tried personalising your covers before? Share them with us in the comments below!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s