Handmade Journals

Handmade journals are beautiful tactile items. Creating them is enjoyable and satisfying and in making them you produce an item that is incredibly useful.

Making a journal need not be difficult. The journals I make and share here are not created with complicated bookbinding methods.

I use some very simple techniques such as saddle stitch binding and making journals using book rings. You may like to try more difficult techniques, for example coptic binding and Japanese stab binding.

Another method I show to create journals, that is easy but does require an extra piece of equipment, is using a wire binder.

Your journals can be created and used for many different purposes, either for yourself or as a unique gift.

handmade journals

Handmade Journal Ideas

Saddle Stitch Binding

This is a simple sewn binding that involves folding your pages in half and stacking them one on top of another. They are then put inside a folded cover and sewn together along the fold.

handmade journals

The cover can be made from paper, card or fabric.

My journals shown here have quilted fabric covers.

Book Rings

This method can be used on single unfolded sheets of paper. The only supplies you require are a hole punch, book rings, paper and card. 

handmade journals

You can experiment with different materials for your covers e.g. board games, CDs, coasters etc.

Made with a playing card or trading card they make an ideal note pad to pop in a bag.

They are also a great way to use up scraps of paper from other projects.

handmade journals

Wire Binding

You will need a wire binder to make these journals. I use and recommend the Zutter Bind It All. It is simple to use, small and lightweight and you can use it to bind all sizes of journal.

I particularly like to create journals using old book covers with this method.

Junk Journals

A fantastic way to create handmade journals at virtually no cost. Use recycled card, paper and embellishments and decorate your pages with paint and paper scraps.

handmade journals

You can bind these journals by using any of the techniques shown on this page, or you can take the recycling idea further and bind your book using sticks, pencils or string.

I like making junk journals with an aged look by sticking wrinkled tissue paper on the cover with pva glue.

These are an ideal bookmaking project for children to make.

Altered Books

You can use the covers from old books to create new journals using book rings, wire binding or coptic binding.

You can alter a complete book for reuse by cutting out pages and sticking new ones in, painting over pages and adding embellishments and ephemera. If you are unsure about altering an old book try altering a childrens board book first.

handmade journals
handmade journals

I use vintage papers and add pockets filled with ephemera to some of my handmade journals.

You can fill your journals with papers of your choice : plain and patterned craft papers, cartridge paper, watercolour paper, lined writing paper, packaging, old envelopes, pages out of books, vellum, handmade paper etc.

Using Your Handmade Journals

These are some possible uses for the books you create:

  • Art Journal - If you are going to use wet techniques in your art journal, it is a good idea to use a good quality water-color paper.
  • Travel Journal
  • Note Book
  • An ideas and inspiration book for your hobbies, new business, new home etc.
  • Diary  
  • Gardening Journal
  • Poetry or quote book
  • Create journals on themes you love eg. fashion, steampunk, book characters, architecture, nature etc. and fill them with ephemera and ideas about your chosen subject.
  • Smash Books
  • Sketch Books - a book I would recommend that encourages a daily sketching habit is 'The Creative License' by Danny Gregory

Handmade Journals > Handmade Books > The PaperCraft Room