Paper Overload – DIY Journals

March 9, 2014

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Handmade Journals

If you are anything like us who take notes of anything and everything at every meeting, business or pleasure then surely you must have piles and piles of notebooks, notepads, college ruled lined paper, construction paper lying around the house.  Yes, this would mean the years before the techy inventions that have substituted the good old note taking ways.

Old Journals

Well, our stock of notepads have been piling up because we feel guilty throwing away thoughts we once had or that one day we may need to reference  (Ahem, yes shamefully even decades ago). But alas it’s truly time to organize our overflowing bookshelves. But what we found was that we had several empty pages at the end of the note pad on almost all the note pads we had. We failed to use every page. Oh, the lonely pages that didn’t get any inked thoughts and that we are now contemplating tossing away. What can we do with them?


Recycle with a purpose…a journal of course!

We love a good journal. By this we mean it has an appealing and pretty cover and it’s just the right size to fit in our purse/work bag. It makes us happy and inspires us when we carry lovely things. After all, there’s no better way to jot down BIG IDEAS than handwriting them on paper! You could say we’re a little obsessed with our journals and love a good find. But making your own seems doable too, especially when you get to recycle what you already have.


Easy steps to a DIY journal with center stitch.  Beware there are no specific measurements because it depends on the size you prefer your journal to be.


What you’ll need:

  • Cardstock – actually any type of thick/heavier weight paper will do. You can even use a cereal box and use the brown cardboard on the inside.
  • Left over blank paper of any kind.
  • Paper cutter
  • Pointy piercing tool – to make small holes for threading
  • Thread
  • Ruler
  • Scissors

Paper CutterWe used brown cardboard cardstock and a pre-printed designed cardstock. We created a design for the plain cardstock one and naturally chose our Willow Spa logo. We love the words ‘organic thoughts’ because that’s what thoughts really are and how they originate and it’s even more awesome when those thoughts transform into bigger and brighter things!

Journal PapersFor the cover, cut and fold the sheet of cardstock to your desired size. We like to carry a small journal in our purse wherever we go, so a petite size always works for us. Next we take about 10-20 sheets of paper, any leftover blank paper that you can find around the house. These sheets will fold over once, so 10 sheets will give you 20 pages and 20 sheets will give you 40 pages. Cut the paper with the paper cutter on the long edge to match the entire length of the journal. Cut at maximum 5 sheets of paper at once. Then fold those 5 sheets in half as a group. You will notice that if you fold all the cut sheets and layer the groups one inside the other, the inner layers will stick out longer than the outer layers. Here’s where you will need to do a little extra trimming with the inner layers of paper. And you will need to trim very little, approximately a couple millimeters. Remember it’s a home-made journal so it doesn’t have to be exact, unless of course that disturbs you, but don’t drive yourself nuts perfecting the line-up of the paper sheets. It will still turn out nice and useable.


Next puncture holes with a sharp piercing tool into the cover and then into the layers of paper. Start off with the cover first, you can use a ruler to be exact or you can eyeball this. Make sure you use a foam board or cork board or something you can puncture into without ruining your table surface. These holes are for threading the pages together. Generally we like anywhere from 3-5 holes for a petite journal. But it really is based on how much stitching you want to see and is pleasing to your eye.


Finally, with all the holes punctured you are ready to sew the journal together. Thread the needle with thick strong thread. We used the thread that is for outdoor use. Double up on the thread before tying the loose ends for a thicker look and less stitching through the journal. Next up, sew in and out of the holes from top to bottom. You can sew through each hole twice for more durability. Tie the end of the thread when you are done.

Journals FInal

Voila! Your very own personally designed journal.

Happy Thoughts!


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