Easy to Make Journal
Recycle Old Greeting Cards and Postcards into Meaningful Homemade Journal Gifts
If you want ideas for easy to make journal gifts, here's a fun one that can be made to suit just about anyone on your gift list.
The key is to match up the prefect image with a journal theme that they would be interested in (ex. garden journal, poetry, new business inspiration etc.) Get more journal themes here.
The image can be anything but re-using an old card or post card works great and provides a lot of easy to make journal options.
Easy to Make Journal
Here I re-used a favorite greeting card by Josephine Wall. You can view her site at www.josephinewall.co.uk. This will take you to her Art Gallery where you can see more images like the one I used above.
Note: It's ok to use purchased art images for fun in your personal project but if you decide to show off your gift in a forum or on a blog for example, be sure to give credit to the artist or copyright holder of any images used. It is your responsibility to understand copyright laws pertaining to any images you use.
Where to Get Free Images...
If you don't have any images readily available, try making an image yourself by painting, drawing, coloring, stamping or nature printing. You can also find free stock photos on the web such as www.stockvault.net. For a cute look, you might try some free clip art such as the freebies on www.hasslefreeclipart.com.
Supplies and Tools:
You can take any notebook and work your own paper art magic in any way you're inspired but here is a list of materials I used in this easy to make journal project. I love to use a composition notebook as my base because they are sturdy and cheap.
- 1 composition notebook (100 sheet, 200 page, 9 3/4 x 7 1/2 in./24.7 x 19.0 cm)
- 12 x 12 scrapbook papers, 6 pieces in 3 colors... cut to the following sizes (change colors as desired or use patterns, below is simply the colors I used above)
7 1/4 x 9 1/4 inches, lavender paper
6 3/4 x 8 3/4 inches, black paper
11 3/4 x 12 inch, black paper
11 3/4 x 8 1/2 inch, cream paper
9 1/2 x 7 1/4 inch, cream paper (end sheet 1... inside of front cover)
9 1/2 x 7 1/4 inch, cream paper (end sheet 2... inside of back cover)
- Pretty Image (ex. postcard, greeting card, photo, clip art, magazine picture etc.)
- Flat 12 inch ruler
- Craft knife or razor knife
- Glue such as glue runner or glue stick
- Bone folder or metal spoon
- Scissors and/or paper cutter
Easy to Make Journal Instructions:
- Cover back of the book in quality paper. I used 65 lb card stock for this book cover. You can use any thickness you desire however, paper that is extremely thick will be hard to fold and paper that is too thin is often see-through.
- To do this... start with the 11 3/4 x 8 1/2 inch "cream colored paper." Fold paper 1 inch from top, bottom and right side (as shown by dotted lines in diagram to right). Smooth folds with bone folder tool or the round part of a spoon.
Tip: To ensure a snug fit, I like to make the top and side folds first, then place the paper on the notebook and make the last fold with the notebook in place. This way the book cover will be sure to fit exactly. Remove to smooth the fold with bone tool.
- Cut off the top and bottom right corners as shown in gray.
- After checking to see that the cover fits well, glue the paper to the back of the notebook, wrapping and gluing the flaps as well to the inside of the back cover.
Tip: If your notebook has a rounded edge as mine does, simply pinch in the corner of the cover before you fold the edges over as shown below. Then resume the fold exactly as you would have done otherwise.
- Cover front of book and stretch across spine. This is done almost exactly as you just did with the bottom cover. The only difference will be an extra length of paper that folds over the spine and onto the back of the book.
- To do this... take your black paper that is cut to 11 3/4 x 12 inches. First cut off a 1 x 3 1/2 inch rectangle from the top left and bottom left of your paper (as shown in the image to the right).
- Now follow the directions from step 1 to make the book cover flaps. Glue the paper to the front cover with the flaps folding to the inside. Then stretch and glue the extra paper to the spine and back cover. Glue thoroughly and allow to dry before moving on. Your book is now covered and ready for your designs...
- Make a mat and frame for your picture. I used a 5 x 7 in. image for this project. I made the inside of the frame 4 x 6 inches. For different sized images adjust measurements as needed.
- Start with the black paper that is 6 3/4 x 8 3/4 inches. Lightly mark your 4 x 6 in. rectangle on back side of the paper (using pencil). With a craft knife (and on a suitable surface) cut a cross from corner to corner. Now either cut out the rectangle with scissors or tear the paper as I did for this example.
To tear a relatively straight line, hold the ruler down along the approximate line you want to tear and pull toward you, allowing the ruler to guide the tear. Do this gently.
- Once the frame is done, glue the picture underneath. Now center and glue them both to the lavender paper that is 7 1/4 x 9 1/2 inches. You should have a 1/4 in. lavender border with a large black frame. Now glue the finished frame thoroughly to the center of the front of the book.
- Apply the end sheets. The front and back of your easy to make journal are now complete. The finishing touch is the end sheets. These are the two 9 1/2 x 7 1/4 in. pieces of cream colored paper. Fit them against the inside of each cover, pushed in as far as possible toward the spine and centered between top and bottom. Glue each one down thoroughly, smooth and allow to dry. The end sheets give this very easy to make journal a sturdy and polished look from cover to cover.
Note: If the corners are rounded, snip the point off your paper as needed.
More Easy to Make Journal Ideas...
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