I don't know about you all, but I'm always looking for ways to save money when heading to Disney. Everything there has gotten super expensive - especially souvenirs. Luckily, I've got a DIY for you today that will save you time and money when you get to the parks - your very own Character Autograph Book!
So let's get started! First you'll need a notebook or journal. It can be any type that you want or even already have. I should note that hard cover books do work best, though. I have three notebooks pictured below. The red one I found at five below for $5, the yellow one I got at Target for $3.64, and the green and pink one I already had around the house.
By making your own autograph book, you can customize it to fit your needs, so look for a notebook that's the size and style that you want. For example, for this tutorial, I'll be using the red book, because it is technically a sketchbook, so it doesn't have lined paper inside.
The next thing that you'll need is two different styles of decorative paper. I found these Disney themed sheets at A.C. Moore for around 70 cents each. They also sell large books with a collection of different styles. These can cost around $20, but they leave you with enough Disney paper for hundreds of future DIY projects.
The last materials that you'll need are for decoration, so these are all optional. For my book, I have some thin ribbon, some buttons, and a pack of Mickey Mouse stickers. These were also very cheap. The ribbon was about $2 at A.C. Moore, the stickers were $3 at 5 Below, and I already had saved the buttons from previous projects, but they would also probably cost around $3.
The tools that you'll need to make this project are pictured below. You'll need a ruler, pencil and eraser, scissors, and glue. I recommend using tacky glue, but if your little ones are helping to make their own autograph books, then you could also use a glue stick for the majority of the tutorial.
Okay, now that we have all of our materials and tools, lets start making our autograph book!
First, you'll need to pick the paper that you'll want to use for your front cover. Use the ruler to measure the size of the front of your book and then add two inches to the height. That is how big of a rectangle you'll need to cut out of this paper. For example my red book was 5.5" by 8" so I cut a 5.5" by 10" rectangle out of my Mickey paper.
Next, you'll need to glue the paper onto the cover of the book, leaving about a one inch gap from the spine. The paper will hang over the edge of the book's cover, but that's okay. We'll fold that down in a minute.
Next you'll need to open the book's cover and it should look like the photo below. Make sure that no pages are stuck to the inside of the cover, or else they'll get glued down in the next step.
Now we're going to wrap this cover up like a Christmas present! But don't worry if you're bad at wrapping presents - I'll walk you through the steps. First fold the top and bottom off your paper in and glue them to the inside of the cover.
Next fold the corners of the side flap of paper down at a 45 degree angle, as shown below. Glue those down and then fold the whole thing in like you did for the top and bottom. This will give you clean edges and corners. And don't worry about how messy the inside cover looks at this point. We'll be covering it all up in a few minutes.
This next part is optional, but you might need it, if the edges of your paper have gotten a bit messy. Simply take a piece of ribbon and glue it down to the front cover to clean up that edge. I should mention that, while you can use a glue stick to glue the paper down, you'll definitely want to use tacky glue or elmer's glue to glue down your ribbon.
Once your ribbon is glued on the front, open up the front cover and glue down those loose ends like in the picture below.
Now comes the promised cleaning up of the inside cover. You know how I told you to choose two styles of decorative paper? Take the second one and cut it to fit neatly in the interior cover and glue it down. It's that simple.
Repeat these steps for the back cover, and you've now got a one-of-a-kind autograph book!
Now comes the fun part - decorating! I chose to keep my book pretty simple, by only putting some buttons in the shape of a Mickey on the front cover, but this is your chance to really get creative. You could decorate with stickers or print out your name and glue that to the front so everyone knows who made this gorgeous autograph book! The possibilities are endless.
Also, don't forget to decorate the pages of the book too! I chose to put my stickers next to each character's signature. Also, once you get home and get all of your photos printed, you could glue in a photo of you with each character next to that character's signature.
I should also note that this tutorial doesn't have to just be for autograph books. Below are a few standard composition notebooks that I've covered and I now use for note-taking during my classes.
I hope that this tutorial was helpful. I know that there's always a lot of anticipation before a big Disney trip and this is a great opportunity to harness some of that excitement and use it to make something that will not only be useful on the trip, but will also become a priceless souvenir afterwords.
If you're looking for other ways to save money on your Disney trip check out my post on Ten Things to Buy Before You Go to Disney That Will Save You Money and if you love Disney crafting projects, check out my most popular tutorial on How to Make Your Own Pair of DIY Mickey Ears.
Let me know in the comments below or contact me directly if you guys have any further questions. And feel free to post or send photos of the autograph books that you've created! I love seeing all of your fantastic creations!
Also, if you like Disney themed DIY projects, be sure to follow my Disney Crafts Board on Pinterest.
Thanks and I'll see you next week!
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