So, first off, if you want to just cover the ugly part of the notebook and not do the name, you can totally do this with just an exacto knife - no need for a cutting machine:
Here's a before and after of what some fun patterned vinyl can do to transform the notebook:
Now, if you are wanting to do a name, since letters are more intricate, you'll probably want a cutting machine (although if you're patient and/or crazy you could probably hand-cut a name). I want to show you a trick I used called "Offset" when using my Silhouette Cameo. See above how the name kind of runs in with the background. I thought it'd be nice to have a barrier of white vinyl around the name, and it turns out it's super simple to do. You can see the difference here - on "Emmy" I used the Offset Feature and there is a layer of white vinyl under the name.
So - type out what you want, like so (I love the Silhouette because you can use all the fonts you have already on your computer) - -
Then just hit the "Offset" Button - it's the one I circled below - - and then click "offset" - - it'll look weird at first - -
But, then drag the offset section away from the words and you'll see that it's perfect.
I had the background of herringbone, then the offset of white, and the name in glitter. Oh yeah.
Layer it all together - -
And then stick it on - - voila! That offset added just the slight emphasis that I was looking for:
Whether you cut with a machine or by hand, this is a fun project to involve your kiddos with - let them pick the vinyl color, where to place the name, push on the vinyl, etc. Fun fun!