Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tutorial: Journal Making with Old Book Covers

Things are pretty craft-tacular around here.
After using the old pages from the Reader's Digest Condensed books I'd picked up at Goodwill {GW} on this project last week, I was reminded of the project I had purposely bought them for.
This one.
Homemade Journals.
Putting Journal together How-To:

Tools I used:
Xacto knife with new blade
Eyelet setter Kit (mine is old from my serious scrapbooking days long ago)
Hole punch

Supplied Needed:
Old Readers Digest Condensed books with awesome cool covers
white and colored cardstock
scrapbook paper
Binding Rings
[I used 7 Gypsies brand purchased at a scrapbook store and larger rings picked up at Wal-mart]

Various embellishments {I used some scrapbook stickers, die-cuts, old stamps, pieces of ephemera like old receipts, ripped piece of an order pad, paint chip cards, a card from a friend, postcards...}

1. First you must cut the cover off the book. I used an Xacto knife for this. I cut right at the crease. If you use a new blade and apply enough pressure you should be able to cut all the way through on the first try. By the time I got to my last book cover I had to make a second cut from the inside to get all the way through.

If you didn't cut super straight and have some jagged edges- go back with your knife and clean it up a bit. I don't mind a weathered/rustic look and I'm not going for perfection so I only tidied it up the big pieces.

2. Next you will put the holes in your cover. I have a seriously old eyelet setter kit (10+ yrs) that I used for this job. If you have a Crop-a-dile it will go even faster. I am too cheap frugal to buy something new of tool I rarely use.
I should also mention that hammering is really really fun.

Because I have embraced the imperfect crafter in me and believe the imperfections add to the uniqueness...
I eyeballed where I wanted the holes. No measuring for me. And I made 3 holes.
Side Note- when you go to do the back cover- might I suggest you butt up the back cover (inside cover to inside cover) to the front cover that you already made the holes in and punch/hammer lightly through the front cover holes to the back cover to make marks. Use the marks as guidelines for where to punch. This will make it so you line up your front and back covers just so. My first two I did not do this and my middle holes didn't line up which required me to make a 2nd hole close to the first middle hole. Good thing that's the back cover of the book. I'm pretending its not there.

A couple of my RD Condensed books had really nice flyleaf(s) that were too wonderful not to use. So I cut the pages out carefully with my Xacto knife.... note I didn't cut it straight each time and I refer you back to the above paragraph concerning imperfections...

A Pretty stack of cut and punched covers....
Don't forget to save the actual book pages for other projects!

3. Add your binder rings.
I also added a sweet little acorn charm to the middle ring of the blue book. Just Because.
I'm nutty like that.
Isn't that a cool flyleaf?! See the unique cutting?!
Be excited! You have made your journal cover!
My papers laid out and ready!

Continuing on...
4. Measure the inside of your book cover so you will know what size to make your pages. I made my 5x7.25 inches. I then proceeded to cut a bunch of cardstock and scrapbook papers. Use those pieces that are odd sizes- they'll add character to your book!
I used some of my white cardstock as "templates". I lined up the card stock with the front cover of the book, marked the holes with a pencil and punched them with a hole punch then used the punched cardstock as my pattern for punching the scrapbook papers.

5. Spread out your stacks of punched papers and scraps and whatnot (like paint chips). Into colors or categories or however it suits you. This will allow you to visualize the inside of your journal.
I was pretty random with my choosing- a couple blank white pages, a few color-coordinating pieces of scrapbook paper, slip in a paint chip card, tuck in that card from my dear sweet friend, hide a fun postcard in the back....
There's no rhyme or reason unless you want it!
paint chip cards... think outside the box!
6. Fill your journal with your punched papers

7. Embellish.

8. Use it!
In the photo above you can see Mr. Conductor's [this year] picture and a bunch of notations about him. I did this for each of the kiddos at the beginning of the book.

Photo credit: Me 
and Ms. Books


  1. I LOVE this and I would love to try it...but where do you find one of those hole-puncher things you used? I wouldn't want to spend much money on anything...

  2. Jaimie- I bought my kit a long time ago. I just did a search on Amazon for "eyelet setter tool" found a wide assortment ranging from $6 to well over $30. The Making Memories Universal Eyelet Setter is $9.00 and looks just like mine, minus the cute little hammer.
    If you have friends that scrapbook- I'd ask them if they have one and borrow it first to see if this is something worth purchasing.



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