What is journaling and how do you make your own journal?

what is journaling

Journals and creative planners have been gaining momentum in the crafting community recently and we’re sure you’ve noticed too. You can find lots of beautiful and inspiring layouts—sometimes hand-drawn, painted, and other times embellished with die cuts and stickers— on social media.  You may also see mixed media layouts as well. There are several types of journaling and planning. And while this hobby has evolved over the past couple of years, we truly believe there’s something for everyone if you’re interested in starting.

Journaling (and planning) is very expressive and artistic, and at times, even a little confusing! Some of these types of journaling and planning can be merged into one and also overlap one another. But don’t worry! You can literally start this hobby today and you can make your own journal, we show you how to do this using a journal die below. All you really need is a journal or diary/planner on hand and maybe a few extras to decorate your layouts. We’ll add a list of suggested supplies below to get you going, but before that, we thought we’d share just a handful of journaling types and have a quick peek into planning. This list is not exhaustive and also this type of craft is ever changing and evolving! We’re only touching the surface, however we hope there’s something that catches your crafty eye.

Junk Journals

Junk journals are handmade books or journals that are made up primarily of crafty “junk”. Scraps of paper, bits, or embellishments from past projects are all used and incorporated into a junk journal. We’ve even seen junk journals made from junk mail! Really anything goes! However you can also create junk journals from pre-bought journals. But instead the layouts within would be created from your “junk”.

Creative Journals

Creative journaling encompasses a broad scope. In a nutshell, it’s a notebook that allows you creative expression in whatever direction you choose! Memory keeping journals, mixed media, and art journals can fall into the category of creative journaling. These types can be done in any notebook. If you were going down the memory-documenting road, you could use smaller photographs like Instax and stickers to keep record of your travels or every day life. Or you could do a bit of artistic collaging if you wanted to explore art journaling. There are also several journaling prompts and challenges you can find online if you need a little more inspiration and direction.

Travellers Notebooks

Traveler Notebooks are several journals or inserts held in one journal cover, usually looped together with elastics. This makes it easy to remove the notebooks or inserts within and to rearrange them according to your needs. The Eileen Hull for Sizzix journal is a great example of this type of notebook. There are several sizes of travellers notebooks on the market and each can hold anywhere from 4-10 inserts. The inserts (or notebooks) can be anything you want. One can be your sketch book, another can be your diary, one can be more a bullet journal, while the other can be an art journal. The beauty of travellers notebooks is that all these journals or inserts can be kept in one place. They can also be highly decorative.

Bullet Journals

The bullet journal system was created by Colin Wright and is a creative logging, goal setting, and easy “notebooking” system. However it’s also very customisable since a bullet journal could also double as a journal, sketchbook, or even a diary! Bullet journaling can be done in any notebook. Some prefer plain patterned paper while others enjoy lined or grid paper. Really it’s whatever works for you. Bullet journaling can also be highly artistic with elaborate hand drawn layouts that double as logs and list-keeping too. Mostly people use pens to draw their layouts, logs, and lists, but a bit of stamping and watercolouring can also be used.

Planners

The planner world is as broad and deep as the journaling world! There are several types of planners. A few are spiral bound, disc bound, and ring planners (like this Heidi Swapp Memory Planner) however you can also have a planner insert(s) in a travellers notebook. There are various sizes of planners, layouts, timelines, and organisational systems within planning. Planning can help you keep track of your appointments and task lists, but at the same time you can decorate your layouts with stickers and washi tape to keep you motivated.

You can also do a bit of memory keeping in your planner. Let say you celebrated a birthday last week. You can go back to that date and include photographs of your day, die cuts, and embellishments to decorate your layout and make it extra special. Or you can also decorate your birthday week’s layout beforehand  with birthday themed stamps or stickers. A planner can be a keepsake at the end of the year! You can decorate it to reflect your personal crafty style.

Planning and journaling are the same in that they’re smaller scale crafts that can be worked on daily as part of your routine. It’s easy to set aside a bit of time each day to work on a layout. Journals and planners also allow you to express yourself creatively. At the end of the day (figuratively and literally speaking) you have full artistic freedom to do anything with a notebook and or planner! The sky’s the limit!

Follow our Journaling Board on Pinterest

Make your own journal using a journal die!

diy journal 2

Try out your crafting skills and create a personalised journal for yourself or a love one. You can buy a journal die to use with a die-cutting machine which neatly cuts the covers of your journal and the holes you’ll need to thread the elastic cord or twine which keeps all the pages inside.

wrapped journal die

In this step-by-step, we use an Eileen Hull Journal Die to create the front and back cover of the journal.  Eileen is a fantastic designer working with Sizzix and we’re really excited to be stocking a wrapped journal die she has designed exclusively for Sizzix.

For this journal the internal pages are created from watercolour paper so that the journal can be used with most mediums and is perfect for journaling whilst travelling or away from home

simply cards & papercraft journal1

1. Cut mountboard using a Journal die to create one front cover and one back cover. Align the holes and adhere using a wet glue and allow to dry. Using a wet glue will ensure the front and back covers are very secure!

2. The next step is to decorate your covers, you can make them as simple or ornate as you like.  For this Journal we used a die and grunge paste to create this textured finish – let your imagination go wild and take a look through your stash to see what you could use to personalise the cover.  If it’s a gift for a friend perhaps you could add their initials?

3. Create the internal pages to fit within the covers when folded in half. Decorate a few pages with stencilled images or add a few embellishments to add interest to the journal.  Try adding lots of pockets, receipts, vintage papers, or even create a diary with the Journal. The possibilities are endless

4. Cut a long length of elastic and thread the elastic through the holes created when you die-cut the cover panels.

5. The journal die we used can be created in two widths by adjusting where you adhere the covers – we show the large example here. Ensure the elastic is not too loose during the threading process.

6. As you thread the elastic through the holes, remember to pull on the elastic slightly so that it is taut and not too loose and that it holds the pages securely.

7. Thread the elastic back through the holes back through to the inside of the covers.

8. Tie the elastic securely on the inside of the Journal. To add a wrap around, simply fold a length of elastic in half, thread the two ends through the centre hole of the Journal and then tie a knot on the inside.

9. The piece of elastic added in Step 8 will hold the Journal together when wrapped around the covers and keep everything in place when not in use.

For binding hints and tips search for YouTube tutorials, or check out Eileen Hull’s alternative method on her Facebook page (www.facebook.com/eileenhulldesigns/) or the Eileen Hull Fan Page on Facebook