Frugal School Supplies: Our Own Designer Notebooks! (Courtesy of My Creative 11 Year Old)

As homeschoolers, we’re pretty relaxed about “school supplies”. We just get them as we need them. However, my kids do enjoy having a couple of fun items, like pencils with cute patterns on them or binders with pictures or designs. This year for our homeschool coop, my 6th grader wanted a couple of pretty, decorative binders to use for her classes.

I saw cute ones at several different stores, but the least expensive ones I saw were still $5 apiece. I bought her one and told her she’d have to use the plain white ones I keep on hand for her other two classes or use her allowance if she wanted any more decorative ones.

As we gathered our supplies and prepared for our first week of co-op, she asked me if I would allow her to find some pictures on the internet and design a cover for her literature class notebook. The class is using The Chronicles of Narnia as it’s spine, so she designed a cover using photos from the recent movies.

She was so pleased with the way it turned out that she asked if she could try another one! After finishing a second one, she told me she wanted to design her own covers for all three of her notebooks and told me I could return the one I had bought! She even helped her 8 year old brother design one for his co-op class.

The end results were really nice looking, and we were able to use binders we already had on hand (and cost much less than $5 apiece to begin with!). I’ve allowed the kids to draw a picture to put in the front of these binders before, and I’ve printed covers for myself, but I’d never thought to make something like my daughter came up with here. She didn’t want a “homemade” looking hand drawn cover and liked the pretty ones she’d seen at the store…but this way she was able to personalize each notebook for it’s specific class and the finished product looks neat and professional. We were both pleased with the results, and I sure didn’t mind not spending twice as much to buy a fancy one!

Check over at We Are THAT Family for more Works-For-Me-Wednesday tips. Also check Life as Mom for more Frugal Friday tips.

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  1. I love your daughter's book covers. How clever.Thank you for your interest on our online MOMS Bible study. We are so excited about this new opportunity here at Standing Near the Cross Ministries!! Being online, we will be able to connect with lots of MOMS!! If you are interested I have posted a blog about the details of the MOMS Bible study on Epheisans called "High Stepping in Heavenly Places." The Bible study workbook can be purchased from my website at on Wednesday. Please invite any MOMS you think might be interested to join us as we study the Book of Ephesians. We will soon be on-line and "High Stepping in Heavenly Places." I have posted 10 of my messages from Philippians as PODCAST. You might possibly want to download one to get the feel of my ministry. It might help you decide if this is something you might like to do online.At any rate, thank you again for considering studying with us. May God richly bless you as you "train up your children in the the way they should go." Blessings. jean stockdale

  2. How cute! As a kid, I always loved the school supply time of year, and I always wanted notebooks that no one else had. We used to use colored contact paper to create custom covers. When we had classes that required book covers, we used wrapping paper for those instead of the standby of paper grocery bags.Happy Back-to-School season!!Corinne

  3. Very neat binders and VERY creative. Kudos to your daughter!!

  4. Such a great idea! Your daughter is SO creative!!Thanks for your sweet comments on my blog. You are an encouragement!

  5. This is a wonderful idea! A few years ago I had a son who high school who started putting the "good job" stickers his teacher gave him on his folder. And then he added football game ticket stubs and cool candy wrappers, etc. It did't take long until it was totally covered. After putting clear packing tape over everything, that 10 cent folder lasted for two whole years! And everyone knew it was his 🙂

  6. Adorable. She did a great job!

  7. I love this idea. Sooo cool.

  8. What a great idea…we just might have to try this over the weekend.

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