Manifesting a Magical December - Making your own journal - part 1/2


Hello there and welcome to a bit longer post. If you're new here, please read my previous post so that you'll know what I'm talking about as this is going to be a series type of thing. 

Here, I have a photo tutorial for you in which I explain how I went about creating my Magical December Journal. Please read everything as I didn't have as much time for this as I would've liked, so I needed to explain things via the text too.

First of all, think about what makes December magical for you. Which colors, textures, images, smells, small things, etc and then, if you wish, pick up a color palette and dive into your stash of papers and search for anything that screams magical December to you.

I was really drawn to old vintage look of papers (think coffee or tea stained), reds, my usual love - craft paper, anything really brightly colored with golden speckles over it and glittery stuff. I found the New Year/Christmas cards I received at the end of last year and decided to incorporate them in my journal as they hold so many beautiful wishes and are related to this year that is coming to an end. I also wanted to include my this year's wrapping paper that I just bought. In a way, my choices reflect cosy time for me. Time to slow down, have a cuppa with a book and a candle lit somewhere. If I connect December with anything, then that is all the lights everywhere. I love fairy lights and have them on pretty much all the time, especially in these shorter days of winter time. 

I decided I will use recycled paper for my journal as it has this vintage brownish hue to it. But I wanted to spend some time with each paper before it ended up in my journal, so I painted them all. On both sides. Two papers were painted with coffee only and the rest with watercolors, but only at the two edges. You'll see on the photos. I chose my new wrapping paper for my covers and found some images of old vintage postcards online to use as pockets at the beginning and the end of my journal. These cards will be sent to my subscribers as a print yourself .pdf file along with the e-mail telling them the new post is up. 

Alrighty. Now that you have decided on what paper you will use to make your journal with - can be ordinary printer paper, cheap kid's watercolor paper from A3 size pad, old book pages, old printed papers you no longer need - recycling is great for these journals. 

If you want your journal to have only one page per day then all you need is 8 folded papers (one folded paper gives you 4 pages). 8 x 4 = 32. Perfect count as it gives you one page just for your title.

Decide also on what you will use for your covers. I went with an old chocolate box cover but could just as easily went for cardboard from one of the amazon boxes, or cereal box cardboard... anything really that is a bit thicker than the paper you will use for the inside of your journal. 

Final page size. This determines your cover size as the covers are usually a bit bigger to accommodate for a bulkier interior of one signature book we are going to make. My final page size was A5, which is an A4 sized piece of paper folded in half. If you are going to use different sized papers for your journal - which looks super cool in the end - your biggest page dictates your cover size. Just telling you :) 

Now let's go over the tutorial. We are making the covers first.

1. Here you can see my A4 coffee stained paper folded in half put over the flattened chocolate box cover as I was assessing the sizes.

I cut away those flaps on the left and right side but left the upper and lower ones as I wanted to use as much of this box as I could. Those flap folds on top and bottom didn't bother me as I knew I will be gluing more paper over this and everything will get more sturdy.

2. Then I folded my chocolate box paper in half and cut it on the fold to get two identical pieces for my covers. 

3. I took an old piece of thin cotton fabric and tore away a strip about 5 cm in width and length that was about 5 cm longer than the longer side of my book covers. You can take a piece of wide ribbon if you have it. 

4. Take both covers and put them side by side with a gap in between of about 1 cm. Align them so that they are on the same bottom line so to speak (or top) - see photo below. Then secure them in place with something heavy so that they don't move. 

5. Now glue on your strip of fabric in the middle so that it connects both covers. It should look over top and bottom edges:

When you apply your glue - I am using white wood glue that dries clear and quick - spread it over the surface with a scrap piece of cardboard or an old credit card. Apply more glue if the paper is very old and absorbs the glue before you can even reach for your fabric ribbon to glue it on. 

6. Turn your now joined covers around (when the glue is dry) and fold back the remaining of the fabric strip and glue it down as well. DO NOT glue in the middle of the fabric ribbon (where there is no paper) as this will make your fabric sturdy and we don't want this:

7. When this dries take the paper you will use for your covers and cut it to size that is a bit bigger bigger then each of your current two pieces of covers:

 8. Apply glue over the front cover, spread it around nicely then glue on your pretty cover paper. Repeat on the other cover (back cover):

9. Above photo shows how to cut away all 4 corners from your just glued down cover papers to get something that looks like this:

10. After gluing the flaps in you will get something that looks similar to this:

 11. Now this step is not necessary and you can move onto adding pretty papers to the insides of the covers - next step - but I'll show you what I did as I found this pretty ribbon I just couldn't resist and I just had to add it above my pre-existing fabric ribbon. I was paying much attention to NOT get glue in the middle of the fabric (where there's the gap between two covers). Also on the inside where my ribbon had to be glued down:

12. As a final step of making our covers we need to add some pretty papers to the inside too. I used one of the papers I painted with coffee and watercolors as it was the same size as my pages will be. If you'd like to do the same, then set aside your covers now and return to them once you have your painted papers ready. If you would like to use the same paper for the inside as you used for the outside then that's perfect too. Just cut 2 identical rectangles of that paper and glue it on the inside of the covers like I did here - only over the paper, NOT over the fabric in the middle. See photo below - the gap between two covers must remain visible:

13. This is pretty much it and you can stop here. I however, love to have some sort of a closure for these journals as they tend to get nicely bulky and I want something to hold them together, so I added a red velvety ribbon to act as my closure strap. I cut a length of it that wrapped my two covers 3 times and glued it on the back cover with a strip of my pretty ribbon I used over my book spine. Firstly I glued the velvety red ribbon then I glued the strip of the other ribbon across it:

14. And the final touch was adding two "pockets" on the insides of my covers. I printed these vintage postcards I found online on thicker paper (I will tell you more about the site in the future blog posts), cut them out and glued them onto my covers. I applied my double-sided glue tape to only two edges of the postcards so that I can stick stuff inside. I know they will both come handy. You can also glue an envelope to your inside covers so that it acts as a close-able pocket.

This may look hard and long to do but in reality it's not that much. Papers tend to take more time as they need drying but if your space is warm then that's not that long at all. I made my covers and assembled my whole journal in one sitting. Trust me, it is totally possible to make the whole thing in one day if you put your mind to it. Enjoying the creative process is what counts the most.

I will continue this tutorial in part two as this has way too many photos to upload already. See you there.

Manifesting a Magical December - Making your own journal - part 2/2


With much love,



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