Sunday, 20 March 2011

Wooden sketch book cover ... ...

This is a continuation of my scroll saw practice / experiments, after making the jigsaw puzzles I thought I'd try my hand at some more complicated, so I set about thinking what I might make, I decided for some odd reason to make a new cover for my sketch book (all will become clear)

Here's the sketch book -

Nothing special, although the paper is nice to draw on using pens.
 As you can see it already has a cover, it's a thin plastic of some sort, it has the same on the back along with a stiff piece of card so you can lean on it, which to be honest doesn't help that much, hence the wooden alternative.
I had some thin plywood (5mm) lying about and thought it would do the job, and because it's thin (I figured) it would be easier actually getting the cover onto the sketch book, turns out I had to wrestle with it a little to get both wooden covers on it, I made one for the front and one plain one for the back, this is much better for leaning on when you don't have a flat surface.

If I'm honest I spent a lot of time trying to think of what to put on the front cover, I came up with a variety of ideas, some more practical than others.

In the end I settled for this - 

It's made of the same plywood as the cover.
 Okay so it may not be to every one's taste, but it kind of suited what I was trying to do. The design is made of two parts, the wavy bits and then the pentacle on top of that, all of which I cut out using my scroll saw and then glued onto the front cover, there is a little glue that needs cleaning off, I'll get round to it at some point.

I decided the easiest way to fix the cover to the book was to copy the way the original covers attached, so I basically took one off the book and then drew round it to get the size right and then I also drew round each hole on the cover so I could then feed the wire binding through the wooden cover (this is where the wrestling came in)

The back cover -

I used a drill bit roughly the same size as the holes.
This is what the front cover looked like before the other bits got stuck on, I used the same basic draw round and then cut and drill method for both covers, which worked pretty well, although even though the ply is only 5mm it's a lot thicker than the original cover which is a little thicker than a sheet of paper, it still fitted though.

I wanted to add something to each corner, and in the end settled on a leaf type shape that I copied from one of our many house plants, I did also toy with the idea of using metal of some sort on each corner, but in the end went for wood.

The leaf design -

Again I used the scroll saw to cut these out, it's all practice.
As with the main design I used my pyrography tool to burn some detail on so it kind of resembles a leaf of sorts, I also used the same tool on the pentacle design in the middle of the cover.

I stuck it all down with normal wood glue and then gave it a light sanding, just to remove any sharp bits, then I coated the front and back covers with linseed oil, just to feed the wood a little and bring out a bit of the grain, plywood isn't the most exciting of things, I also thought that because the wood was a little warped it might help in straightening things out a little, the wood came from an off cut bin by the way.

The end result is quite pleasing, least I think it is, and it's an interesting way to make a plain old sketch book look a little more interesting, but you could do this with all sorts of books, you could use stiff cardboard instead of wood, and paint instead of oil. It might make a fun project for kids as well, I guess it's a different take on covering a book in wallpaper or other stuff, the sky is the limit really.

The finished book -

I had to make some modifications ;-)

All done ? well sort off, for a start the cover wouldn't stay shut as flat as I wanted, so I had to add a way of keeping it closed, so I drilled a hole in the front and back covers and then used a paper fastener on the front cover as a peg to wrap a piece of string round to keep the book closed.

The fastening solution -

The paper fastener.
Obviously I attached the string to the back cover.

This simple method of keeping the book closed seems to work, it might be better with a thin strip of leather or some other material, but string is what I had to hand.
Over all I am happy with what I have ended up with, not bad for an experiment, I'm now thinking about making more covers for my larger sketch book and perhaps the large book I intend to turn into a family photo album.

" Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless." ---> Jamie Paolinetti

Thanks for reading.

Inspire Me Beautiful


  1. Thanks :-) I was pleased with it, seeing as it was an experiment.

  2. Brilliant!

    That's 2 personalised notebook designs I've seen today now. Since you can pick up notebooks so cheaply, I think I might have a go.

  3. Oh I love what you have done here...It looks beautiful! x

  4. Wow!!! I've decorated notebooks before, but never thought of using wood!! How unique, and gorgeous! Love it!

    Thanks so much for linking up!