Blank Journals to Embellish

Dana Hinders
Blank books can be decorated to make excellent journals.

Finding blank journals to embellish can be a good way to put your paper crafting skills to use while creating a special gift. Pretty journals promote a love of writing in children and teenagers, while encouraging adult recipients to take the time to record their special memories.

Finding Blank Journals to Embellish

There are a number of places to search when looking for blank journals to embellish. For example:

  • Office supply stores have a number of plain items, including blank journals.
  • Discount stores such as Wal-Mart and Target typically carry a small assortment of journals in the stationary department.
  • Dollar stores sometimes have blank journals or journals that can easily be recovered and decorated however you wish.
  • Craft stores such as Hobby Lobby and Michaels Crafts may have journals with the paper crafting, scrapbooking, or card making supplies.

If you're interested in buying blank journals to embellish online, you may want to visit the following Web sites:

  • Paper Wishes sells Sarabinders, blank chipboard binders that can be used to make your own journals, address books, or daily planners.
  • Oriental Trading sells plain white hardbound journals with 100 pages in packages of 12.

If you can't find a suitable journal available for purchase, consider following the tutorial on the Daydreaming on Paper Web site to make your own blank book.

Techniques for Decorating a Journal

If your journal is already a plain color, you can quickly decorate it by using stickers, rub on letters, rubber stamps, or permanent ink pens. However, if you'd like to recover the journal to add a little extra pizazz, just follow these simple steps:

  1. Choose the paper you want to use. Patterned 12x12 inch scrapbooking paper works well for this project, but you could also use wrapping paper, an old map, or one of your child's large drawings.
  2. Cut the paper to fit the size of your journal. You'll need three sheets of paper: one for the journal front, one for the journal back, and a thin strip to cover the journal's spine. Allow about ½ inch extra on the top and bottom ends so you can fold over the corners. If you wish, you may also cut two smaller sheets of coordinating paper to use on the inside of the journal.
  3. Adhere the paper to the journal using Mod Podge applied with a foam paintbrush. Smooth out any air bubbles before allowing the glue to dry.
  4. Apply a final coat of Mod Podge to the top of the journal to seal and protect the paper.
  5. Let your project dry for an hour or two.
  6. Add buttons, charms, flowers, or other dimensional embellishments as desired.

Choosing a Journal Design

If you're having trouble coming up with a suitable journal design, try one of these easy ideas:

  • Write the recipient's name in bold letters across the front.
  • Design an elaborate monogram.
  • Add a memorable quote about writing. See the Quote Garden Web site for ideas.
  • Incorporate a special photo into your design.
  • Cover the journal with an eclectic collage that includes images of the recipient's favorite things, such as his/her favorite book, movie, food, hobby, etc.

Making a Journal Jar

When giving a decorated a journal as a gift, consider using some of your leftover supplies to make a coordinating journal jar. Essentially, a journal jar is a container filled with writing prompts. The prompts may ask questions such as "What is your favorite childhood memory?" or "Who do you most admire?" The purpose of a journal jar is to help the recipient overcome the feeling of "writer's block" that often accompanies journal writing.

To learn more about making a journal jar, visit the following helpful links:

Blank Journals to Embellish