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You may remember my post from a few months ago, where I showed different ways to jazz up journals. This time, I’m showing my favorite way to glamourize my notebooks for school.

I meant to post this back in August/September when school was just starting, but I suppose now will have to do. If you live in Northeastern U.S., you’re probably just starting your second marking period!

Cardstock and Specialty Paper Are Your Best Friends

For all of these notebooks, I used cardstock and/or specialty paper to decorate the covers. It doesn’t matter what brand, but it’s important that the paper has a decent density. The goal is for the paper you use to always be thicker than a regular lined sheet. You can usually find these in the scrapbooking isle, in single sheets or in pads. Below are my favorite stores to shop for paper:

  • Michaels (with a coupon)
  • A.C. Moore (with a coupon)
  • Walmart

Make Subject-Specific Designs

As much as I love flowers and floral print, I decided to go with a less girly and more… “preppy” design for my school notebooks. For each book, I made cutouts based off of the selected subject. If you’re feeling especially nerdy, you could even fill up the covers with equations and theorems you will actually need to reference (like quadratic formula, Newton’s laws, etc.)! Low on ideas? Look below for some inspiration!

  • Math: calculator, graph, pi or other math symbol, ruler, protractor, unit circle, equations, 3D shapes
  • Science: testing tubes, beaker, graduated cylinder, rocket, formulas, microscope, DNA, plant, atom molecule, volcano, magnet
  • English: Book with titles of required or fun reading, feather pen and ink jar, reading glasses, alphabet, pencils, typewriter
  • Foreign Language: country-specific flag, food, landmarks, clothing (like beret for France), transportation (like a moped or gondola for Italy)
  • History: map, clothes (like Medieval knight or Renaissance dress), famous artifacts (like the Rosetta Stone, Egyptian Hieroglyphics), ancient scroll
  • Art: Paintbrush, artist paint palette, easel, paint splatter, colored pencils, crayon box
  • Film & Communications: film reel, movie clapboard, camcorder/ vintage video camera, popcorn, television (retro or modern)

Draw It First

I recommend drawing your design on the paper before reaching for the scissors. This may seem like common sense, but, trust me, after doing this for an hour or two, you’ll be ready to rush the rest. If you start to get antsy with the project, take a break and come back later. I have learned the hard way that you can easily waste your expensive paper if not working painstakingly.

Cut It Out

Carefully cut your designs out and use a Sharpie or other permanent marker to add detail.

Glue and Protect

I just used a glue stick to stick my paper designs onto the covers. By the way, I used all Five Star notebooks, which have a pretty thick, plastic cover. A regular glue stick still worked fine!

Once all of your designs are glued on, it is very important that you use something to protect the cover, as the cut-outs can easily rip off with wear-and-tear. I chose to use adhesive transparent protective cover film. It’s usually used for books, but works perfectly for your notebooks that you tirelessly decorated for hours. My only advice for this step is this: be careful and don’t mess up (no pressure). Once the film is on the notebook, it’s stuck there! Shop it below:

You can also use clear packing tape, but you will use a lot of it, and it will take a lot more time.

Finished Product

Now you’re done! You have a gorgeous set of personalized notebooks for school, bound to impress your peers and teachers alike! Below are all of the notebooks I made.

DIY School Notebook Covers

Easily glamourize your notebook covers for school with this how-to guide!


  • scissors
  • patterned paper (can be cardstock or other specialty paper)
  • glue stick
  • notebooks for school
  • permanent markers
  • adhesive transparent protective cover film (clear packing tape will also do, but a lot will be needed)


  • Draw designs onto paper. Use white/paler side if there is one, but keep in mind that design will be flipped once cut out.
  • Using a Sharpie or other permanent marker, add detail.
  • Carefully cut designs out and gently use a glue stick on the back.
  • Press designs onto selected notebook cover before glue starts to dry. Once pressed on, reapply glue on the corners, if needed.
  • Use adhesive transparent protective cover film to carefully seal and protect covers. Start on left side, near the spiral (if there is one), and gradually move to the right, folding over the right edge, into the inside of the notebook. If adhesive is sticking out on the top and bottom, fold those ends into the inside of the notebook as well.

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