Saturday, February 18, 2012

DIY Pocket Journal

Whenever I think of DIY books, I think of really unimpressive folded paper packets stapled together, like handouts for school, or else something so complicated and specialized that I have about zero chance of ever actually making it.

But, then I discovered these DIY fake moleskines that are both pretty easy and pretty impressive. Yes, they require a slight amount of sewing, but it's of the easy hand-sewing variety.

Trust me. You can make these. And, you likely have everything you need already in your house.

I think these would make for an amazing homemade gift idea. That is, if you can bear to part with them.




DIY POCKET JOURNALS



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1. For supplies, you'll need a thin box (like a cereal box), blank paper, decorative paper, string, and glue.
2. For tools, you'll need a ruler, a craft knife, a big sewing needle, a butter knife, and a cutting board. A corner cutter (the blue thing in the photo) would be good, but isn't totally necessary.
3. Begin by cutting your box into a rectangle.

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4. Fold your cardboard in half, with the ugly side in, using the butter knife to really get that edge flattened. 
5. This folded cardboard will be the cover of your journal.
6. Unfold the cardboard and use it as a template to cut your plain paper. For my journals, I used a stack of 7 or 8 pieces of paper. Folded, this is 14-16 pages thick, with 28-32 pages to write on.

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7. See? A stack of paper the same size as your cardboard.
8. Fold the paper in half too.
9. Trim the edge so that all of your pages will line up flat.

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10. Now use your cardboard as a template to cut out a piece of pretty paper.
11. Glue the pretty paper onto the ugly side of your cardboard.
12. See? Now you have a cardboard cover that is plain on the outside and pretty inside. And, you have a stack of pages. 

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13. Use clips or some other vice-like thing to hold the pages inside the cover temporarily.
14. Using a needle, punch holes through the paper and cover all along the inside seam.
15. This is tedious and it's hard to get the needle through all that paper, but you can do it!

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16. Now, sew a nice little line of stitches through your pre-poked holes. Aren't you glad you made the holes first? So easy!
17. This is what it looked like from the outside.
18. Knot off your stitches however you want. We'll be covering the outside, so don't worry about making it pretty, just secure.

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19. This is what the inside looks like in the center!
20. This is the outside for now. Almost done!
21. If you have a corner cutter, now is a good time to use it!

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22. Cut a little rectangle of pretty paper as long as your book is high, and maybe an inch or two across.
23. Fold it and glue it onto the outside spine to cover your stitches.
24. Marvel at the amazing thing you have accomplished.
25. (optional) Draw or glue something pretty on the front to make it even more awesome.

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Now that I can make these, I can't quite stop daydreaming about the potential of it all! Perhaps I'll make stamps next, strictly to decorate my homemade books...

In other news, I have several new prints in the shop this weekend! Huzzah! If you feel so inclined, click here to visit them and perhaps find something lovely to take home for your walls!

10 comments:

  1. So awesome! I want to make one now.

    Also...please tell me that's a chinchilla on the cover.

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  2. Umm, it MIGHT be a chinchilla... These may or may not have been created presents for someone who may or may not have a fondness for chinchillas. <3 Dang. I KNEW I shouldn't have posted that photo til after your b-day!

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  3. What a great tutorial, and a great idea! I can see lots of these being made a gifts at Christmas!

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  4. Wow, what a great tutorial! I have been wanting to know how to make these, so I am very excited! Just saw your image over on CraftGawker and had to check it out. :) Thanks so much for sharing! :)

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  5. Thank you for such a clear tutorial!

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  6. Thank you kindly for this lovely tutorial.

    I had a question. Would think polyester thread work? I don't have any thick thread with me in the house. Thanks.

    I imagine it won't work as well but maybe if I double it up or something?

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  7. I think polyester thread would probably work just fine. Since the holes are already pierced, the sewing doesn't put much stress on the thread. But, if it were me, I'd maybe use 2-4 strands instead of just one -- I'm rough on my journals.

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  8. Thank you very much for your reply. I hope I can ask just one more question.

    I am a complete newbie to sewing and was wondering if you could tell me how you did those knots in step 18 compared to just a simple line of thread in step 17.

    I really appreciate your help.

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  9. It's my pleasure! In picture 17, I had had a tail of thread at the top, where I started, and a tail of thread at the bottom, where I ended. So, in picture 18, I took the tail at the bottom and I knotted it through each stitch up to the top, tied the two tails together, and then trimmed my thread. If that still sounds confusing, don't sweat it too much -- it was just my way of knotting up the ends. As long as you knot the first stitch and the last stitch, you should be in good shape!

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  10. This is incredible! I made my own and posted it on my blog this morning! I didn't give a tutorial for the book (yours was too perfect to even attempt to re-create) but I did add a ribbon tie to keep the book shut! Thanks for the amazing project!

    http://www.foreverandarecipe.com/2012/04/project-30-lists-diy-minibook.html

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