Mini Journal making: A DIY project for all levels of crafter

Above are a some pocket journals I made for my husband a couple of years ago using fabric. More details at the bottom of the post.


While preparing for the Surtex show last May, I started looked for ways to display my surface pattern designs. So I made a bunch of journals. I used heavy weight paper for some of the covers and for some I used fabric . I printed the paper ones with an ink jet printer, and used iron on t-shirt transfers to adhere my prints to the fabric ones (like the ones you see above and this one). Regardless of your crafting abilities, this project is a great way to make a gift, use recycled materials, show off your own designs, or designs you like.

I’m going to tell you how to make mini journals according to your ability, or ehemm…comfort with a stapler versus burning hot glue!


Ribbon is a great binding tool and decorative embellishment. I love using origami paper for the inside covers too.

mini journal making

You can even make one without glue, needle and thread, or staples. For the ones above all I used was a hole punch and ribbon to bind.

Ok so, here’s how to do it yourself!!:
Advanced: (hot glue, cardboard or heavy card-stock, fabric, ribbon (optional), paper, scissors

  1. Start by cutting your card stock/board into one long sheet and then fold in half for front and back cover (like a card)
  2. Cut fabric, about 1/2 inch larger than card stock/board
  3. Hot glue around edges of cardboard/stock and center fabric on top, fold to make sure you did not do it too tightly.
  4. Once dry, cut diagonal slices on edges of the fabric that stick out so that you can fold them in, on the inside of the book.
  5. Once you’ve done the cutting and have practiced folding the edges in, hot glue a thin line around the whole card stock, and proceed folding the fabric inward. You may need to add little drops of glue where the fabric is overlapping. (here’s where you add ribbon around the edges if you want).
  6. Add origami paper, or another piece of fabric over the card stock to cover inside. I always try to cover the little fabric folding imperfections with the inside fabric/paper.
  7. Cut paper for inside of journal(I recommend using recycled printer paper, vellum, watercolor paper etc.), Then fold in half (like a card).
  8. Hot glue a line down the center of card stock/board and place the edge of your folded paper pile on top, hold till try…..and voila, fabric journal.

Mini-journal making for those (I’ll call us Intermediate) who like sewing or hole punching and tying

For this you’ll need: Heavy printer paper (I love photo supreme matte) to print your design on, or photo, or someone else’s design (get permission unless it’s copyright free), a hole-punch, thread and needle or ribbon.

  1. Fold your heavy paper with design on it in half like a card.
  2. Hole punch two or three holes on the fold if you are using ribbon.
  3. If you are sewing, cut and fold your inside papers and sew through them and the heavy paper (this is hard to do, you may need to sew little bits at a time. I prefer the hole punching and ribbon tying method but to each their own.
  4. For hole punching, add your hole punched papers (it does not matter if they’re exactly lined up with outside holes but try to get it close).
  5. Then weave ribbon through from the inside out. So the ribbon should look like a staple on the inside at the center. Then I like to take one tip of ribbon on the outside and bring it back around the inside and reconnect it with the other tip at the bottom on the outside so that a bow is visible (see the picture above). I feel there are no tying rules. It’s fun to experiment and come up with a way you like. I always change it up. That’s the fun of a handmade object. There’s no such thing as a “right way” to make it.

The Easy breezy way: Printed design on heavy paper, inside sheets, and stapler

  1. Just prepare your design paper (heavy weight) and inside pages.
  2. Line them up and staple them, and voila a journal.
  3. To spiffy it up, add a “lock” by taking a thin strip of paper and stapling it to the center edge of the cover horizontally. Then wrap it around the back and add another little u shaped loop to slide it into (vertical). Make sure the horizontal strip is longer but not wider than the vertical strip.

I’m a bit of a messy worker, see:
mini journal making mess...

YAY….this project just got featured on Craft!