I know I’ve already done a post on customizing sketchbooks (you can find that post here), but I spent a little bit of my creative playtime last week addressing something that bugged me about another style of sketchbook I use. If you don’t have a sketchbook, I bet you keep some kind of book…a fitness journal, a diary, a scrapbook, a recipe book, a photo album. You can definitely take this idea and use it for the kind of book(s) you keep.
I love these sketchbooks by Ranger. They have thick off-white paper, they lay flat, and they come in several great sizes for sketching and designing. Buuuuuuut, they have a bright red spine! I really don’t have anything against red, but it’s not my color and it really jumps out against my cool blues, greens, and whites.
And you can see it through a cutout in the spine, so I can’t just close it to make it go away. Plus, I want all of my sketchbooks to be a reflection of my style, color palette, and to be tools that I love looking at and using. Necessary? Nope. A little gripe? Definitely. A bit over the top? Perhaps.
Worth it to me? Yes.
Since this is the book I use for sketching out fabric designs, I thought it would be fun to cover the spine and front of the book in fabric. So, I went to the sewing room where I store a basket of scraps that are too small for home decor sewing projects. I keep them for little projects just like this. I had a piece of this fabulous embroidered fabric leftover from the slipcover I made for my studio desk chair.
I cut the fabric to a little larger than the book cover and spine…
I applied some YES! paste with a palette knife all over the cover and spine. I love this thick paste for gluing things into my sketchbooks. It’s a little on the thick side and I find that to be an advantage. I can smear it on and it doesn’t drip, pool, or absorb into the paper, causing wrinkles.
I then stuck the fabric onto the glue and trimmed the edges. If the fabric is lightweight, you could fold it over the book cover to make a cleaner edge, but this fabric was pretty thick, so I just left the edges raw.
I even changed out the black cord closure for the envelope with some blue and white twine.
While I had the glue out, I took some time to customize the front cover with my business card and some pretty fabric and ribbon scraps.
I also glued some woven ribbon and antique papers onto another Ranger notebook to cover up the red spine. Now, it’s all ready to go!
It’s a little thing, but one of those things that didn’t take very long, it got me working with my hands in my studio, and it’s a change that makes me love these sketchbooks even more. Wins all around.
I think it’s easy to dismiss little creative projects like this that seem frivolous. They don’t really serve a purpose, they don’t increase the function, they don’t make it more valuable. It’s easy to consider it a waste. But, I think this is a good kind of frivolity. It’s permission to play, to create without an end goal, to do something just for the sake of doing it.
Take the time to do those things, even if it’s just for the purpose of covering up a little bit of red peeking through a tiny cutout in the spine of a sketchbook. You never know where that might lead.
I hope this inspires you to try customizing your own sketchbook or journal or recipe book or photo album. Whatever kinds of books you keep, I hope you take a few minutes to really make it feel like it’s yours. To make it a favorite thing.