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Handmade Journals: Tips and Techniques

Handmade Journals: Getting Started

Making journals is fun and rewarding creative outlet.

Making journals is fun and rewarding creative outlet.

There is nothing more rewarding that creating a handmade journal from scratch. To start, creating journals in any size recycles and reuses paper and ephemera that you may have laying around in your craft space. It is the creative use of things that you might normally consider throwing away.

It creates a useful tool that you can use daily to record your thoughts and feelings through art and the written word. Journals are a creative outlet for all of your stress and tension.

It is also a creative outlet that can be a family project. Why not take some time away from the TV, phones and computers? You can throw in some paper, tools, and any other things that tickle your fancy. Spend some time with your family one evening making one-of-a-kind journals.

There are a few basic components that you need to know before you start making homemade journals:

  • Cover: The cover is that front and back of your homemade journal. The cover is generally made of thicker materials than the thinner paper inside. It can be made of cardboard watercolor paper, plastic sheets, cereal boxes, chipboard, old artwork, postcards, greeting cards, etc.
  • Spine: The spine or binding side of the book holds the pages together.
  • Signatures: Signatures are stacks of pages bound together in small sections. To make a thicker book, signatures are stacked together and then bound.

Types of Handmade Journals

Homemade journals can be themed into all kinds of projects

Homemade journals can be themed into all kinds of projects

There are lots of different ideas for your handmade journals. Here are a few to inspire your creative juices.

  • Unbound Journals: These are journals tied by string or ribbon and kept in a box for safekeeping.
  • Accordion Journals: Also called a Concertina journal. This is a no-sew journal where strips of paper are glued together and then folded like an accordion. The front and back pages are glued to the signature.
  • Altered Books: Though you are not making these from scratch, an altered book is a totally reimagined common book turned into a journal.
  • Bind-It-All Journals: This is a machine that binds the journal with spiral rings.
  • Booklets: These are simple bound journals. Sewn with a simple stitch, they are fun to make with left over paper. Mostly just a single signature.
  • Cereal Box Journals: These journals are made from cereal and other product boxes.
  • Custom Signature Books: This book uses a sewn binding technique
  • Lunch Bag Journals: Lunch bags and grocery bags are easy to use and mostly free.
  • Coffee Sleeve Journals: They make great mini books.
  • Index Card Journals: Simple journal made from index cards.
  • Junk Journals: Use bits of old art pieces, beautiful papers, and magazine photo collages.
  • Wood Journals: A custom journal with a wood cover.

More Journal Options

Journal Themes

Art Journals are just one type of homemade journal that you can create

Art Journals are just one type of homemade journal that you can create

Most journals have a theme-meaning that they are about a specific idea, hobby, or subject

  • Bullet Journals: These are custom made planners that you can make yourself rather than buying one.
  • Craft Journal or Book: Keep track of techniques, ideas, color combinations, patterns and more.
  • Everyday Journal: More like a diary, you can record everyday thoughts and ideas. You can include pictures, mementos and just about anything that you might want to include.
  • Garden Journal: These types of journals contain information, ideas and statistics on your landscape and gardens. You can cover specific gardens, outdoor potted plants or indoor plants. You can cover watering, specific plants, pictures, seeds, how they grew and more.
  • Goals Journal: A goals journal is a great way to keep track of the many goals you would like to accomplish. You can keep notes and write due dates next to each goal and try your best to complete as many as you can.
  • Gratitude Journals: Where you record all the things in your life that you are grateful for.
  • Health Journal: A health journal can be a great way to maintain an overview of your general health and wellbeing and spot any areas that need your attention. You could track your mood, the amount of sleep you get each night, how much exercise you have each week, things that trigger your allergies or medication that you’re take
  • Junk Journal: This is a journal where you literally use junk to create a journal. You can use scrap paper, junk mail, magazine images, images from cards and more to create a one-of-a-kind journal.
  • Pet Journal: These are journals about your pets and the people who love them. You can record all thongs about your beloved animals.
  • Planner: It could be a planner or a bullet journal. Or it could be one that you create yourself.
  • Prayer Journal: Use a prayer journal or bible planner as a place to track your favorite scriptures and sermon notes. Keep a log of your progress as you work your way through both the New Testament and Old Testament. Record all of your chapter study notes.
  • Recipe Journals: Keep all the records of your recipes as well as notes, references and pictures of your special dishes.
  • Travel Journal: It’s a creative and unique way to save your memories and your thoughts as you’re on the road and exploring the world.

Basic Steps to Make a Handmade Journal

Creating your own journals is a rewarding creative experience

Creating your own journals is a rewarding creative experience

We all see these amazing journals on the internet and wonder if it would be possible to make one ourselves. I am here to tell you that making a journal is easy and lots of fun. With a few easy steps, you can create a journal that not only will be a treasure to you, but also to the generations to come.

  1. Choose Your Cover and Paper: Select the paper that you will use for the inside of your journal as well as the materials you will use for your cover.
  2. Decide the Size of Your Journal: You can go small or large. It is totally up to you. Take into consideration any envelopes or other materials that you plan to add when you are sizing your journal. If you use 8.5×11″ paper for the inside pages, you will need to make your cook covers work within those dimensions. (To make your book pages, you will fold the 8.5×11″ paper in half and sew your pages on the inside of the fold.) You can decide to make your cover the same size as your journal or slightly larger.
  3. Cut Everything to Size: Use a guillotine or paper trimmer to cut all the elements of your journal to size. If you do not have a trimmer, you can use a metal ruler and a craft knife to trim your pages. You could cut the pages with scissors. But it is difficult to get exact straight lines.
  4. Assemble Your Journal: Get creative with the way that you set up your home-made journal. If you want to create sections of your book you may want to keep the same type of papers together. If you include envelopes, make sure to rotate them so that the bottom of the envelope is along the binding edge, and you can open and close the envelope.
  5. Add Covers: Place your selected materials on the back and front of your pages.
  6. Punch Holes: If you will be using a binding method involving holes through the pages, now is the time to punch holes using a hole punch. Always test the hole locations on a piece of scrap paper before making holes in all your sheets. You can also use a bookbinding awl to create the holes in your book for binding. Create a template on scrap paper or light cardboard. Then use the awl and the template to make the holes for binding. If you are using a binding method that does not involved punched holes, you can skip this step.
  7. Bind It: Select and implement your favorite binding method.

More DIY Journal Ideas

Leather Covers

Create your own leather bound notebook with just a few steps

Create your own leather bound notebook with just a few steps

Leather has been a popular journal cover since people have been creating them over the decades. Leather is durable and is not difficult to work with at all.


  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Leather
  • Leather cord
  • Waxed thread
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Awl
  • Large sharp needle
  1. Gather the paper for your leather notebook. Use any paper that you have. Leftovers and scraps are perfect for this project.
  2. Create a template. You can make a template for your pages in any size you choose. Just measure the cardboard with a ruler and a pencil. Them cut out the template with your scissors. Make sure to keep your lines straight.
  3. Using the template, cut the paper pieces to fit. Mark them with the template and the pencil, then cut. You could also use a paper trimmer to speed up the process. Knowing your measurements, use the ruler on the paper trimmer to cut your paper pieces.
  4. Fold the pages. Fold the pages in half, then insert one into another. Make few small booklets. Four should be just about right of about 15 sheets.
  5. Make holes in the pages. Mark one of the booklets where you want the holes for the wax threads to be. Measure the holes with the ruler. Mark the other booklets with the exact same place for the holes.
  6. Fold each booklet inside out and using an awl to poke holes where you marked it.
  7. Make a folder. This will keep your journal nice and sturdy. Cut a rectangle, big enough to hold all the booklets, from a piece of thin cardboard, or thicker paper. Heavy cardstock at about 110 Lb should work or any leftover cardstock you may have Measure the total width of all of your booklets together. Then measure the width of your front and back cover to get the total length of your rectangle. Now mark the holes of each of the booklets in the center of the rectangle with your pencil. Poke holes in it with the awl. Fold it as a book cover.
  8. Cut the leather. Cut the leather into a long rectangle, with one side flat and the other rounded, long enough to be wrapped all the way around the booklets, and slightly wider.
  9. Poke holes in the leather. Place the folder you made on the leather, almost but not quite aligned, on the flat edge of the leather. Poke holes in the leather with the awl, corresponding to the holes in the folder.
  10. Sew your project. Make a knot at the end of the waxed thread. Start sewing, first in the leather, then the cardboard folder, then the first booklet Go in and out of the holes. Then move into the second row of holes and sew the second booklet. Keep going until all of the booklets are sewn in. Tie a knot on the outside of the journal.
  11. Attach the string. Make some holes with the awl in the middle of the round edge of the leather folder, and into one edge of the leather string*, and sew them together with the waxed thread. You can make your string from a piece of scrap leather cut in the length you need.
  12. Wrap the string around your journal and secure it underneath the wrap.

Stenciling the Leather Cover

You can of course leave the leather cover as is. Or if you want to add some design to it, you could stencil the cover. This is an easy way to add a custom design. If you are adding inside pockets to your cover, do the stencil before adding the pockets. Otherwise, the stencil design will not be flat. It will have bump in it.


  • Leather
  • Stencil of your choice
  • Masking tape or any other low tack tape
  • Stencil brush or any other dry brush
  1. Wrap the Cover piece around your journal.
  2. Place the stencil how you like and then stick it down
  3. If you don’t have an adhesive stencil, you can also just tape the stencil down with masking tape.
  4. Once you’ve got the stencil stuck down in place, remove the journal and lay the Main piece flat.
  5. Stencil your design using leather paint. For best results use a dry brush and take care to paint straight down or away from the sides of the stencil.
  6. Set aside to dry.

More Leather Journal Cover Ideas

Using Fabric for Your Journal Cover

Covering your journal with fabric customizes your project

Covering your journal with fabric customizes your project

Many folks like to use fabric for their homemade journal cover. Again, you can use foam core or cardboard.

  1. The first step is to measure the foam core or cardboard to decide how much fabric you will need. Once you have measured and cut the foam core/cardboard, lay the pieces on the fabric allowing space for the spine. If you are planning a thick book, remember to allow for the thicker spine.
  2. Cut the fabric to the size of your covers.
  3. Glue your fabric to your foam core cover pieces. To do this, glue only the corners and a bit along the edges on the INSIDE of the cover to stabilize the fabric and journal cover. Do NOT spread glue on the front of the foam core piece, under the fabric. Doing so will make your front cover fabric lumpy and, if the fabric is thin, it will show the glue through the fabric.
  4. Gluing the corners and then later gluing the end pages to the inside of the cover pieces will hold the fabric in place. Use a piece of tape to hold the fabric to the cover as you continue gluing. Fold fold the corner of the fabric in Fold one side in, adhering with the glue gun. And then fold in the other side and glue to secure.

Covering a Completed Journal With Fabric

It is important to remember that you will need two inches of fabric extra on each side of the measurement of your journal when you select your piece of fabric.

  1. Open your journal and set it on top of your piece of fabric. Just open the first page. Set it in the middle of your piece of fabric and grab your ruler, measuring 2" (5cm) more on each side. Make a line all around your journal, forming a large rectangle that's 2" wider than your notebook. Then, cut along this line.
  2. With your notebook still centered on the piece of fabric and 2" sticking out on either side, apply glue to the top and bottom flaps (the exposed 2 inches). Fold the top in first, and then fold in the bottom. Use plenty of glue; you don't want it coming up later. Use a foam paintbrush to spread the glue evenly over the fabric. That way it won't clump and be visible from the outside.
  3. With more glue placed on the left and right edges, fold up the flaps and attach them to the inside of the notebook cover. Do this for both the front and back covers. Crease triangles in the corners to make nice clean edges.
  4. Cut two slits in the fabric where the spine is and get rid of this small square of fabric.
  5. Cover the inside of the cover. Cut out two pieces of lightweight cardboard or heavy cardstock that's about 1" (2.5cm) smaller than the front and back cover. Cut out two pieces of fabric (a different fabric) that's 1-2" (2.5-5cm) larger than the cardboard you just cut out.
  6. Center the cardboard on the fabric and follow much the same method you did with your journal. Apply glue to the edges and fold in. In this case, it doesn't matter if you turn the corners into triangles or not – they won't be seen anyway. You'll only see the side of cardboard that's completely covered. Do this for both pieces of cardboard, one for the front and one for the back.
  7. The side covered in fabric will go face up on your inside cover; the side that has the edges of the fabric will be glued down on to your journal, covering the original edges of fabric you first glued. Then, place the covered cardboard into the inside of both the front and back covers. Make sure they're centered and covering the raw edges of the fabric evenly. Now it has a much more finished look to it than before.
  8. Decorate as desired.

More Fabric Cover Ideas

Cardboard Journal Covers

A truly custom journal cover made of cardboard and paper scraps. Great recycle project. I would add a nameplate to this cover.

A truly custom journal cover made of cardboard and paper scraps. Great recycle project. I would add a nameplate to this cover.

Cardboard and Duct Tape Journal Covers

Cardboard covers for your homemade journals are one of the best ways to recycle cardboard from packaging into amazing covers. Using duct tape on the spine is a smart choice.


  • cardboard 2 pieces 6.5 X 9.5
  • several sheets of paper for the pages, I used white 9X12
  • Duct tape
  • Printed or plain cardstock for book cover and inside cover lining
  • Craft knife or scissor
  • Awl
  • Hammer
  • Thin ribbon or binding thread
  • Large eye needle
  • Glue stick or PVA glue
  • Large clips
  • Newspaper, parchment paper or craft mat
  • Block of wood
  1. Cut the cardboard to the size needed. You can use a craft knife or scissors. A strong guillotine paper trimmer would work too. You want to make sure that your measurements are exact and even for both the front and the back cover.
  2. Chose the paper to cover your journal. Measure and cut it 2 inches larger than the cardboard all the way around. Cut the paper with a paper trimmer to makes sure that all the edges are even.
  3. Flip the paper over place cardboard in center and fold up each paper corner to meet the corner of the cardboard.
  4. Lift cardboard and fold the corners under. Use a bone folder to make crisp lines. replace cardboard, then fold up each of the sides along the edges.
  5. Glue the sides. While lots of people like to use glue sticks for this project, I recommend using PVA glue spread with a foam brush. You could also use double sided tape. Put something heavy over the cover and let it dry.
  6. Select and measure the paper for the inside of your cover. This paper needs to be slightly smaller than the cover itself.
  7. Glue the paper to the inside of the cover. Use a brayer or a bone folder to smooth the inside cover to the cardboard. Set aside to dry.
  8. Place the covers (good side up) about 1/2 inch of space between (if adding more pages make the separation between the cover a bit bigger.)
  9. Pull a length of duct tape to wrap around the binding of the covers, cut to size using scissor or a craft knife. You can add another layer of duct tape to make your spine stronger.
  10. Press tape in place closing the "gap" on the inside of the cover binding.
  11. Open the book flat, with cover up, place on wood block. Using the awl and hammer, make holes through the duct tape and pages, making the awl enter the wood block, slightly. Using a wood block under the book will protect your workspace. The holes in your spine should match the holes in your pages. The number of holes you create depend on the type of binding you select.
  12. Sew the binding a tie knots to keep the binding in place.

Homemade Cover Tips

  • Duct tape comes in different colors and patterns. You could use solid color paper and a patterned duct tape or visa versa.
  • Decide the binding you plan to use before you start this project. That way you will know the number of holes that you need.
  • This is the type of cover that you should use a simple binding method. Use minimal number of holes to keep your covers strong.

More Cardboard Journal Cover Ideas

Decoupage Homemade Journal Covers

Create a beautiful decoupaged journal cover-so easy and beautiful

Create a beautiful decoupaged journal cover-so easy and beautiful

Another way to create a custom cover for your homemade journal is to decoupage your cover. Decoupage is an easy way to create a decorative cover for any journal that you have. You can use this idea not only on your homemade journals, but also on scrapbooks, bought journals, binders and a lot more.


  • Journal
  • Paint
  • Foam Brushes
  • Mod Podge or another decoupage medium
  • Stamps
  • Waterproof ink
  • Napkins
  • Images from magazines, printables, or other images
  • Craft mat, waxed paper or parchment paper
  1. Make sure That the cover of the journal you will decoupage is clean and has no dust
  2. Cover your work surface with a craft mat, parchment paper or waxed paper.
  3. You can paint over the cover if desired. Use a foam brush to keep from having any lines (unless you like that effect). Allow the paint to dry completely. Make sure to place some parchment paper or waxed paper inside the first page of the journal and covering the rest of the pages.
  4. Decide what images you want to use. You can use stamped images, napkins, magazine images or printables. Trim the image to the size that you want. If you are using napkins, separate the ply's of the napkins.
  5. Spread the decoupage medium over the entire cover of the journal. Place the images that you want to use on the cover. Allow the cover to dry before you take the next step. Reverse the cover and add any images to the back cover if desired the same way.
  6. Glue on any embellishments to the cover as desired.
  7. You then need to add two more coats of decoupage medium. It is very important to allow several hours between coats to allow the medium to dry.
  8. It is wise to let the decoupaged cover time to cure before it is handled. Cure time depends on the medium that you use. Follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Free Images to Make Decoupage Covers

Easiest Binding Methods for Handmade Journals

Rubber bands are the easiest method for binding journals

Rubber bands are the easiest method for binding journals

These are the most uncomplicated ways to bind your home-made journals. You only need a few materials that you may have on hand already to get your homemade journal completed.

  • Staples and Duct Tape: Staples are a good option for a booklet or any journal that is not too thick. Staple the pages together along the binding edge about a half inch from the edge. cut a piece of duct tape about an inch longer than your book. Place half the tape on the front of the book, covering the staples, wrap the tape over the edge of the book and around to the back. Burnish it with your fingertips. Now trim off the excess tape with scissors.
  • Hole Punch and Brads: Use a 3-hole punch to make holes along the edge of your book. Using a 3 hole punch allows you to align the holes as you punch through multiple pages and sets of paper. You may need to adjust the hole spacing to your book so always punch a few test sheets first! Add brads through each hole and bend them back.
  • Binder Clips: It does not get any easier than this. Make sure to score the front cover so it can easily open. And depending on how long the binder clips are you may have to bend them back when you want to open.
  • Book (Binder) Rings: You can find these both online as well as in most office supply stores. All you need to do is punch a hole in one corner and place a book ring through the hole in different sizes, so you have options on how thick you want your journal to be. The binding is loose and removable should you need to take sheets out or reorganize. You can add as many rings as you would like.
  • Unbound: You gather your pages together. You can tie it with a ribbon or string, house it in a box, a shell, or any container.
  • Eyelets: Another creative way to bind a journal is by using eyelets to clasp your pages together! These journals look beautiful when finished and you are sure to get positive comments from your classmates.
  • Rubber Bands: These are not your common rubber bands. They are much larger and heavier. They can be wrapped around signatures and then around a spine. They can be used to wrap around the covers of a journal to keep it closed.

More Easy Binding Ideas

Types Of Bindings

There are many options to binding your journals

There are many options to binding your journals

  • Caterpillar Stitch: Decorative stitching that looks just like a catepillar. Directions here.
  • Copic Stitch Binding: Sections or signatures attached to each other with a series of linked chain stitches across the spine.
  • Faux Leather Wrapping: Bound by faux leather strips
  • French Link Stitch Binding: The French Link Stitch is another exposed spine binding. This book is created without a cover but once all of the signatures are combined a cover can be added.
  • French Link Stitch Binding With Tape Cover: Same as above with a hardcover joined with tapes that are sewn in as part of the binding.
  • Leather Wrapping
  • Long Stitch Binding: Binding stitch is easy to master and has the advantage of allowing your book to lie flat when it is open.
  • Piano Hinge Binding: Construct the binding of this book using simple kitchen skewers.
  • Ribbon Binding: There are more than one way to use this binding. Start here.
  • Screw Post Binding: This binding uses posts and screws to hold the paper together. The pages have holes or are in page protectors.
  • Secret Belgian Binding: The book cover is woven together first and then the signatures are attached one at a time. An added bonus is that this book will lie flat when open.
  • Square Flexagon: A unique binding option. Learn more here.
  • Stab Binding: This form of binding does not use signatures or folios, just a simple stack of pages.
  • Traditional Case Binding: This is the most common type of bookbinding. The pages consist of folded pieces of paper, sewn together into signatures. Groups of signatures are glued together to create a text block. This text block is then attached to, or encased in, a cardboard covering.

Binding Options

Binding your journals is easier than you may think

Binding your journals is easier than you may think

Hand Sewn Binding Ideas

Hand stitching a journal is easy and very creative

Hand stitching a journal is easy and very creative

Before you begin the binding process, you want to make sure that you have all the signatures you plan to include ready to go. You also want to have your cover easy to be added to your project.

The Long Stitch

This is a clean and simple stitch that will allow your journal to lay flat. That makes your journal easier to work with and complete. A general rule of thumb when cutting a length of thread is to start with a piece that is six times the length of the spine.

  1. Carefully measure three holes in the signatures from head to tail, as well as measuring matching holes in the cover, times as many signatures as you are using. If you have six signatures then you will need a row of six holes across the spine, and three holes from head to tail.
  2. Start with one signature (which will actually be the last signature in the book) and sew through the middle hole inside the signature and out through the corresponding hole in the cover, leaving a tail several inches long trailing behind inside the signature. You will eventually tie a knot with this thread tail.
  3. Sew back up through one of the outer holes (head or tail, it doesn’t matter) then sew back out through the original center hole where you started in both the signature and then the cover.
  4. You will now be on the outside of the cover. Sew through whichever cover hole at the head or tail that you didn’t use in the previous step and through the corresponding hole in the signature. You should now be back inside the signature.
  5. Pull each stitch tight, but don’t get crazy and pull everything too tight – you risk skewing the spine of the book or tearing the signatures. Make it taut, but not overly tight.
  6. For the last stitch with this first signature, you will go back out through the center hole in the signature, but not through the cover.
  7. At this point you should tie a simple knot with the loose tail. You can trim this thread now or later.

Copic Binding

For this binding again, you will want to have all your signatures and your covers completed. The Coptic Stitch is a decorative stitch, so it’s something that you would do only for a book with an open spine. For this type of binding, you will want to use heavier paper rather than just copy paper. Otherwise, some of your paper may rip in the process.

For the Coptic stitch, using a curved needle will make your life much easier. Prewaxed thread, like binding thread, will make it easier to sew the stitches.

You will also want to use a heavier thread so that the binding holds up to use. Usually, journals that use this type of binding are thicker, so a heavier thread makes more sense.

More Hand Sewn Journal Binding Ideas

Using a Sewing Machine to Create a Journal

One of the easiest binding methods is to use a sewing machine. Here is how simple it actually is:

  • Fold your cardstock in half.
  • Line up the paper sheets with the cardstock.
  • Sew all the way down the fold in the middle.

Another Option for Sewn Journals

If you want more pages in your handmade sewn journal, you can create individual booklets (called signatures and bind them together.

Stack your booklets on top of each other and smash them flat, then measure the thickness. This will be the thickness of your book spine.

The width of the spine will be the measurement from the last step, and the length is the length of your paper from top to bottom, plus an 1/8 inch. The covers (you need two-only one is pictured below) should be the width and length of the book, plus an 1/8 inch added each way. The extra 1/8 inch is to give a little overhang of the cover.

Tips for Sewing on Paper

  • Adjust the stitch length to about 3mm-4mm (3-4 on your sewing machine) to avoid the possibility of the paper tearing. Rows of short stitches can easily turn into perforation lines which will weaken the paper and make it more prone to tearing and ripping.
  • Sewing straight lines on paper can sometimes be a challenge because paper is less forgiving than fabric. If you have to sew a straight line, use some sort of sewing guide. You could use the sewing guide that comes with your sewing machine, or even a piece of masking tape, taped alongside the needle plate.
  • Sew slowly. Sewing on paper slowly will help to prevent your machine foot from slipping as paper has a more slippery surface than fabric.
  • When sewing on paper, the needle tends to push the paper through to the underside which leaves it looking a bit messy and rough. You can make the rough-edged holes a bit flatter by running a bone folder over them to flatten them out a bit. This also helps to lock the stitches in place if your stitch tension is a bit loose.
  • When locking the stitches at the end of a row, you can simply pull the thread through to the upper side, tie in a knot and cut away the excess thread leaving a thread tail. It like that it adds a bit of visual texture.
  • For times when you don’t want a thread tail showing, simply pull the thread through to the underside and secure with a glue stick.

Additional Tip:

Make sure to set one needle aside to use strictly on paper. Once you use it on paper it is really not fit for fabric. You can mark it with some nail polish so that you remember which is which.

More Sewing Machine Binding Ideas

Envelope Journals

Envelope journals use recycled bill envelopes to create interesting journals

Envelope journals use recycled bill envelopes to create interesting journals

Envelope journals are one of the easiest journals to create. With just a handful of envelopes and a few tools, you can create a lovely journal. You can use recycled envelopes from your mail or fresh envelopes in any size that you wish

The first thing you do is take one flap of the envelope add some adhesive and slide it into another. Do that as many times as you like so you get a good amount for your journal.


  • Envelopes in the same size
  • Decorative paper
  • Binding thread or heavy sewing thread
  • Needle
  • Awl or pin
  • Pencil
  • Bone Folder
  • Metal ruler
  • Cutting mat
  • Binder clips
  • Ribbon
  • Glue
  1. Organize your envelopes. Arrange your envelopes so that the openings will be the outside edge of your inner pages. Alternate your envelopes so that you have facing opening pages (i.e. the backs of the envelopes) and facing closed pages (i.e. the fronts of the envelopes. Or you can have them all facing the same way. It is up to you.
  2. Once you have them lined up and facing the way that you want them to, secure them together with medium binder clips. Place the clips nearer to the closed edge of the envelopes because this is where you need the envelopes to be stable when you begin binding.
  3. Mark Your Drill Holes. Align your ruler about a quarter inch from the closed edge of the envelopes. With your pencil, make a small mark every quarter inch down the edge. These marks will be where you will drill out the holes to bind your envelopes together. You can use a straight pin, bookbinding awl, a nail and hammer, or a mini drill tool. Make sure that your drilling goes all the way through to the last envelope.
  4. Thread Your Needle. Cut a length of thread that is long enough to be doubled over to a length that you are comfortable sewing with. Remember that if it is too short, you will have to cut more thread and repeat this process to continue binding your envelopes. Make a knot at the end of the thread.
  5. Start Binding Your envelopes. Begin by inserting the needle into the first hole Pull the thread through until the knot is about one inch away from the hole. Loop the needle back around and insert it through the doubled thread in front of the knot. Pull taught and re-insert the needle back through the same hole in the envelopes. Pull the thread through and loop back again, this time allowing the thread to loop the top edge of the envelopes. Once again, re-insert the needle back through the same hole. Pull through and then move to the second hole and repeat the sewing process remember to reinforce the stitches on the end and then begin sewing back up to the first corner.

More Envelope Journal Projects

More Uses for Envelopes in Homemade Journals

Beyond using envelopes to make journals, they can be used as pockets within your journals. You can create a pocket anywhere in any journal.

  • Add an envelope to the inside cover of a journal to hold notes, receipts, and lists. Have an envelope at each month of your bullet journal to store receipts for that month
  • Use envelopes to store extra pictures in a mini scrapbook journal.
  • Create different pockets with envelopes. You can cut them on the diagonal to make an instant corner pocket.

More Envelope Ideas

Easy Way to Make Custom Envelopes

If you want to create your own envelopes for your homemade journals, here is the easiest way to create your own with any cardstock or patterned paper you would like to use. You start by using old envelopes or any envelopes that you may have as templates. Collect different sizes in your stash and start creating.


  • Light cardboard
  • Cardstock or patterned paper
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Glue stick or any other glue you would like to use
  • Binder clips or paper clips
  • Bone folder
  • Straight edged ruler
  1. Take the envelopes that you are using as templates and carefully open them up, being careful not to tear the pa