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'The Code' Journal

The Code

Ask any pirate what The Code is and he'll tell you it's the law that any true marauder of the high seas must abide by -- or at least consider as guidelines whenever it may be advantageous to bend the rules. And yet not one, it seems, has been able to get his hands on an actual copy. Here's how your child can transform an ordinary notebook into a seaworthy faux leather-covered journal in which to record inspiring quotations, wise old sayings, and other favorite rules of thumb.

You'll need:

  • Ruler
  • Composition-style notebook
  • Construction paper (black, off-white or cream-colored, and red)
  • Scissors
  • Mod Podge or other water-based glue sealer
  • Paintbrush or foam brush, 2 or 3 inches wide
  • Pirate skull templates
  • Glue stick
  • Fine-tipped black marker
  • Stick-on letters or letters cut out of construction paper
  • Thin black yarn or cord
  • Button
  • Pushpin
Instructions:

1. Measure the front cover of the notebook and cut a piece of black construction paper with the same dimensions.

2. Brush a coat of Mod Podge on the face of the notebook and then press the black paper onto it. Smooth the paper with your hands so that it will stick in place all the way to the edges. Don't worry if you create small wrinkles in the process -- this will make it look all the more like weathered leather. Cover the back cover of the notebook in the same manner.

3. Print out the templates and cut out the pieces. Trace the skull and lower jaw templates onto off-white or cream-colored paper (note: the shaded eyes and nose shapes on the skull template are not meant to be cut out but rather used as a guide for placement). Trace the mouth, eyes, and nose templates onto black paper, and both of the headband pieces onto red paper. Cut out all of the tracings.

4. Glue the right edge of the skull atop the left edge of the bandana tail, as shown. Then coat the back of the joined pieces with Mod Podge and stick them onto the book cover. Next, glue the jaw in place, fitting it snuggly up against the skull, as shown. Step 4a Step 4b

5. Glue on the bandana headband, the eyes, the nose, and the mouth. Cut out teeth from off-white or cream-colored construction paper and glue them in place.

6. Use the marker to outline the teeth and to draw wrinkle lines on the bandana.

7. Use stick-on or construction paper letters to title the book: The Code. Then seal the front and back covers with a coat of Mod Podge.

8. For the finishing touch, create a fastener by first threading a 6-inch length of yarn (or cord) through the holes of the button. Next, use a pushpin to make a pair of holes through the book cover and thread the yarn ends through them, as shown. Tie the ends together on the back of the cover, leaving just a little slack between the button and the book, and trim them short. Step 8a Step 8b
9. Make a single hole through the back cover and thread a 10-inch length of yarn or cord through it. Bring the ends together and knot them, as shown. Wind the doubled cord around the button. Step 9

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