Greetings, noble traveler! My name is Gil, The Glittery, and I’ll be gracing your game-table every now and then with Craft & Dragons, a semi-regular post of glorious craft projects that will make your next D&D campaign the talk of the realm!
I’ve been crafting for well over a quarter century now (damn that makes me sound old) and am capable of covering many subjects, so I’ll try to make the projects as diverse as possible.
If you ever have any questions, comments or suggestions, please leave them in the comments section. You can also chime in on Twitter @theworstdm (That’s the boss) or @MUCouture (That’s me!)
For our first project, I thought thought we could take a simple task just to get our feet wet. For your benefit, I’ll include a unicorn-difficulty-lever-o’meter on every project. I don’t plan on doing anything too difficult, but some projects might be more involved than others. So, without further ado…
Half the fun of rolling dice with your friends is keeping organized notes, right? RIGHT?!
And if you’re the DM, you have no choice but to write down every nuance of every NPC you’ve ever created, because without fail, your druid gnome is ALWAYS going to ask you about that one guy, in that one tavern, who made NO difference to any aspect of the story. We all know you’d rather smite that forest-dwelling hippie with a well placed tarasque tail than answer his insipid question, but being the fair and loving overlord you are, you flip through your trusty compendium of knowledge and reply with a hearty,
“His dog’s name is Mr. Woofers.”
Faced with this inevitable struggle, why not have a cool, new notebook for every adventure?
The fancy leather-bound ones are rad, but fancy ain’t cheap. You could just get a spiral notebook, but they are pretty common, and you’re anything but common, so how about a DIY compromise?
With just a few supplies that can be gotten at the dollar store or a back to school sale, you can have an adventure-ready journal that not only looks boss, but can easily be duplicated for each member of the party should you feel benevolent enough to gift them their own tomes of dog names.
This project is rated:
Here’s what you’ll need:
- X-acto knife
- Scissors for paper
- Elmer’s X-treme glue stick (This one works really well, but feel free to use whatever glue stick you want. Wet glue is not good for this project.)
- Composition book (I prefer the ones with the harder covers, but the lighter ones will work fine)
- About a foot (or longer) of a narrow ribbon
- Wide duct tape (I like the colored/patterned ones, but traditional silver will work)
- Two sheets of desired paper, slightly larger than the composition book cover (This can be old calendars, scrapbooking paper, old posters, whatever you like, but it should have a cardstock-like thickness. Tissue paper doesn’t work with this project, and typing paper can tear too easily.)
- Small scrap of chipboard (optional)
- 1 Index card (optional)
- Various stamp inks, stamps, embellishments, if desired (optional)
- A couple of sheets of scrap typing paper
- Bone folder or sturdy ruler
- Self-healing mat (If you don’t have one, just use something that will protect the table when cutting with a blade.)
Step one: Place scrap paper in between the front cover and the first sheet of paper (This prevents the glue from getting on the composition notebook paper). Coat the cover of the composition book with a layer of glue. You need to make sure you get really good coverage along the outer edge. You’ll want the coverage to go to about 3/8 inch (1 cm) from the composition book’s folded binding.
Step two: Position your desired cover paper, right side up, along the folded spine of the composition book, about 3/8 inch (1cm) away from the edge. Keep the edge along the folded spine as parallel to the fold as possible – neatness counts! Cover the fancy paper with a sheet of typing paper that doesn’t have glue on it. Using the bone folder or a sturdy ruler, smooth out the fancy paper, from the center out. The scrap of typing paper will prevent the fancy paper from getting shiny.
Step three: Using the X-acto knife, CAREFULLY follow the edge of the composition book cover and cut off the excess paper sticking out from the edge. If your cover is the thicker kind, it’s easy to follow the board’s edge. If it’s thinner, take your time! I like to go off the corners with a straight line, then come back with scissors and round the corners, but approach it however you want. I find it easier to open the book and just flatten the cover against the table.
Step four: Repeat steps one, two and three for the back cover.
Step five: Glue about 1 ½ inch (4cm) of ribbon to the spine at the top of the composition book. You can leave the free end of the ribbon as long as you want but it needs to be at least the height of the book PLUS a couple of inches (5cm).
Step six: Cut a length of duct tape that is the height of the book plus a little bit. Keep one cut end of the tape perpendicular to the length edges of the tape. Lay the tape out flat and being careful, center the spine of the book on the lengthwise center of the tape, keeping the top of the composition book flush with the neatly cut end of the tape. Make sure the free end of the ribbon is out of the way. Once it’s centered, press down to secure it, then gently lay the book down against the table to flatten the tape on one side. Repeat for the other side. Use a bone folder or sturdy ruler to smooth out the tape and to help it stick to the book. The tape should cover the edges of the glued cover papers. Using the X-acto blade, cut the excess duct tape, at the bottom of the book, flush with the book.
You can leave it at this step and call it a day, but if you want to be fancy and add a name plate, keep reading.
Step seven: Cut the chipboard into an oval, rectangle or any other shape you want. Glue the chipboard to the wrong side of the index card, keeping the lines of the index card parallel to the top edge of the chipboard shape. Make sure you get the glue all the way to the edge of the chipboard shape. Using the X-acto blade, cut the excess index card away from the chipboard edge, as smoothly as possible.
Step eight: You can now “age” the name plate as you see fit. I used stamp inks to give the edge some old school charm, but you’re more than welcome to leave it plain. I also added some tiny eyelets to the name plate to give the look of being bolted to the cover. Again, this is all optional.
Step nine: Glue the name plate to the top center-ish of your covered composition book. For the ribbon, trim the free end at a 45 degree angle so it doesn’t fray as much, or add a few beads for some snazzy sparkle.
Your new compendium of useless NPC facts, err… I mean, ADVENTURE JOURNAL is now complete.
If you make one of your own, let us know!