I’m here to make a confession: I have some complicated, serious feelings about office supplies. When I walk into an art store or a stationer’s, I actually get chills. The smooth, unblemished surface of a fresh eraser. The commanding spine of a sketchpad. Thick, creamy pages with their flawless edges.
But my deep passion can turn on me. Often I become so overwhelmed by the limitless beauty of papers, pens, and postcards that I leave without buying anything. The blank pages brim with so much creative potential that the responsibility of owning them dizzies me.
With such strong feelings about supplies, you can imagine that my back-to-school shopping is quite a ritual. In fact, it’s the one thing that makes me truly believe a new academic year has arrived. But school notebooks are not flawless, stunning artifacts. They’re more like trusty little sidekicks. This year we’ll work together, down and dirty, to assimilate [hopefully] vast stores of knowledge. So I bought cheap standard composition books, and broke down their intimidating blankness with some decoupage!
I wanted each notebook to have its own color palette, to reduce the risk of grabbing the wrong one en route to class. The black and white one uses cutouts from an old Xerox training exercise (I bought the worksheets cheap from a church yard sale). The red notebook is decorated with strips of origami paper and the bronze one has ancient maps, cut from an old calendar. For the blue book, I used images from a vintage National Geographic as well as an old manual published by Kodak on how to take better photos.
Each book got a few thin coats of Mod Podge, and boom! Bring it on, school!