Mini Memo Book Covers from Larissa at mmmcrafts.

Today is going to be fun!  We have another guest with us who is sharing a great project!  Larissa from mmmcrafts is visiting.  Have you met Larissa yet?  I met her last summer in Atlanta when we both attending Dana’s workshop… it was a blast.  Larissa was a treat to meet and definitely had the cutest shoes in the shop.  Take a look, I think you’ll agree…

Gotta get some of those shoes!  But I digress.  Larissa is extremely talented and her blog is wonderful.  I’m so glad to have her here today.  Take it away, Larissa!

Well, hello Southern Institutioners! I’m so happy to be guest tutorialing here today. I met Jenny when she and Dana and a host of other talented ladies descended on Whipstitch for a class in Atlanta a while back, and let me tell you, that was fun. Delighted to do it again sometime, Jenny!

So a bit about me. I’m a graphic designer turned home schooling mom of two lovely girls. I love to make stuff and drink coffee, and even better if I can make stuff while drinking coffee. I write a blog, mmmcrafts, where you can find tutorials and see all my creative endeavors in sewing, papercutting, and felt makery. I also run an etsy shop where I sell my patterns and the occasional finished piece. Ok, enough about me, now on to the actual making. I’ll wait a second so you can top off your mug.

Make a Mini Memo Book Cover

I love these inexpensive little 3.25 x 4.5 inch composition books. They are just the right size for tucking in my purse. I always seem to need paper to jot things down or keep an antsy child occupied, so I try to keep a supply handy. When I went to the Netherlands several years ago with my BFF, I took one as a travel journal and it was just exactly the right size and number of pages. You can find them at Wal-Mart, office supply and drug stores (and even a few places online), usually for less than a dollar US each.

So here’s how to pretty them up with a nice re-usable cover. It can elevate a 77-cent memo book from plain jane to Gift Worthy.

You’ll need:

1) First step is to print the template at actual size on the back of the card stock. Then score on the dashed lines. I just use the back side of the craft knife blade to score, but be careful not to press too hard at the point. After all the folds are scored, cut out the template on the solid lines.

2) Use the provided spine pattern to trace and cut out a spine from a scrap of decorative paper.

It will be a bit longer than the cover, so it will overlap nicely when you glue it on and it is a cinch to get it centered:

 Then you just trim off the excess with your knife, and the spine is done:

3) Here’s where you can opt for the brad/floss closure, or you can leave those off. If you want to leave it off, skip to step 6. If you are going to include it, insert the brad in the spot marked for it. I happened to have a decorative brad on hand, but a regular brass brad (like the one shown below) will work great too. Don’t squish the brad down super tight. You want it to have a bit of play.

4) Now get your large embroidery needle out and thread it with a double length of embroidery floss that has a knot at the end. Poke through the card stock where it says ‘optional string placement’ and pull the floss through until there is about an inch left before the knot.

5) Put some glue on a small square or circle of paper and press it over the floss, flush with the knot and the hole. I just grabbed my circle punch and popped out a circle to use. Whichever is easiest. Make sure the glue has a nice bond over the floss.

6) Now fold all the flaps/tabs toward the wrong side and crease the spine folds. Since the scoring is on the back side, sometimes it makes a nicer fold if you fold the score backwards first, then toward the wrong side.

7) Glue the flaps to the tabs. Insert the memo book by laying the cover flat and inserting the front and back memo book cover under the flaps.

8) Wrap the floss around the brad two or three times to secure. Once you see what a good length will be, tie a knot in the floss and trim the excess. (Waxing the floss will also make it easier to wind around the brad.)

9) Cut out a label from contrasting paper and glue it to the front of the cover, if you like.


There! The cheap memo book is now a dressed up mini journal. Have fun. You can experiment with different paper color and pattern combinations. Use decorative edged scissors to give added cuteness to the spine. The possibilities are numerous. You might need to go get more coffee. Enjoy!

Thanks for having me here, Jenny!

Thank you, Larissa!  The pleasure was all mine.  Please make sure you visit mmmcrafts for more inspiration, and happy crafting!
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  1. Danni Girl says:

    These are really cute. I’m totally guilty of carrying multiple notebooks in my purse at once. Every notebook is for a different “area” of my life – I know, it’s a little too much. :) This is a great idea for making each one look different. Thanks for sharing, Larissa!

  2. I love this idea!

  3. SharleneT. says:

    What a wonderful idea! I carry these little mini-memo books all the time. Now, I’m going to pop over to Larissa’s!

  4. Larissa says:

    Jenny, thanks for such a nice intro! That picture is so cute of everyone but me. What a tragic hair day that was. But I still love my green shoes!

  5. Suzanne says:

    Wow. So cute. I’m definitely going to make this. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Jocelyn says:

    What a great tutorial for a useful, pretty item. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Donna says:

    I’m a major notebook addict, you’ve just enabled me ;)!

    This is a great idea for party favors – I may just have to make them for my daughter’s next Birthday! Cute!

  8. joolee says:

    super cute book covers! must try it! (and those shoes ARE fabulous – if they’re the shoes i think they are, the brand is Miz Mooz and i’ve been eyeing the yellow and red ones FOREVER…) :)

  9. thais. says:

    what a great tutorial – these are so cute!! and her blog so much fun. thx for sharing =)

  10. Ashley says:

    simply perfect, and great tutorial! i really like the way they came out!!!



  11. Rachel says:

    Oh my, those are so, SO cute! I just clicked over from mmmcrafts and I’m so glad I did. It’s darling here! Thanks so much for the great tutorial, I’ll be spreading the word.

  12. Makes em wish we could get those over here.

  13. Two Dollars says:

    Very cute! Those would be good teacher gifts, though I think a loop for a pen holder would be a lovely add on :)

  14. Two Dollars says:

    Very cute! Those would be good teacher gifts, though I think a loop for a pen holder would be a lovely add on :)

  15. Those are adorable! I love the one with a scalloped edge binding, clever and cute. :)

  16. cinzia says:

    love these! thanks.

  17. Amy says:

    Love these, is their a template for a regular size memo pad, so it could be a full zive journal?

  18. Jenny says:

    Amy, I don’t think there is a full sized template… maybe click through to Larissa’s blog and ask her if she has one available. :)

  19. Na says:

    amazing!! thank you so much for sharing!!

  20. Dita says:

    Beautiful!Sharing this post to my twitter followers!

  21. This is such a fantastic idea- what a great gift idea too- my girls could make these for their friends! Thanks

    • Jenny Yarbrough says:

      Yes! My (then 8 year old) daughter and I made them for her friend’s birthday and they were adorable!

  22. Oh- and I am totally pinning this and tweeting it too! They are so cute and cheap!

  23. Just simply lovely. Love these memo book covers.

    A.L. Designs Jewelry

  24. tiffany pirtle says:

    okay…i cannot wait to try this in my 4th grade classroom…now, you must know that i most likely won’t try it with my entire 4th grade class because this year, i am blessed (and i sincerely DO mean blessed) with 15 boys and 4 (count them! 1-2-3-4…two of which are very quiet little girls)…anyway…it makes it so nice for me to justify letting them do special girly crafts that i haven’t ever attempted in my 15 years of teaching…because in a typical classroom, you don’t have a group who would ALL like to attempt crafts like this…I want them to journal daily (ideally) for the remainder of the year not for a ‘grade’ but to show them as young girls, the gift of journaling…and hopefully, one day they will look back and catch a glimpse of the little girl they used to be… :)

    have a wonderful thursday! ~ tiffany

  25. Stephanie says:

    I was wondering if you have a template for the regular sized composition notebooks. I use them in my fifth grade science class for science journals. This would definitely spice up the boring 50¢ journals… Especially for the kids who want a designer one and can’t afford it… I could have all the materials they need to fix them up and have a couple of lunch/recess tutorials… Love… Love… Love

    • Hi Stephanie, I do not have a template for that size, but I think you could probably size this one up pretty easily!

  26. Hey, we loved the memo book idea and featured it in our roundup that just went live yesterday. Thanks, and feel free to share it!

    • Well, thank you, Andy! Larissa did a great job with that, didn’t she? I hope your group had fun!

  27. Marianna says:

    Where can I get the cardstock at? btw love the idea!!

    • If you click the link in the supplies list it will take you right to Amazon and the perfect card stock for the project!


  1. [...] sure to make a journal for yourself, because this is good practice for anyone, especially a mom who believes in teaching by example. [...]

  2. […] Cheap Custom Memo Book or Journal – (The Southern Institute) […]

  3. […] or if those above are  too much trouble.. just put a cover over a composition book! […]

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