3 ways to make your own journal

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3 ways to make your own journal
3 ways to make your own journal

Keeping a journal is a great way to record your thoughts, relieve stress, and track events in your life over time. Making your own journal from scratch is a fun way to make it unique and personal. Or, you can turn a simple notebook that you already have into a personalized journal with some simple decorations. Learn a few different methods to create your own journal.


Method 1 of 3: Make a Journal from Scratch

Make Your Own Diary Step 1
Make Your Own Diary Step 1

Step 1. Gather paper for the pages

Select the type and size of paper you want to use for the pages you will write on in your journal. Use plain printer paper, colored paper, scrapbook paper, or any other style, lined or unlined, that you choose.

  • For a thinner journal or one with stitched binding, fold the larger pieces in half and stack them one inside the other, for a set of several folded pages. Keep in mind that this will work best with 10 or fewer folded pieces of paper (called folios), although you could join several of them together.
  • You may want to trim the outer edges of the paper when doing this method, as the inner sheets will stick out more than the outer ones.
  • For a thicker journal, or one with a glue binding, keep a stack of paper flat with the edges evenly aligned.

Step 2. Make a glue binding

Gather a stack of paper that you want to use for the journal pages and make sure the edges are evenly aligned. Secure them with binder clips and apply glue to the edge where you want the spine to be.

  • Place scraps of paper under the clips for the other marking papers.
  • Use a paint brush or foam brush to apply a light coat of PVA or Elmer’s Glue to the edge of the pile you want to bind, where the spine of the journal will be. Let dry and apply more coats if necessary.
  • Glue the bound edge of the paper to a cover made of heavy paper, cardstock, fabric, etc. Or, create a quick and easy spine by placing some colored masking tape, or similar thick tape, over the glued edge of the paper.

Step 3. Make a stitched binding

Fold 10 or fewer pieces of paper in half and place them inside each other. Open this stack, called a folio, on the inside fold to mark and punch holes for threading the pages.

  • Make three evenly spaced marks along the crease for the holes. Use a bookbinding punch to poke the holes, if you have one, or just use a needle thick enough to pierce through the pages you have.
  • Cut linen thread or waxed thread for a height of at least four times the length of the paper you are using. Using a needle, feed it through the middle hole to the inside of the fold, and then through the top hole. Then push it through the bottom hole into the fold, and out through the middle hole once more.
  • Using the excess string, tie a double knot over the string that goes through the two outer holes, and then cut off the excess.
  • If you want to thread multiple sheets, thread them individually and tie them with the excess thread in the center. Or secure them more firmly with a few extra "stitches" to hold them together in the top and bottom holes.

Step 4. Create a cover

Wrap a piece of heavy paper, cardstock, fabric, or leather around the paper to create a durable front and back cover to keep the pages secure. You can also glue together several pieces of paper to create a thicker cover.

  • Measure to cut the cover to the same size as the inside pages, or slightly larger (about 6mm or 1cm, or ¼ or ½ inch, for example) if you like.
  • If you use a single piece of material to wrap the front and back of the journal, remember to consider the width of both sides, as well as the width of the spine after gluing or threading. You can also add a couple of centimeters to the total, to take into account the length that is lost when folding the material over the spine.
  • If you bound the pages with thread, adding a cover is optional, or you can do it before threading. If you glue the pages together, you should glue the bound edge to the center of the cover, where the spine will be.
Make Your Own Diary Step 5
Make Your Own Diary Step 5

Step 5. Add a lock if you wish

Make a "secret diary" by adding a lock to the homemade notebook, to prevent other people without the key or combination from opening it. Do this by adding loops on the front and back cover that you can thread a small toy lock through.

  • Buy a small toy lock that has a key or requires a combination to open.
  • Make two small bows of rope, fabric, or even use metal jewelry clips, to glue on the outer edge that is inside to the front and back covers of the journal. Make sure that whatever loop you use allows the lock to go through both covers and close securely.
  • You can hide the place where you glue the ties to the covers by placing a piece of paper, cloth, or colored tape over the area.

Method 2 of 3: Decorate a Simple Notebook or Home Journal

Make Your Own Diary Step 6
Make Your Own Diary Step 6

Step 1. Draw free-form letters or designs

Decorate the journal with words or pictures in any way you want. Use pencils, pens, or markers to decorate both the cover and the inside pages with your own designs.

  • Try writing "My Diary", your name, or another appropriate title on the cover of the diary. You can also write: "This journal belongs to:" on the first page and put your name underneath.
  • Add page numbers, tables, or other squiggles to the corners and edges of the inner pages, leaving plenty of room in the middle of the pages for entries you'll write later.
  • Keep in mind that this is an easy step to turn a simple notebook that you already have into a special journal.

Step 2. Use stickers, paper, or templates

Draw shapes and letters with stencils, add colored paper or stick your favorite stickers to the journal to make it more unique. Decorate both the cover and the inside pages with the elements that you like.

  • Try writing a title on the cover of the journal, in sharp letters and using a template. You can even create your own custom template online for any word or font you want.
  • Easily create a cover you like by cutting a piece of colored or patterned fabric or paper slightly larger than the cover of the journal. Then fold the material over the edges of the cover and glue it in place with adhesive made for paper or fabric, depending on the material you use.
Make Your Own Diary Step 8
Make Your Own Diary Step 8

Step 3. Add photos and artwork

Attach a printed photo or your own piece of art to the cover of the journal for a personal touch. You can even add a sheet of adhesive paper over the page you decorated to protect the art.

  • Add a photo to the cover of the journal, illustrating the subject of the journal, if you have one. For example, you can attach a photo of your family or friends if you plan to write a lot about them, or a photo of a vacation spot for a journal about your summer vacation.
  • Create a collage of your own photos and artwork, or find images and art in magazines or other print sources that you or others don't mind cutting and pasting.

Method 3 of 3: Write in a Journal


Step 1. Write the date

Begin any journal entry by writing the date. This can help you keep track of how often you write in it, and it can be fun to look in a journal later to see what you wrote over a certain period of time.

  • Includes the week, month, day, and year. You can even write down the exact time of day, or where you are while writing, if you want to include more details.
  • You can also give the heading of each post a title or a unique doodle for the day or nature of the post.

Step 2. Choose a format and content

Decide how you would like to write each journal entry. You can make the format more formal or informal, depending on your preference.

  • You can choose to start each journal entry with the classic "Dear Journal …" as if you were addressing it to someone else in the form of a journal. Or you can establish your own topics to talk about each day, such as: "Today I saw …", "Today I felt …" or "Today I was grateful for …"
  • Add a visual element to the content of the posts if you want. Tape or glue photos, concert tickets, or anything else that may lie flat on the page and that relates to the day or events you are writing about.
  • You also don't need to have a special format to stick to for journal entries. Let what you feel or what comes to mind inspire the way you journal each day.
Make Your Own Diary Step 11
Make Your Own Diary Step 11

Step 3. Add entries regularly

Commit to filling the journal with regular entries so that it is consistent practice. This can be a good thing if you want to focus on using the journal as a tool to vent, de-stress, analyze, or practice your gratitude.

  • Post reminders for yourself, wherever you see or check them most often, whether it's a physical calendar, a virtual calendar, or phone or computer reminders, or a simple sticky note at home.
  • Set a daily goal for writing a post, even if it's just writing a sentence or two. Set aside a time, such as first thing in the morning or just before bed, when it is easier for you to sit down and write.

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