Monday, July 7, 2014

Create a Summertime Journal ~By Suzy Leopold

In a previous GROG post, about journals, I shared information on why one should consider keeping a journal or two, or three or even more.  Are you writing in a journal?  I do hope the answer is a resounding, "Yes!"  If not, here's an opportunity for you to make and create a journal for yourself and even consider making and creating journals to share with others. 

Throughout the years, my students have enjoyed making and creating journals.  The journals were used to display "published best copies," written during a Writer's Workshop lesson. Illustrations were added.  Creating student journals for the content areas of Math, Social Studies and Science are very effective. 

Consider making memories creating a personal journal, this summer, with your kids or the grandkids.

Being a crafty person is not required.  If you are a reader and a writer, you can construct your own personal journal to write thoughts, lists, ideas, poems, stories, doodles and much more. Making a journal just takes a little time and patience and does not require much money.  

Begin with the following materials:
1.  A composition notebook
2.  Four pieces of scrapbook paper 12 X 12 inches. Cut two pieces 12 X 8 inches for the outside front and back covers of the notebook. Cut two pieces of scrapbook paper 6 x 9 for the inside front and back covers of the notebook.
Note:  Be creative and consider using gift wrap paper, construction paper, cardstock, linen type paper or even brown craft paper.  All work great.
3.  Glue stick
4.  Hot glue gun
5.  Scissors
6.  Ribbon, rick rack and/or twine
7.  Embellishments
Note: Scrapbook letters and/or stickers, recycled greeting card cutouts, buttons, etc. make great additions.
8.  A Paper Folding Tool or Straight Edge Tool [optional]
Gather the supplies needed to create a personalized journal.
Many of these items you may have around the house. If you do not, consider purchasing what is needed from a local retail store or a indie craft store. 
Using a glue stick, generously apply glue to notebook.  Line up and place the cut scrapbook paper to the front of the composition notebook.  Repeat for the back of the notebook. The scrapbook paper should line up to the spine of the journal without gluing the paper onto the black binding of the note book.
Use a folding tool or straight edge tool, to smooth out any air bubbles, which helps to adhear the paper to the notebook and provide a finished look.
My favorite folding tool is a kitchen gadget. It is a plastic spatula.
A ruler or a sample piece of vinyl works well. You could even try a credit card!

Triangle corner folds are glued securely.

Continue using the folding tool to make some more paper folds. Pressing firmly with your fingers, works well, too. Create triangle shape corners as you fold the scrapbook paper inward. Do this for both the front cover of the notebook and for the back of the notebook.
Make four triangles folds for each corner of the notebook.
Once the four triangles are folded, use the glue stick to adhere the corners to the notebook.  

Now it is time to fold the paper along the three sides, of the front and back, of the notebook, as you can see in this photo:
Glue and secure these three folds, on the inside front cover and the inside back cover. Press firmly or use a folding tool.
This is what your journal should look like at this point.  I used a laminated piece of paper inbetween the cover of the notebook and the first page, as the glue was not quite dry and I did not want any of the glue to stick to the first page.  You could use a piece of parchment paper or wax paper, to prevent sticking until the glue is completely dry.
A piece of laminated paper sits temporarily
inside to prevent the drying glue from sticking.
Just a few more steps.  And here is another picture of the journal project:
Using a generous amount of glue, attach the 6 X 9 pieces of paper to the inside front and back covers as noted in this photo: 
Be creative and use paper that compliments the paper on the outside of the journal.  Mix and match.

Attach ribbon type bookmarks to the
center seem of the journal
Open up the notebook to the center seem.  Using a hot glue gun, attach some ribbon and/or rick rack or even some rope or twine for bookmarks.
Tie a knot at the end of each bookmark.   

This is the final step to complete your journal. 

Time to personalize it and make it your own. Select some scrapbook letter stickers [self adhesive work great], some baubles and other embelishments to make your journal special. Use the glue stick or hot glue gun, to adhere the decorations to the notebook.  Add some bling and baubles!

You did it!  Your journal is ready for some words. Time to write!

Here is a picture of one of my many journals: 
Suzy's Journal

Hope your new personalized journal provides you with many opportunities to write.  Share your journal creations.
Journals galore for family and friends!


  1. Love it! Thanks for sharing. I think I'll make a journal to use during the Teachers Write challenge and Summer School 2014 event that I'm participating in starting this month.

    1. Hi Kristi: And thank you for reading our GROG blog. Have fun making and creating a journal for the Teachers Write 2014 challenge. I too, am participating in Teachers Write. ~Suzy Leopold

    2. P. S. I look forward to the opportunity to write during Get it WRITE This Summer with The Nerdy Chicks, also, Kristi. See ya *there!*

  2. Those journals are wonderful, Suzy! Great idea from Kristi to make different journals for conferences and workshops.

    1. Thank you, Patty. I have always delighted in sharing personalized journals with so many family and friends. May you, too, enjoy creating several journals for your writing as you fill your book bag while attending workshops and conferences. ~Suzy

    2. I agree with Patty. Making journals for specific events is even more special. I recently bought Jack a journal for our trip to Colorado, but I didn't think to personalize it in this way. Maybe we can 'retro-fit' it? Thank you for sharing your secrets!

    3. Todd: Well, there you go! Creating a journal for vacations and travels is a fabulous thought. Happy to know traveled with a journal to the Rocky Mountain State. I bet his journal is filled with wondeful Dad/Son adventures in the Tear Drop Camper. As a kid, I have memories of riding in the family station wagon and journaling about our travels to Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, The Bad Lands and Wall Drug Store in South Dakota. Sure wish I had some diaries and journals from days gone by. ~Suzy

    4. He wasn't always happy about writing in it, but I think he will appreciate it down the road!

  3. This is so wonderful and makes a great craft/tool for homeschoolers!

    1. Hi orthodoxmom3: If you home school, I hope your homeschoolers enjoying making and creating a journal or two. Share the end results. Have fun! Thank you for reading our GROG blog. ~Suzy Leopold

  4. That sounds like a good way to make a journal. I'll try it! :D

    1. And if you do create a journal, Erik AKA This Kid Reviews Books, please share your creation. Read, write, and create everyday. Thank you for stopping by our GROG Blog. I always enjoy reading your outstanding book reviews on your blog. ~Suzy Leopold

  5. Very cute! I love scrapbooking, and so making journals will be fun.

  6. Hi Tina: May you and the kids enjoy a summertime activity of making, creating and decorating journals together. Perhaps you can post some pictures of your new journals. Read, write, and create everyday. ~Suzy

  7. How clever to use a spatula!

    I think one of the mighty fine parts of creating journals is not only the creativity, but also the recycling possibilities.
    And, while my journals run to all kinds of sizes, which makes for a mishmash pile when I want them to meet up, if most of them thru the years were re-covered composition notebooks (which also have such nostalgic appeal re: our childhood days) imagine how solid they would appear hugging each other on a bookshelf.

    Great post Garden Girl (Suzy)!

    1. Hi Jan: Thank you for your comments. It is so important to reuse, reduse and recycle. Creating a journal can be made using recycled materials, as you suggested. I have used greeting cards and buttons, ribbon, rick rack and baubles from a sewing box. One could use wrapping paper, wall paper, costume jewelry and a collection of ephemera. There are so many ways to make a personalized journal all your own. This Garden Girl could even glue some dried flowers and leaves to a journal cover!

  8. Your steps were easy to follow, Suzy, and I loved the one photo of the awesome array of journals. You've got me thinking.........Are you suggesting we bring materials and make one at WOW, or would it be a better idea to make one now and have it ready? Or both?