This tutorial was originally published on Crafting a Green World in 2016.
Are you into coloring books? My kids and I are! We listen to a lot of audiobooks, podcasts, and read-alouds, and coloring is a great way to pass the time.
This means, however, that we have LOTS of lovely completed coloring book pages. I don't really have a problem with re-using and recycling paper, but often the pages are so thoughtfully and lovingly filled in that they just seem too pretty to toss.
At the same, the kids also have LOTS of composition books that they use for lots of different subjects. Composition books all tend to look mostly the same, mostly so that kids can mix them up and fight over them, I think.
Why not solve both problems at once, then?
Here's how to embellish a composition book with a coloring book page, giving that pretty work of art a place to be shown off, and personalizing that composition book so that everyone knows who it belongs to and what it's for. It's a little time-consuming, but it's not hard, and it's going to look really awesome when you're done.
1. Do you need to prime your composition book? Even though composition book covers are glossy, they do pretty well with paint. Nevertheless, I usually cover everything that I paint with a no-sand primer. I lay my composition books open flat on my work surface, with the covers both facing up, when I paint them; I don't mind a little if a little bit of paint gets onto the edges of the top couple of notebook pages below, but if you do, spread out newspaper between the composition book covers and the notebook pages.
2. Paint the composition book covers. I've used both interior/exterior house paint and water-based spray paint for these book covers. I usually save our craft acrylics for smaller projects, although you can certainly use them here.
Even though the coloring book pages will be covering the center front cover of each composition book, I generally paint the entire cover, just so I don't have to worry about my placement later. Do whatever feels right to you.
Let all the paint dry well before you start the next step.
3. Trim and prepare your coloring book page. We have a family policy that we photocopy coloring book pages and color the copy, and we usually do this on cardstock, because everyone likes the color saturation of Prismacolor or Sharpie markers the best. This means that I don't have to worry about the translucency of a coloring book page, or the possibility of it being printed on cheap paper that won't take glue well.
If you're worried about the quality of your own paper, feel free to back it with a nice cardstock or high-quality typing paper. You could even use scrapbook paper and make a nice border around the page for some extra embellishment.
Don't forget, of course, that you don't HAVE to use a coloring book page to embellish a composition book. If you want to embellish a composition book with wrapping paper, cut-outs from a magazine, comic book or dictionary pages, or anything else that you're dreaming of, that will work, too!
4. Adhere the coloring page to the composition book cover. I like to center mine, and I'm happy with my results using either spray adhesive (not eco-friendly) or Mod Podge (eco-friendly!).
5. Seal the composition book cover. Several more coats of Mod Podge, or a couple of coats of a spray sealant (not eco-friendly) or one coat of polyurethane (not great, but better than spray sealant) will seal and protect the cover of your lovely embellished composition book.
In my opinion, you don't need a reason to embellish a composition book, because the result is super cute, but here's one: these embellished composition books make great journals and sketchbooks, especially if you've colored the coloring page yourself. They also make cute presents, either for a parent using their kid's art, or for a loved one using something that you know they'll like.
I mean, doesn't everyone need another notebook with a hand-colored dragon on the front?