Introduction: How to Make a Journal or Daily Planner

About: I like lots of things, just ask
I've been making books for a while and this is one that I have cooked up from taking all my preferences of other books and the mistakes of my old books. It is a good book that will take you about 1-2 hours depending on how much of a perfectionist you are.

This book also has a very unique binding mechanism which makes replaceable inserts possible and it also stays perfectly flat when writing on your lap, the car or in mid-air.

This book features a removable insert (moleskine), inside pocket, pen holder and a raised cover. I've had mine for about 6 months now and have flown through about 5 inserts for far. The book goes everywhere with me and helps me keep my life in order.

*note: If you would like a pen holder in your book, please read the whole instructable through before starting, especially step 9

Step 1: Materials

For this book, once you have most of the base materials and tools, making another book won't be expensive at all, but the first one might be more expensive if you don't have anything to begin.

-Razor blade in a handle (with a few sharp blades)
-Spray glue
-Cutting mat
-Ruler (metal preferable for make straight cuts with a blade)

-Paper (they come in large sheets at an art store. You won't need more than one of each kind of this project. I used a blue leaf print for both the outside-background and the inside lining which can be different, and a red for the raised cover)
-Heavyweight cardboard
-Book Cloth (Just the place I use)(I used one for the binding and a different one for the pen holder which was just because I had the extra material. You will get one large sheet or roll and you will use about 1/10 of it)
-1 page bristol board or other thin cardboard like a cereal box
-Moleskine insert (whether it be blank, lined or dated) It is also called Cahier in the moleskine world

Everything can be bought at a craft store even the book cloth, though you might have more trouble finding that so I go on line for quality and color choice.

Step 2: Cutting the Cover

To cut the cover to size, you want to lay your moleskine on top of the heavyweight cardboard and trace around it. Then add a half inch on all side and cut. It is important to cut 90 degree corners and not just eye ball it. Measuring is needed in this step and all future steps. I am leaving the exact inches out because if one just cuts my measurements then it will inevitably not come out on spot. Also, this means you have the ability to make a book based on any size insert of any brand.

Once you have the two pieces (front and back) of the book, you will need to cut an accent piece. I like to make mine the same size as the insert just for uniformity looks. Trace the outline of the accent on the front cover centered so when the glue is wet you can just place it the first time.

Then glue the accent to the front cover in the center. To do this lay the accent out on newspaper and spray glue the whole side (get edges really well). Quickly place it in the drawn lines of the accent.

Step 3: Cover the Back Cover

Starting with the back cover (because it is easier without the accent to get you warmed up to glue...) lay your cardboard on the paper you want to cover it with. Add a 3/4 inch border so you can fold the extra big edges onto the other side. Then trace the board in the center of the paper for gluing and lining up purposes.

Now comes the part that makes covering the book look nice. Cut off the corners at an angle in. I will explain that also in a different way: Cut and acute angle at the corners so the paper does not bunch up when folded over the sides. The picture should explain that pretty well.

Then, as you did before, lay out to glue and then glue! make sure everything is centered. To glue this piece you want to spray the glue on the paper, lay the cardboard on it and then fold the sides over. the last picture has something else in it that you will learn later, but you can see how it looks from the inside.

Step 4: Covering the Front Cover

This one is much like the last except that you have to pre-press the paper around the accent before you glue it.

So, that means, lay out the paper, cut with a 3/4 inch border, then... flip it over so the paper is below the board and crease with your thumb nail the accent so the paper fits flush with the board at all points. Then flip it back the the way it was and glue carefully pressing all the paper into the nooks on the front.

Step 5: Placing the Color on the Front

Cut an accent color to your background color, in my case red, that needs to be an 1/8 inch smaller than you accent board and glued onto the center of the raised area. Makes it look nice.

Step 6: Making the Spine

So, front and back cover are done, next comes the unique hinge system. It might help you to construct it, if you knew how it worked. You have a front and back cover, but they are not connected, and they will not be connected via the signature (pages inside - basically...). We are going to make a small hinge that has "wings" of book cloth and a solid center spine that is free moving.

To start cut a piece of heavyweight cardboard (same as the cover) that is about a 1/4 inch shorter on each end (1/2 inch total) and as thick as the insert that you will be inserting. For sizing see my pictures.

Next cut a piece of book cloth that is pretty much 1 1/2 inches longer than the spine and about 3 1/2 - 4 inches wide.

You will glue the cardboard spine centered on the cloth and fold the excess on either end over to fully cover the ends and reinforce the top and bottom. Make sure to use your nail and push the book cloth flush with the cardboard.

Finally, cut a rectangle of paper (your choice, again, I used the background blue) that is 1/4 inch smaller than that of the current size of the book cloth with embedded cardboard. Then glue it on!

Whew! check out the pictures.

Step 7: Glueing It Together

You will want to glue the wings of the spine to the front and back covers on the inside. Also, if you place the front and back cover (with covers lying face down) and push the inside edges flush together it will give you a book that lies flat even in mid-air.

Normally, I would just say spray glue the whole back of the spine and stick it on there, but there is a problem. You do to want glue on the middle of the spine, where the cardboard is. That part should not have glue on it, because, as you see in the pictures of how the book folds closed. To overcome this issue, cut a thin strip of newspaper and lay it on the center of the spine when you spray glue. OR you could just use spreadable glue. Choice is yours.

Step 8: Adding a Pocket (optional)

If you choose not to add this pocket, just cut out a rectangle that is slightly smaller on all sides like pictures 2 and 3 and paste it on so it covers up the bare heavyweight cardboard. If you do choose to make a pocket, you'll still need to cut the same size square.

First, material: I chose bristol board because it is exactly the weight you want, and I had a bunch laying around. Since you'll just need a bit for this step and a bit for a later one, buying a whole pad does not make much sense. Cereal box cardboard would work as well or an oak tag or a manilla folder. Anything firm should do the job.

You'll want to have a pocket that is properly secured and stays in place, so that means it needs to have a lot of surface area to apply glue. For a diagonal pocket like mine you can see the shape I've used in picture 5. To make this shape, you first decide the size of the pocket you want then add the tabs to the overall size then cut (you want it in once piece). Crease the tabs. Next cut the corners off the bottom and side tabs, see image notes. I left the top right one uncut for style.

You will then need to cover you pocket so it is not white. Again I used blue to make it blend in, but color choice is yours. Make an outline of your pocket (full size with tabs) and then put a half inch border around it and cut out that shape in your paper.

You will next need to make it so you can fold your paper over the pocket to fully cover the white up. To do this, cut triangles out at the corners just like you did to cover the front of the book. Please look at the pictures, the give close-ups and necessary details.

Now you can glue it all in place! first glue to cover of the pocket on the pocket. Re-bend your creases on your pocket. Now, remember cutting out that rectangle? well the ideal size will fit in your pocket, you will need to adjust by trimming. You can see in picture 9 how it fits in. And 10 is how it is supposed to look when done. Whew! big step

Step 9: Add a Pen Holder (optional and Requires Planning Before You Begin)

I say requires planning because you'll need to remeasure the beginning part of the book and make it wider to fit the pen. Hence why I sent you to this step in the beginning. You can't really grasp what needs to be bigger unless you have read this instructable this far.

So the insert will go in the book, and the book will close over the insert. If you have made the cover bigger than the insert like I said in step 2, then the cover will close perfectly over the book. This is nice, but leaves no room for a pen. In order to have the room, you need to make the back cover 1/4 inch wider, or whatever thickness your pen is. And if you don't want your book looking lopsided, then you need to make the front cover wider too. Then you can go about adding a pen holder. Make sense?
Unfortunately, I only have picture from making my prototype which I made the mistake of not making the book wider and cannot fit a pen. *sigh* thats what the first edition of something is for I guess.

So, you've done all the planning and have made the book up to this far, how do you make the pen holder. First things first, material. This could be made from many things you have laying around, the most common material to use? thin cloth, perhaps. I used book cloth, for two reasons, it does not stretch, and is strong. Also it matches the book binding (though mine didn't because I used a different cloth.

Before you paste it in, I cut a piece of book cloth that was twice as wide as I wanted and folded it over on itself, please see pictures to see how I folded it. Then I used paper glue, to seal it shut.

So you will want to paste it on the middle of the binding. I pasted it on with the pen in, so I was sure that it would fit.

And finally, make sure the inside covering goes over the edge of the pen holder

AND THAT IS WHY... if you wanted a pen holder, you had to read this whole instructable, this step and then start the book.

Step 10: Make the Insert Holder Flap

Last step of construction! Almost there!

So, you want to use the same material as you used for the pocket (if you did that part), again, I used bristol board.

You will want to cut you bristol board as in picture 2. You will need your insert; open it and lay your bristol board below the cover (make sure to use the back cover, because that will be the cover that slides into the pocket for the insert.

Trace it onto your bristol board, now with this trace, add a 1" border on 3 sides. Now do not make these wings so that they fold perfectly along the traced line of the insert. If you do that then the insert will just be too big to fit in.

Next, cut 2 of the corners off the flaps, see the pictures. and now cover the insert flap, I am sure you are proficient at covering things in paper by now. Again, as in step 8 you will cut rectangular piece of paper to cover up the cardboard and go underneath the insert cover, but above the flaps. Please see the progression of pictures. Then glue, you obviously want to make sure you have a pocket at the end, to put you insert into.

Step 11: Insert the Insert

Do it! Slide it on and and it should fit properly, if not, your best bet is to trim your insert instead of remaking the pocket that holds the insert.

Awesome! You did great and hopefully enjoy the book you have finished! be creative, change designs, change functional bits, change colors, change it any way you like.

And please, post what you've made, I would love to see it.

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