I know, I said “Sketchbook covers”, but it works just as well  for any other journal.

In this video, I’m using one of my son’s old book, to use as an altered book journal (my first ever – I finally took the plunge!).


lesson 11
Click on the image to be directed to the video


  • a sketchbook, notebook or old book
  • some double-sided tape
  • a collage paper (I’m using the paper I made in this video HERE)
  • Mod Podge and sturdy brush
  • 2 sheets of drawing/painting paper trimmed to size
  • scissors
  • graphite pencil
  • clear gesso



I placed my book on to of the collage paper and traced around it with graphite pencil. I made sure that my collage paper was big enough to go over the edges of the book.
These marks gave me a guide to where I needed to apply my tape, but also a mark to put the book into the correct position on the paper. I cut my collage paper where the spine was and cut it out of the way. I also made a diagonal cut on each corner of my overlapping collage paper. Placing some double-sided tape along the edges, I folded each edge over onto the inside of the book cover, and tidied the bits still sticking outside by applying Mod Podge to control and secure them on the cover.

I then placed some double-sided tape on the spine of my book, to ensure that the collage paper adheres properly.
After the spine had adhered to the collage paper, I repeated the first steps with the back of my book.

I added a coat of clear gesso all over to ensure my surface would be workable with any medium.

Once the paper was adhered, I had 2 options: either use the first and last pages to glue over the inside of each cover, or add paper. This will cover the overlapping paper edges, as well as secure the collaged paper even further onto the covers.

I chose to add paper as I wanted to keep the first page for a project I already had in mind. This also gave me blank pages, something I would not have, using an altered book. To adhere these, I used generous amounts of Mod Podge, both on the inside of the covers and also at the back of the paper. You could also use patterned paper for this if you wish.

Et voila… You can leave your new jazzy cover as it is or add to it (collage, paint, doodles, inks…)



This book will be used for my Get Messy seasonal theme about Seasons. To see how I decorated my cover, click HERE to watch the video.



For another tutorial on using collage to jazz up sketchbook covers I previously created IN 2017, click HERE.