DIY Journal Present

PicMonkey Collage-3Here is another affordable, yet custom-made, present you could make for girls (or boys) of any age.  It only cost me $1 out of pocket as I  already had glue, scrapbooking paper, ribbon, and all the other paraphernalia.  I use the notebooks that are roughly 10″ x 8″, and I was able to  find them at the Dollar stores.  If you think way ahead, you can get them at going-back-to-school sales for awesome prices!  I have made these journals for each of my children for Christmas and for Kaylin and Karis to give as presents at birthday parties. They do take a little bit of time to do–depending on how much decoration you desire, but the notebook along with a cute pen make such a nice present, that the work is worth it!  I originally saw this on The 36th Avenue blog, but I’ve made some variations to the idea.  She made 13 tabs and gave it to her children at the beginning of a year.  We give them out mainly at birthdays, so I just make 6 tabs and leave the tabs blank so thebirthday child can decide what they want to write in their journal.  I also decorated mine more and put duck tape to cover the black binding–an idea I got from seeing Martha Stuart do this more for adults and using book binding tape.  You could use not as much decoration and even make these journals for teenagers and adults!

So,  I’m sure you can figure out how I made these by journals just by looking at the pictures, but I’ll take you step by step through how I did it along with a lot of pictures!  🙂

  1.  I gather all my supplies.  I do have the oldest Cricut made (I think) that I got from a garage sale for $15, and two cartridges that I bought at a different garage sale.  If you do not have a Cricut, don’t despair!  If you wanted to personalize your notebook, there are precut letters that could be bought.  Using ribbon and other accessories would also make your notebook look beautiful.  So I gather my spray adhesive (which is not necessary, but I like it better than glue sticks for putting the paper on the actual cover), my ribbon, my cricut, my paper, glue sticks, X-acto knife, Tacky glue, duct tape, paper cutter, and  glass beads.  (I probably forgot something!)

    Most of the supplies I use

    Most of the supplies I use

  2. If it is a birthday present for a friend, the girls help me choose the paper.
  3. I put some newspaper on the floor, spray with permanent adhesive spray the back of the paper that will cover the notebook cover, and then put it on the cover.
  4. I then flip the notebook upside down on top of a piece of cardboard (so the scrapbook paper is on the bottom), take an X-acto knife, and cut off the excess paper.  I used to measure the cover and try to cut the paper the right measurement, but I never got it exactly the right size, so I find this easier to do.
  5. After I get the main paper done for the front and the back, I cover the binding with a matching color of duct tape.  This is not necessary, but I like how it looks.
  6. I cut the paper for the tabs.  When I do 6 tabs, I cut them 1 1/2″ thick, 12″ long.  I divide the notebook into 6 parts (I just eyeball it), and put the papers as bookmarks where I will want to glue them.  Then,  I fold the first paper in half, and glue the front half to the front side of one paper, and the other half to the back side.  I start all the way at the top of the paper.   I make sure that there is about 1/2″ left outside of the notebook for the tab.  Then, for the second tab, I make sure it is under the first tab and that it sticks out the same distance.

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  7. Then I start embellishing the cover.  I like to put a ribbon on first so that it will be under the name, and I will cut out flowers and hearts. I will put glass beads on the front of the girls’s notebooks with the regular tacky glue–not the spray kind.   There are so many different ways to decorate the notebooks–let your imagination go wild!
  8. I will then make a bookmark for their notebook.  Many times, I will put their name on the bookmark as well.  Lastly, I slide a pen onto the cover of the book.

    The completed journal with a picture of the front and back of the bookmark.

    The completed journal with a picture of the front and back of the bookmark.

Here are some more pictures of a few of the journals I have done.

The 4 oldest with their journals they got for Christmas

The 4 oldest with their journals they got for Christmas

Kaylin and Karis already writing in their journals.

Kaylin and Karis already writing in their journals.

Front of another journal

Front of another journal

This is the back.

This is the back.

Joshua and his notebook with pen.

Joshua and his notebook with pen.

Journal I made for my niece--here you can see where I slid the pen on.

Journal I made for my niece–here you can see where I slid the pen on.

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