Introduction: Journal Making

About: I am the Design, Tinkering and Technology Integrator at Mark Day School in San Rafael, CA ( I teach technology and maker curriculum to K-8 students.

These directions will produce a single 8.5" x 11" journal with a card stock cover and 40 5.5" x 8.5" plain paper pages.


One 8.5" x 11" card stock (very thick card stock may be difficult to sew through)

Ten 8.5" x 11" plain paper pages (I printed 0.5 pt gray lines spaced 11/32" aka Wide Ruled across both sides of the paper)



Sewing machine

Optional materials (see the last step)

One 8.5" piece of thin ribbon for bookmark

One 8.5" x 1" piece of card stock for scalloped edge

One 8" square piece of card stock for pocket envelope

One 2" piece of 3/8" width black elastic

Label paper for QR codes

Copper foil tape, surface mount LEDs, and flat cell battery for paper circuit

Bone folder

Step 1: Fold the Card Stock

Choose a piece of rectangular card stock to be the cover. Fold it in half by bringing together the two shorter ends. Unfold the cover.

Step 2: Fold the Plain Paper

Take a stack of 10 lined pieces of plain paper and fold the stack in half by bringing together the two shorter ends. [If using paper with 5 B's wordle, place the stack with the 5 B's face down. That way when you fold the stack the 5 B's will show on the first page.] Unfold the paper.

Step 3: Assemble the Cover and Pages

Place the cover with the decorative side face down. Place the plain paper stack on top of the cover, making sure that the edges line up.

Step 4: Add a Bookmark (optional)

Cut a piece of ribbon about 8.5” long (the length of the short side of the cover). Place one inch of the ribbon against the crease at the top of the cover under the plain paper. If the ribbon has a decorative side, make sure it is face down. Tape it down with a small piece of scotch tape to hold it in place before it's sewn into the journal.

Step 5: Stitch the Binding

Use a sewing machine to sew along the center of the plain paper and through the cover. If using a bookmark, be sure to keep the extra ribbon to the side to prevent it from getting caught.

*Be sure to sew just beyond the top and bottom edges of the cover to make sure the binding goes through the entire cover and all pages. Trim any lose threads with scissors.

If you don’t get a chance to sew your binding, use a paper clip to keep your journal together for now.

Step 6: Personalize

Write your name at the top of the cover or the top of the first page of the journal. Decorate the front and back covers as desired.

Step 7: QR Code

Place a QR code label on the first page of the journal. The QR code is a shortcut to

Step 8: Accessorize (optional)

Choose a piece of square cardstock to make an envelope from. Follow the printed “Folding Diagrams” instructions or view them here. After step 6, tape or glue the right flap onto the left flap.

Some ideas for accessorizing the journal are: