« Making Something... for ME! | Main | Exchanging Treasures »

Triple Leaf JournalSingle Leaf Journal Want to give someone (or yourself!) a nice journal this Christmas? Covering or "altering" composition notebooks is an easy way to make an attractive journal.

Covering a Composition Book - The Basics

  • Buy a composition book. Office supply stores often have a good selection and good price.
  • Want your journal to have a built-in bookmark? Adhere some fibers to the spine now -- before you add the papers.
  • Pick out some decorative papers. Lay your journal out, open, on the sheet of paper to determine how large to cut your primary piece. Leave a margin of at least an inch on each side so the paper can wrap around the inside edges of the journal covers.
  • Close the journal, then use adhesive (double-sided tape or just plain old glue both work fine) to attach the paper. If you've got a bone folder, use it to smooth out the paper and get good clean folds at the edges.
  • Cut 2 sheets of card stock that are slightly smaller than the journal. Adhere these to the inside front and back covers to hide the wrapped-around edges.
  • Add some coordinating papers and any other embellishments to make your journal unique. Keep in mind that bulky embellishments on the cover may prevent the book from laying flat.

That's it for the basics -- a pretty simple process. Here are some specifics about the journals I made:

Notes for Leaf Journals

  • Leaf MoldFor the single leaf journal, I made the embellishment on front from a reverse polymer clay mold. Basically, I pressed the leaf into a sheet of junk polymer clay, textured the surrounding clay with some sea salt, and then baked it. Then I pressed another polymer clay sheet into this mold to get the raised leaf, which I colored with chalks and Pearl Ex powders. I chalked the white background paper with orange and brown chalks, then inked the edges. The brown fiber is tied around the front cover, with the knot glued on the inside. This same fiber is used as a bookmark.
  • For the triple leaf journal, I used a paper sack as the base paper. I used hemp fibers to create borders between contrasting paper sections -- and also hot glued a hemp cord to the spine for the built-in bookmark. I used a leaf cookie cutter to punch the leaves out of polymer clay, then added veins with a needle tool. After baking, I used alcohol inks to color the leaves, then I hot glued them to the cover.

Give A Little Something Extra

Want an extra-special gift? Add a matching polymer clay pen. You may even want to consider a design like this one where the pen is attached to the journal.

Pockets make a nice addition, too -- especially if you slide something nice (movie tickets, a gift card, etc.) into one of the pockets before you give the gift. To add pockets to the cover, cut a piece of card stock about 1/3 the height of the journal. The card stock should be slightly wider than the cover so you can fold under the edges. Adhere just the folded-under edges to the cover with double sided tape. Viola!

More Resources

  • The October 2004 issue of Paper Crafts magazine has a good feature article on composition notebooks. Though it doesn't look like their website has this particular back issue available, you might ask around and see if any local crafters keep their back issues. If not, you can always check eBay.
  • If you get carried away and create more journals than you know what to do with, try Paper Craft's Altered Journal Swap. Deadline 1/2/07.

I hope you'll use your embellishments and creative ideas to make something wonderfully unique! Have fun creating these journals -- I'd love to see the designs you come up with!


This is a great idea. I used to do a lot of journaling before I set up my blogs. I think I'll probably get back into it now that you've inspired me.

I really enjoy both types of writing... though, at least for me, they serve different purposes. Journaling centers me, helps me figure out how I feel about something. It's uncensored and stream of consciousness. On the other hand, I tend to self-censor what I write for public consumption.

But journaling & blogging work well together too. It's often during the creative flow of journaling that I get good blogging ideas.

Good luck with your journaling & your blogs!

About this Site

CraftyGoat's Notes is all about sharing polymer clay tips & tricks that have worked for me. (And even a few that haven't!)

Read more about CraftyGoat's Notes...

Buy My Book


Enter your address to get CraftyGoat's Notes by email:

Delivered by FeedBurner