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Here's How To Make A Handmade Journal For The Holidays

Because gift cards are so gauche.

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These are the supplies you'll need:

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1. Twine or string

2. Mod Podge glue

3. A pack of paper cards (you can also cut your own paper. You'll need 25+ sheets)

4. An X-ACTO knife (or a similar tool)

5. A bone folder (not necessary, but it helps with folding and smoothing)

6. An awl

7. Sewing needles (the eye of the needle you use needs to be large enough for your twine.

8. Book board, chip board, or dense carboard (for the book covers)

9. Decorative paper to cover your book with (also get dark book cloth if you want to cover your spine in something more heavy duty)

10. A ruler

Pretty much all these supplies can be purchased at a paper supply or craft store.

1. Make a template to poke holes through your paper:

Take a piece of paper and cut off about an inch with an X-acto knife. With your awl, poke four evenly spaced holes, and label one end as the top. This is your hole template.

Line it up on small stacks of four or five sheets of paper and use your awl again to punch holes.

When each sheet of paper has holes, line the entire stack up and make sure your awl fits all the way through. Loosen it up a bit if it feels tight by wiggling your awl.

Now, load up your needle and pierce one of the middle two holes in the stack.


2. Sew the stack together with a Japanese Stitch:

View this video on YouTube

3. Cut your book covers:

Use your stack of bound papers to measure and cut your covers. The covers should be roughly the same size as your pages. The book board should extend slightly past the top and bottom of your paper stack, but should be flush with the left side and the right side (where the spine will be).

If your book board is dense, make multiple strokes along your ruler until your X-ACTO knife cuts through. Don't try to force it through in one stroke.

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Cut two covers, then slice off the end of each, similar to when you made a paper template.

You'll also need to cut a piece for the spine. It should be the same height as the covers, and be as wide as your paper stack is thick. Label your pieces accordingly.

4. Cut your decorative paper for your covers:

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Line all your cover pieces up on the back of some decorative paper and cut around them, leaving at least an inch and a half round all sides.


Apply Mod Podge to one side of the largest piece of book board. Glue it down to the backside of your decorative paper, then flip it over to the decorative side and smooth with your hand. If you have a bone folder, you can use it to smooth out any air bubbles.

Glue all the cover pieces down, leaving a tiny space inbetween each piece. Do your best to keep the pieces level, or else your covers won't line up neatly in the end. Then, cut the corners off your paper, making sure not to cut too close to the actual book board.

5. Cover the inside of the book as well:

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Using a different decorative paper, cut two rectangular pieces that are slightly smaller than the size of the cover. Glue them down to the inside, making sure they extend slightly past the largest cover pieces and onto the skinnier cover pieces.

Don't worry about the exposed middle; this part won't be visible when the book is completed.


6. (Optional) Cover the spine in durable book cloth:

If you like the way your cover looks at this point, feel free to skip this step.

Otherwise, measure a piece of dark book cloth the width of the three smaller pieces of book board. When turned over, the book cloth should stop just shy of the crease between the cover pieces.

Glue the book cloth to the outside of the spine, then apply glue to the pieces extending past the book and fold them over to the inside of the spine.

Let the book dry for a bit, then close the entire cover and press on the spine a bit to make sure everything bends. Mod Podge is pretty strong, so once it's dry, feel free to open and close the book a few times to loosen things up a bit.

7. Glue the pages into the book:

Apply a liberal amount of Mod Podge to one side of the inner spine, but not so much that it gooshes out the top and bottom.

Place the bound pages onto the section with glue, making sure the pages fit squarely on the back cover. Make sure the pages touch the back of the spine when the book is closed. Then, apply more Mod Podge to the rest of the inner spine.

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Close the entire book, pressing firmly around the spine so that the glue adheres well. Tie some twine around the spine to keep the book tight while it dries. You can also clip the spine if you have tight enough clips.

Let any books you've made dry overnight before handling them too much.