Make a Customizable Eco-Friendly Field Journal!

Introduction: Make a Customizable Eco-Friendly Field Journal!

Using these Directions you can learn to make and customize your own journal to use in every day life, whether in the field, on the bus, on the go, or wherever you are to record daily thoughts and inspirations right when they hit you! In addition to being functional, this journal as made here, is eco-friendly and customizable to your own personal style.

These directions will show you how to make the book itself, an interior pocket for writing utensil storage, and a small book light.

Most of the materials necessary to do this project are cheap, easy to find and around-the-house items:

       - Recycled paper, old notebook paper, etc. for the inside of the book
       - Recycled cardboard to use to make the book cover
       - Rubber cement
       - Masking tape or duct tape
       - Pencil and a ruler
       - Some type of cloth, cheesecloth, nylon, etc. to make an interior pocket
       - Adhesive magnets
       - Thread and a needle
       - Leather cord
       - beads
       - feathers
       - LED lights
       - Lithium Batteries

       - Pictures
       - Mod Podge - matting glue and a paint brush
       - Binder Clip - Large

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Step 1: Making the Book's Cover and Interior Pages

Start out with whatever interior pages you want to include and the cardboard. To make mine, I used a small book of recycled paper and a sheet of cardboard paper I had left around my house.

Using the Rubber Cement, attach the stack of paper you wish to include together at one edge, which will become the spine of the book. Although I did not have to do this for mine because my pages were already attached, this is done by running the rubber cement over all of the pages together so they will stick on one edge. Let them dry together before proceeding to the following steps. 

After the pages have dried and are now attached together, use a pencil and ruler to measure out enough cardboard to completely cover the bundle of paper. Be sure to include the spine or width of the stack of paper in your measurements.

TIP: I found it easier through trial and error to first glue one side down, let it dry, and then bend more paper over the other side and cut off the excess before gluing the other side.

Step 2: Gluing the Cover

As mentioned in the previous step, I found it easier through trial and error to first glue one side down, let it dry, and then bend more paper over the other side and cut off the excess before gluing the other side- essentially combining this step with the previous one.

Either way it is done, I recommend using rubber cement or another strong glue (stronger than the usual Elmer's school/craft glue) to glue your cut out cardboard to the interior pages to create the book and its binding. if using a bundle of pages you put together yourself without a defined cover, glue the first and last page(s) to the binding to hold them in place. Also glue the spine to the binding for extra support.

Let everything dry completely. It is helpful to use books or a heavy object to stick on the top so the glue can dry in place.

Step 3: Customizing the Cover

Now you have a book!! At this point you can choose to customize it, or leave it plain. I recommend customizing it to give it a personal flare.

Using Mod Podge matting glue  (which dries clear), you can make a collage of pictures, stickers, stamps, etc. on the front and back covers of your book. Simply find things you wish to stick on the covers, arrange them how you want, glue them down with a small amount of glue stick to keep them in place, and then use a paint brush to gently layer the Mod Podge over them to dry it all in place on the cover. Keep in mind, however, that what you choose to Mod Podge is permanent, so do not use anything you don't have copies of or don't mind ruining. printing pictures off of a computer or cutting things from magazines is a good way to go.

Do this for the front cover and then, after it is completely dry, flip it over to do the back cover.

You also may need to use more than one layer of Mod Podge - in this case make sure to let each previous layer dry completely before applying a new one.

Step 4: Creating a Feather Bookmark for Your Book

Now that you have a super cute book, you can make it even better by adding a cool and Indian-esque feather bookmark!

This step requires a bit of needle-work, but it's not too hard. First use a threaded needle to attach the feathers together, you can either use fake crafting feathers or real feathers you have collected. To do this, use the needle to poke a small hole in the bone or plastic part of the feather and run it through. Repeat this for all the feathers you wish to attach, stringing them all together.

After you have all you feathers attached, wrap the remaining string around the feathers to bundle them and tie them together - Make sure they are tight and aren't falling out!

Take your bundle of strung together feathers and attach them to leather cord string, ribbon, etc. to make them bookmark. Use more thread, threaded on a needle, to run it through the wrapped thread on the feathers and then through whatever type of string you wish to use for the bookmark. You may want to run it through both repeatedly a couple of times for extra support before finally tying the thread tightly in knots to hold everything in place. After the feathers are securely attached to the cord or string, you can use extra tape to further attach them together.

To add an extra finishing touch, take some beads and run them down the cord or string.

Step 5: Attaching the Feather Bookmark to Your Book

Using the cord or string of your bookmark, thread it around the book to tie it place, either through a gap between the pages and the spine or at the midpoint of the book pages. Wrap it around and tie a knot at the top, leaving the end of the cord with your feathers hanging down. Leave enough cord hanging out of the the knot so that the bookmark will run through the book and come out the bottom. Cut off the excess cord left at the other end of the knot.

Step 6: Making an Interior Stoarge Pocket for Your Book

To make an interior storage pocket for your book, where you can store writing utensils and anything you collect while on the go, start by deciding what you want to make the pocket out of. This could be any old cloth or fabric scrap - just as long as it's big enough. You will also need either adhesive-backed magnets (as I used) or a button to sew on on to use in securing the top flap over the bottom when the pocket is closed.

Before doing anything, you will first need to measure how big your book is to get an idea of how big you want to make your pocket. After getting these dimensions, measure them out of your fabric using the pencil and ruler. Make sure to take into account that you will need to double the width you want because you will be folding the fabric over to make to pocket pouch, and the you need the height to be a few inches higher then you need to make the overhanging flap. For mine I measured out about two extra inches for the flaps.

Once your fabric is measured out, fold the fabric in half to make the pouch,and sew the edges together with a needle and thread to seal it. DO NOT sew the edges that make up the extra length you measured out for the flaps! These need to be loose for the time being.

First use the flap that will hang over the pocket opening. Attach the adhesive backed magnets onto the loose overhanging flaps at about the middle of the flap, and fold the top part down over the magnet. Sew this place. This will be the cover of the pocket and close it shut. The magnet should be covered by fabric and sewn in place with the magnetic side - not the adhesive side sticking to the fabric- facing outward so it will stick onto the magnet of the pocket to close it shut.

Using the other flap (on the front part of the packet that doesn't hang over the opening), attach the magnet inside the pouch on the top layer so it will line up with the magnet of the other overhanging flap and both will combine to seal it closed. Repeat the same procedure for this flap as the previous one, folding the fabric over the magnet and sewing it in the place.Be sure not sew it to the back part of the pocket because it will seal the pouch closed permanently!

After you are done, the magnets should line up and connect, as the overhanging flap closes over the opening.

If you choose to use a button instead of magnets, simply sew the button into place on the outside of the pouch pocket and cut a slit in the overhanging flap to put the button through.

Step 7: Inserting the Interior Pocket Into the Book

After your pocket is complete, it only needs to be inserted into the book itself!

Using either glue, tape, or double-sided tape stick the pocket to either the back or front cover of the book, whichever you prefer. Be sure to put something in the pocket if using glue to prevent the glue from drying the pocket closed.

Now you have a cool place to store pens, pencils, and anything else on-the-go!

Step 8: Making a Mini LED Book Light

Adding a book light to your journal can ensure that in the darkest woods or even just walking around town at night you can still jot anything down with the aid of a portable light!
The parts necessary to make it are relatively cheap. To obtain my mini LED lights and batteries, I used these supplies from Batteries and Lights.

Constructing a book light seems very intimidating for someone who has never worked with LED lights before - I know it was for me! To construct mine I used this easy tutorial posted by Alan Joyce on Flickr: Tutorial
This tutorial is easy to follow and explains how to make a light with its own on/off "switch" so your light is not on continuously. I have included some pictures from when I was constructing mine.

Initially I had a hard time with getting the switch to work, and still find my light to be a little touchy sometimes. Some things I found in out when constructing my own that made the process a little easier were to:
-Be sure to pull the tape VERY TIGHTLY around the light so it will make contact with the battery when the switch tab is pulled out
-Place the on/off switch tab, the LED light conducting wire, and the paper that goes over them (in that order) down on the battery before wrapping the tape around everything. I found this helps in getting that tape pulled tighter and in making sure all the components line up correctly.
-Don't just use standard tape; I recommend durable, very sticky tape like packing tape.

After you have constructing the basic LED Light with on/off switch as shown in the tutorial, you can make your light look a little more appealing and fit in with the design of your book by wrapping some of the fabric you used to make your interior pocket around the light or some other fabric/ribbon.

Step 9: Deciding How You Want to Attach/Carry Your Book Light

There are different ways you can store or attach your light to the book, so it will be transported with you.

Some options are:

1. Just simply carrying the light inside your interior pocket

2. Using some adhesive backed magnets to magnetically attach your light to part of the book

3. Using a binder clip to hold the light in place on your book.

Personally, I used a binder clip. This way you can also reposition the light and hold it in place when you are writing.

Step 10: Voila!

Now you have your very own journal, that can be used to jot down anything and everything when inspiration hits you, even while on the go!! Enjoy!

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