An Easy and Creative Way to Customize Your School Notebooks

By Jeran McConnel ; Updated August 31, 2017

To help plan for a successful school year, you gotta stock up on all those fun school supplies for your kids. I'm a mom of three kids, so I know that this can get pricey. So, this year we decided to customize notebooks for every class period with fun contact paper and colorful duct tape. This super easy DIY left us with some very stylish notebooks. My oldest is starting 10th grade, and she's really excited to show these off to her friends.

Cut the Contact Paper to the Width of the Notebook

Lay the notebook on the contact paper and cut the paper just slightly bigger than the notebook.

Peal the Contact Paper Back Just Halfway

Working on a flat surface, peal the backing of the contact paper back just halfway or enough to cover the back cover of the notebook (sticky side up of course).

Place One Side of the Notebook Onto the Contact Paper

Place the notebook, centered, on the sticky side of the contact paper. If your surface is flat, you shouldn't have too many bubbles to smooth out.

Adhere the Contact Paper to the Front of the Book

Now you can peel away the rest of the contact paper backing and adhere the contact paper to the other side of the notebook. Start by pulling the contact paper straight up from the table and stick it to the binding of the notebook first. Then lay the contact paper down from the binding to the edge of the notebook. Smooth out the contact paper as you go to prevent wrinkles and bubbles.


Bubbles in your contact paper? No problem. Often bubbles can be smoothed out by applying pressure and moving the bubble towards the edge of the notebook. But, if that doesn't work, take your X-acto knife and prick a very small hole in the bubble and it will flatten out nicely. And the tiny hole will never be seen.

Trim the Edges

Using an X-acto knife on a cutting board, trim off the extra contact paper from the edges of the notebook to create a clean, finished look.

Create a Binding for the Notebook with Duct Tape

To reinforce the binding and add a little color, I placed fun metallic gold and mint green duct tape to the edges of the notebooks. The easiest way to add this contrasting accent is to cut a piece of duct tape a little longer then the spine of the book and lay it sticky side up on a flat surface. Then place the spine of the book center on the tape. Don't worry if you don't get it perfectly centered the first time -- you can always reposition the book.

Adhere to Duct Tape to Both the Front and Back of the Notebook

Lay the book down on one side and then stretch the duct tape over the spine and smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles.

Trim the Duct Tape

Using the X-acto knife, trim the duct tape ends flush with the ends of the notebook.

Label the Notebooks

And finally, label those bad boys! I chose to adhere the label to the bottom of the binding. And if you've never used a old school label maker, then you are missing out! They really are fun to use and super inexpensive to buy.

I still need to make a set for my son. I probably won't use the floral for his, but the granite and marble patterns will look great with neon yellow and navy blue.

About the Author

Jeran has added her unique voice to the modern maker culture through her blog Oleander and Palm. She loves helping people find attainable beauty in the lives they live. Her creativity and industriousness were honed through years of living in third world countries, that challenged her to find novel solutions for creating livable spaces. Now, her focus is designing and making livable spaces that incorporate vintage finds, handmade pieces and global inspiration.