Cleo’s Diary How To
This is a present I made for Adam’s 11-year-old niece, Cleo. It took a couple of hours to design and put together, and about 10 minutes and $6 to have laminated and bound at Staples.
I’d bought a $20 book of Christmas scrapbook paper because it looked cool. It had papers that weren’t overtly holiday themed, so I used 2 designs for the front and back covers of the notebook.
Start by gluing the front cover piece of paper to a piece of cardstock (I used pink and oriented the pattern diagonally). You want the book to be 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″, half the size of regular printer paper, so you can easily design and cut the pages to fit. Use a ruler and a craft knife and cut the cover down to 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″. Repeat with the back cover.
Make a label for your front cover. I designed a simple one in Word that was about 2″ x 4″. Print it out and glue the sheet to a second piece of printer paper. The printer paper is pretty see through, so doubling up prevents the cover design from being visible through the label. Cut out the label using your craft knife and glue it to your front cover, making sure to align it straight on the cover.
To design the pages of the diary, use Microsoft Word (but Photoshop and other programs would have worked, too). In a new blank document, go to File/Page Setup and select Landscape for the Orientation. Go to Insert/Picture/Auto Shapes and draw a vertical line down the center of the page using the Line option. Go to Insert/Text Box and draw a text box on the left side of the page that’s about 1/2″ from all sides except the left side-that should be about 1 1/2″ for the spiral binding. Copy the box and paste it onto the right side of the page, orienting it to the same location as the left. You’re ready to design your pages.
I downloaded and installed 4 cool looking fonts from here (there are installation directions on the site if you need them), but you can just stick to the Word fonts if you prefer. I just created pages with things I thought an 11-year-old girl would want to see: cloud bubbles for thoughts (using the Auto Shapes feature), lined pages that said “Cleo’s Secrets” at the top, and pages for daydreams, personal information, her family, and doodles. Use your imagination and create whatever you think looks good. You can put lines around the text box or take them out (right click on the text box and go to Format Text Box). Use different colors, images, shapes, and fonts to come up with pages that your diary recipient would like.
I designed 8 different pages for the book, and you only need to draw those text boxes once. Every time you finish a page (2 boxes), save it under a different file name. Then delete the content of the text box and create something else. But make sure to always save new designs under a new file name! For some designs that I knew I’d want to print a lot of, I made 2 identical text boxes on that page design to save paper. You can do all the pages in color, but I mixed and matched some in black and white to save on ink (the black and white sheets can be photocopied or printed on a regular laser/inkjet printer).
Once you have created your designs, print or copy multiple copies of all the designs except the personal information page for the front (and any other unique pages that only need 1 copy). I did about 6 copies of each page, so for pages with doubled-up text boxes, like “Cleo’s Secrets,” I got 12 diary pages.
Assemble your diary, making sure that no 2 same pages are next to each other. I filled in with some blank pages I’d cut in half to give her more space for doodling and pasting in photos. Line up the pages neatly, put the front and back cover on and secure with binder clips. Take it to your local copy center and ask them to laminate the covers and spiral bind the entire thing.
(Back cover view)