I don’t know about you, but one of the things that motivates me in keeping a bullet journal is making it pretty. I’m definitely not one of the simple and low-key bullet journalers. I love stickers and washi tape and keeping things interesting. So how disappointing is it that so many of the best notebooks for bullet journaling feature boring covers? Sure, Leuchtturm and others have a nice variety of colors, and Nuuna is doing some AMAZING things with their graphical covers. But I’m still someone who wants to be unique. I can’t use a plain journal any more than I can have a minimalist spread. I want my BuJo’s cover to represent ME. So I am always on the look out for ways to bespoke my notebook easily and cheaply.
A while back, I was at the Dollar Tree, and I found a pack of ten paper doilies. They are meant for lining cake trays and things like that. Since they were 10 for a dollar, I was pretty sure I could find a use for them, and so I bought a pack. I put it in my craft stash, and I forgot about it. Then, I was doing a video yesterday to discuss ways of making your journal cover look better. And it suddenly hit me that this would be an awesome, simple and elegant way to jazz up the plain black Rhodia notebook I’ve had sitting around.
So I grabbed my doilies, my notebook, a spare paintbrush and some Mod Podge, and I got to work. The whole project took me less than twenty minutes, and I LOVE how it turned out. I have so many ideas for ways to make it pop even more, but right now, I am going to stick with what I got.
Remember that these doilies are super flimsy – they’re made of paper, after all – so you want to be careful as you get them wet with Mod Podge so they don’t fall apart. Mine was pretty sturdy, but some spots had only tiny connections, and they were more apt to come apart.
To begin, use your paintbrush to lay down a thin layer of Mod Podge across the front of your journal. It doesn’t have to look perfect. Just brush it on. Then place your paper doily on top. It’s best if you make a plan beforehand as to how you want to place it, as there IS a pattern to the doily, and if it’s off at all, it will look strange.
Next, take your paintbrush and brush on another layer of Mod Podge, right over the top of the doily. You want to coat it thoroughly, as this will protect it and make it waterproof and also seal the edges so that it won’t come up and off the book. I went over each section several times.
You may also notice that some of the paper’s design isn’t quite right. There may be holes that should be empty, but it still has paper. Make sure to remove them as you go. Don’t worry too much about it if you miss a few bits, but definitely try to remove them if you can.
You may want to wait until the front is totally dry before moving on, but I discovered that I could stand the book up on its side in a sort of A-frame and it allowed me to move on to the spine and back.
Once again, you’re going to want to spread a nice thin layer of Mod Podge over the spine and the back side of the notebook. Then, pull the rest of the doily around to ensure even contact.
Just as you did in the front, layer Mod Podge over the entire doily to secure it. Pay special attention to the spine, as you’ll want to be sure it is thoroughly stuck on. This will help since you’ll be opening and closing the book A LOT and want to make sure it doesn’t come apart.
I like to let the entire thing dry for about an hour before adding one final layer of Mod Podge all around. You can skip this step if you want to.
Finally, once it is totally done, and I’m happy, I take a pair of scissors and remove any excess doily. This one was only slightly too large for the book, so I started on one side and slowly snipped away the extra bits.
At this point, it may be a good idea to seal the edges with a tiny bit more Mod Podge. It’s definitely a preference thing, but I would suggest doing it for the best results.
There you have it! A really unique cover for your BuJo! Since I have lots of these paper doilies, I am thinking about making a few more but using watercolors or inks to color the doily first. I think doing a sort of tie dye pattern would be really cool! I also think that the design kind of looks a bit steampunk, so perhaps coloring it to look like clockwork would look pretty cool, too! My husband said the black with white lace looked a little like a maid’s uniform, which I hadn’t considered, so I think a more colorful version may be in my future. You might even want to paint the doily black so that it looks more like an embossed notebook and like the pattern is part of the actual cover. The sky is the limit!
I shared my 2017 Bullet Journal Setup earlier, which shows that I used Mod Podge and some spare fabric to create a cover. So clearly Mod Podge is a real winner with me! I also love using contact paper or even paint to jazz things up.