Introduction: How to Bind a Personal Journal

For a typical college student, a journal can be useful in many ways. As a versatile tool, journals can function in both personal and academic settings. They can be used to consolidate important events, dates, notes, and thoughts. Not only is a journal efficient in keeping things in one place, but also because of its small size, it can be carried around in almost any bag. The following design is a creative, fun, and inexpensive way to organize your daily routine.

Step 1: Materials

• Cardboard (enough for a 7 ¾” x 12 ½” piece)

• White standard printer paper for filler (8 ½”x11”, approximately 20 sheets)

• Scrapbook paper for cover (two 12”x12” sheets)

• String or ribbon (approximately 28” long)

• Glue stick• Scissors• Single hole puncher

• Ruler

• Pen or pencil

Step 2:

Cut out a rectangular piece of cardboard that is 12 ½” long and 7 ¾” wide.

Note: The face of a cereal box works well for this.

Step 3:

Draw a vertical line down the center of the cardboard, parallel to the shortersides. See Figure 2.

Note: Both sides will be equal in length and width, with measurements of 6¼” x 7 ¾”.

Step 4:

Using a pair of scissors, cut carefully along the line you have just drawn. You should now have two identically sized pieces of cardboard in front of you with the dimensions 7 ¾ x 6 ¼ ”. See Figure 3.

Step 5:

Draw a vertical line ¾” from Side S1.

Step 6:

Using the hole puncher, punch two holes between Side S1 and the line you just drew, at 1 ½” and 6” from Side B1. See Figure 4.

Step 7:

Using the scissors, carefully cut along the line to remove the ¾” wide strip of cardboard. See Figure 5

Step 8:

Repeat steps 4-6 with the second piece of cardboard.

Note: At this point, you should have four pieces as shown in Figure 6.

Step 9:

Place a single sheet of your scrapbook paper on a flat surface. Make sure the design you want showing on your journal cover is facedown.

a) Using your ruler and a pen, draw a vertical line that is parallel to and exactly 1” away from the left-hand side of the paper.

b) Turn the paper so that the top edge is now on the left. Repeat step 10a above.

Note: If you turn the paper back to its original position, there should now be an intersection in the upper left hand corner of your paper that creates the corner of an incomplete rectangle.

c) Take your glue stick and one of your larger cardboard halves and cover the entirety of one of the faces with a thin layer of glue, making sure toget the corners.

Note: If there is a cereal box design on one face of your cardboard, put the glue on that face.

d) Take this glued cardboard and place it glued side down onto the scrapbook paper. Align one of its corners with the one you have just drawn on the cover paper. The sides of the cardboard should line up exactly with the drawn lines on the paper.

Step 10:

Line the ¾” cardboard strip up ⅛ of an inch away from the main cardboard cover you have just glued to the cover paper. See Figure 7.

Step 11:

Glue the strip to the paper in position.

Note: As above, make sure the face is entirely covered with glue. Wait approximately 5 minutes for the glue to dry.

Step 12:

Prepare the last margin.

a) Draw a horizontal line on the cover paper, exactly 1” below Side D1/D2.

b) Cut along the line you just drew.

Step 13:

Using the outside edge of the ¾” strip as a guide for your scissors, cut along S1.

Step 14:

Hole punch the paper through the existing holes in the cardboard.

Step 15:

Repeat steps 9-14 for the second cardboard half and ¾” strip. You will now have the template for the front and back covers.

Step 16:

Create the interior border for the first cardboard cover.

a) Using the ruler as a straight edge, draw a diagonal line on the upper left corner of the cover paper, making a triangle shape. See Figure 8.

b) Cut along this line to remove the cover paper’s corner.

c) Repeat the previous two actions on the lower left corner.

Note: Do not cut the cardboard corners. You should now have three flaps of cover paper with 1” margins around each cardboard half, and no flap on the hole-punched spine side (Side S1/S2). See Figure 9.

Step 17:

Repeat Step 15 for the second cardboard cover. You will not have your front and back covers. See Figure 11.

Step 18:

Finish the interior covers

a) Cut a sheet of the white printer paper into a 5”x6” rectangle.

b) Spread glue evenly on the sheet of printer paper and adhere it to inside of the covers.

c) Repeat with another 5”x6” sheet of white printer paper for the other cover. See Figure 12.

Step 19:

Cut 20 pages of white printer paper so that their dimensions are 6”x7”.

Note: More or less paper can be used, depending on how thick you want your journal to be.

Step 20:

Hole punch the filler paper through the existing holes in the cover.

Note: Line one sheet of the filler paper up with the hole-punched side of one of the covers so that it lines up with the hole punched side. Use this sheet as a template to cut the remaining sheets.

Step 21:

Align the filler paper with the journal covers.

a) Place the back cover of the journal face down.

b) Place the hole-punched filler paper on top of the cover, aligning the holes correctly. See Figure 13.

Step 22:

Place the front cover on top of the filler paper and back cover, aligning the holes correctly.

Note: Slide a pen or pencil into one of the holes to hold the alignment in place.

Step 23:

Finish the binding.

a) Thread one end of the ribbon through the top hole of the front cover.

b) Pull the end of the ribbon through the filler paper and through the top hole of back cover.

c) Feed the same end of ribbon through the bottom hole of the back cover.

d) Pull the end through the filler paper and through the bottom hole of the front cover, until you have approximately 10-12” of ribbon coming out of either hole of the front cover.

e) Tie the two ends of the ribbon into a tight bow, as large or small as you would like. Cut off any excess ribbon form the ends of the bow. See Figure 14.

You Did It! Sit Back and Enjoy Writing in Your Personal Journal!