Bring Summer Back to School

Buckling down for fall classes doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to summer’s glory: show off your back to school crafts skills by making a composition book cover out of your best summer pics! PicMonkey’s textures and overlays take it over the top with urban flair. Or start with a colored background and add summery graphics for a cleaner, brighter look.

Teen Dream

teen composition notebook cover

We went for an up-age look, for this one, with heavy use of one-click effects and a graffiti-esque scribbles and doodles. Here’s how to create a design for a 2092 x 2917 pixel notebook-cover-sized sheet:

Open a bunch of your favorite summer photos in PicMonkey and choose cool effects to apply to each.  Crop them square, at least 800 x 800 pixels, and save them at the highest quality (you’ll combine them together later). For some of the squares in your design, you can start with a blank canvas by clicking “Design” on the home page, and add a texture to the background and an overlay or two. Don’t forget to comb through the themes for overlay and texture choices; we used a skull from the Demons theme and wordy Up Notes from School U. The fireworks square was made with a black canvas and a few fireworks overlays: nobody needs to know ya didn’t shoot it yourself!

Now combine all the photos together. Open your images in Collage and choose the Square Deal layout. To learn how to add cells and change the dimensions, check out our Collage tutorial. You’ll probably need to convert inches (or centimeters) to pixels, for the correct height and width for your cover: here’s a handy-dandy guide. Drag your photos from the image tray into your design. Now, click the Background tab (paint palette icon) and adjust the “Spacing” slider to zero, so the photos in your collage bump right up against one another.

For the final touches, click the “Edit” button in the top toolbar to bring your collage into the Editor. To create the notebook label, apply a Tape overlay and type the name in Pencil Pete font (from the Handwriting group). Throw down a few clear Tape overlays between photos for more sticktastic fun.

Sunny Splash


This cheery, graphic look brings flower power to the homework hour! To start, hover your mouse over “Design” on the home page, then click “Custom” in the menu that appears below it to create a canvas that’s the right pixel dimensions for your cover. Make that canvas so grassy green you can almost hear the lawnmowers, then head over to Textures, where we recommend Smudge. Save the grass image, start a new design (white canvas), and choose a Clouds texture. Set “Fade” to zero, then save the image at the same size.

Now open the grass image you just made and, from Overlays, click “Your Own” to open your clouds pic on top of it. Drag the edges of your clouds image to make it as wide as the grass, move it up so only the top half shows, then click outside the image. Voilà! The horizon of your dreams.

From there you can scroll through the myriad options in Overlays to add cutie beauty. In this one we used Buggles, Chick’n Eggs, Leaves, and Bursting Blossoms. For classic boy appeal, find truck, train and robot overlays in Stuffers, Santaland theme. And there’s plenty of goodness in Critters, Cutimals, and Ordinary Beasts to boot.

Tip: to stick the cover to the notebook, go for Mod Podge (or some ooey gluey equivalent) or overlapping columns of clear tape.

Back to school bonanza:



  • Nadine

    So did you just glue the pictures to the notebook front cover?

    • Mae

      I’m going to try using mod podge as the glue and top coat since that is something I have on hand. It dries clear so you’ll be able to brush it over the image to make it durable. If that doesn’t work out maybe a spray adhesive? would like to hear ideas from a craftier person or picmonkey

  • Nikki

    Do you have the notebook (along with the pencils, eraser, ruler, etc.) background on the site? :)

    • PicMonkey

      Hey Nikki,

      We don’t have those as background canvas images, and we always encourage others to poke around the internet in search of their own favorite background images. Happy editing!

  • Krystal

    When I bring the 697X697 images back in as overlays they are super tiny. Any ideas on how to fix this?

    • PicMonkey

      Hey Krystal, you should just be able to scale them bigger. If that’s not working, just email and we’ll see if we can help you out.

  • Amy

    Like Nadine asked, how did you get that design to be the cover of the notebook?

  • Chris

    I’d be interested also in HOW you got the design to be the cover????

    • PicMonkey

      Tip: to stick the cover to the notebook, go for Mod Podge (or some ooey gluey equivalent) or overlapping columns of clear tape.

  • http://PicMonkey Umar

    what are the pixels if you are doing it on a smaller notebook?

  • Betty Manousos

    i’d love to upgrade to royal but i want my 5184×3456 shots to not being reduced to smaller pixels. after editing my pictures get lower resolutions…what a pity.


    • PicMonkey

      Hey Betty,

      If you adjust your settings, you can click the settings and edit with the King Kong setting. Once you save, if select “Sean,” PicMonkey will save the image to our maximum size: 16mp. Your 5184×3456 images are almost 18mp. It’s a limitation imposed by Flash Player.

  • Lisa M.

    I have to make 2 composition notebook collages for both my kids at the beginning of the school year. I pack so much on both the front and back covers I’ve actually become known for my “books”. I used to Modge Podge the covers – but found that just a few weeks in the books start peeling. So after trying a few different things I’ve found that using clear packing tape and “laminating” the covers has worked the best – at the end of the year (and taking a beating) they still look brand new. Hope this may help….. =}