The Cheap & Nasty Sketchbook Makeover, on

The Cheap & Nasty Sketchbook Makeover

Last weekend I put together a guest DIY post over on Sarita’s blog,  i love gifting that you might want to go over and look at; it comes out some time today.

In it, I’ve taken one of those generic cheap & nasty sketchbooks (must be hardbound, though; I got mine from Jackson’s Drawing Supplies for AU$12.00) and added a little bit of reinforcing to the binding (so that it is a little bit stronger than the factory-made version, which used something for the mull that really resembled thick loo paper). I replaced the plain white endpapers with caramel-colored Canson Mi-Teintes, and then performed a series of quick techniques with acrylic paints to make the cover colorful, quirky, and very unique.
finished spread

It’s not a bad project for young people, and those of you who don’t want to get into the fiddly process of actually learning to bind books from scratch. Make a dozen for the holidays and give them to people who like to doodle, or compose poetry, or collect quotes, or to your friend who has a very bad case of list-making syndrome. It’s not an heirloom-grade book, the paper will probably disintegrate in 20 years, but not everything we need blank pages for will end up in the Victoria & Albert Museum. This book is for those other things.

This song came on when I was about to start painting the covers of the book, and I just let it take over. A little bit of 80s nostalgia, anyone?


8 thoughts on “The Cheap & Nasty Sketchbook Makeover, on

  1. love it! Pressed play on the youtube video while right clicking on the diy link, that way I could read your article while listening to the music that inspired it. For a person who loves sketchbooks, this a perfect gift to give out to others.


  2. Love it! I live on these little black hard-covered sketchbooks, and the most decorating I’ll do to it is slap the first sticker my kids hand to me on the cover, and otherwise let the ink and color spilling off the edges of the paper decorate the edges of the book itself.


    1. You got me there. As sketchbooks, actually, they’re fine for the job…the amounts you, Sketchbook Warrior, must go through…why would you bother pimping the covers, except, as you say, with a sticker to differentiate it from all the others? They’re just our work tools, after all. This DIY was to make one (or make it over) so it could be given as a gift…it was just the easiest little DIY I could think of for the weekend. My only grip about the c&n sketchbooks has always been the rotten paper they use. But for pencils and a bit of ink, they’re really good! And for 8-12 bucks! PS I love your header logo…ever tried cutting an actual sketchbook into that skull shape? What a fun book it would be!


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