If you have a notebook, planner, or date book that's destined for the dumpster, you might want to grab your tot and give it a face-lift together instead. Revamping an old journal with a new cover can inspire creativity -- and inside, on its pages, you can record daily thoughts of gratitude, favorite recipes, first moments or your children's nuances that might not make it into the formal scrapbook. Luckily, most of us have an old journal lying around, so follow these easy instructions to spruce one up by making a special new cover.
1. Start by picking out a favorite patterned gift wrapping paper. I chose a paper from the Paperchase collection at Borders, but you can find many recycled decorative papers, too. Or, you may have wrapping paper or craft paper scraps at home that you can repurpose.
2. Using a pencil, trace the covers of your notebook on your paper and cut out. Then glue the pieces onto the front and back of your notebook. PVA glue is acid-free and excellent for books and journals. If you have a rolling burnisher, it will work great for removing any wrinkles, but you may wish to leave the wrinkles for texture and effect.
3. Next, cut out squares of text from an old newspaper, magazine or brochure. I used an old museum brochure. Layer your text paper over the patterns of your wrapping paper until you find a suitable design for your book.
4. If you wish, add thin fabric like tulle netting to your layers for added dimension. Then, use a marker or colored pencil in the color of your choice to color in the cover still showing under the spiral spine.
5. Put your child in charge of designing the inside covers of the journal. Have her cut out shapes from the patterned paper or other scrap paper. Then ask her to glue in her cutouts. You can go back later to clean up excess glue or add extra. Remember to allow each side to dry before moving to the next or you may find your journal is stuck shut!
6. If your journal has written-on pages, tear them out or consider using them as a background for your memories.
7. Use your new cover to inspire a journal full of new beginnings, creating a new life within its pages. Don’t be afraid to tape in, color in or glue in mementos like strands from the first hair cut or maybe sweet little gifts children find to give to you like a wildflower or sticker. Also think of recording favorite colors or funny phrases. You can even circulate your journal during the carpool. To keep a certain person occupied, hand over the journal with instructions on how many pages he can use. You can even make a game out of it, saying something like, “Draw me a page only in blue and blindfolded.” Ultimately, you’ll be the judge of what goes inside your beautiful new repurposed journal.