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Want to make your own journal? How about a DIY journal printable, all worked out so you can start papercrafting asap?

Here’s my Color and Doodle Printable Journal in my Etsy shop >>

My little birdies are asking you to color them up, will you help out? While you’re at it, why not doodle up some friends for the little birdies to hang out with? I designed this cute birdies journal as a printable and here’s my process of creating this semi-accordion journal. It’s great for doodling and coloring in, for your kids or those of us that are kids at heart (me, me!)

To re-create my exact Color and Doodle Journal, you will need:

SIZING and PRINTING

First step in creating your journal is to decide what size you want it to be. The PDF was created for full-sized pages, but you can always choose to print multiple pages per sheet in your printer settings and options. Always remember to select the option to “Fit to your paper size” when printing to ensure all the graphics show up properly and in proportion.

The extras PDF includes 3 pages of patterned paper and a page of labels. These are optional items to spruce up your journal if you so choose. I’ve printed out one of the patterned papers and labels to include, but it’s up to you. Remember that you can also print out multiples of the inner pages to create a journal with more than 10 pages.

I strongly recommend printing on heavyweight paper or your favorite type of drawing paper, since this is a doodle journal. However, this project still works with regular copy paper as well. Once the journal is complete you will only see the printed sides of the pages and that’s why I call it semi-accordion. You can certainly print on the backsides of your pages and bind this book with traditional methods, but I specifically chose to use only one side. This eliminates the trial and error of printing front and back pages and also creates doubled-up pages, giving the pages more strength. I also don’t like seeing ink leaking through from the other side of the page!

TRIM and FOLD

Once you have all your pages printed out, trim if necessary and fold all the inner doodling pages in half, birdie illustrations facing in.

For the cover page, back page, patterned paper and label, I’ve trimmed them all down to size, just a bit smaller than my folded pages to create a nice framed look.

For a stronger cover, I’ve decided to use board from a cereal box. Cutting two pieces the same size as my inner doodling folded pages, I’ve covered them up with kraft paper. Just glue your board down on the paper, cut the corners diagonally, then fold inward each flap.

Alternatively, you can also paint or collage over your boards instead. Or simply use plain or patterned paper for your covers rather than fussing with thick board.

For my inside lining paper, I’ve decided to use some brown cardstock. It’s the same size as my printed pages and also folded in half.

GLUE

Now for the hard part! Take all your printed and folded inner pages in a stack and measure how fat the spine of your journal will be. If you used copy paper, it should be pretty minimal. But if you used watercolor paper for example, it might be pretty thick.

Once you have the measurement, place you two cover boards next to each other with a gap in the middle. The gap is the measurement you just made, to ensure your pages will fit in. Then take a long piece of ribbon and glue it across the center of your boards, the gap still intact. Now you’ve got your cover all ready!

The ribbon allows you to tie your journal closed. However, if you don’t care for that feature you can skip this portion. However, it means your book will open up entirely like an accordion book. If you don’t want that and prefer the spine to be “all together” – then simple join your two boards together with ribbon in the gap portion only. You’ll still be connecting your boards to create a cover, but you won’t have ties, if that is a bit much for you.

In my experience it’s easiest to stack your pages together and make sure they are flush on the spine edge, then glue every single page together. You only need to attach the end of the pages – hence why I call it semi-accordion. The tricky part is making sure all your pages are flush on the spine edge, so you get a really clean edge.

I usually glue all pages together, then put it inside my cover closed, check alignment, then glue onto my covers. This usually gives me the cleanest edge. Whether you get it perfectly aligned or not, your journal will still work just fine, so don’t worry!

Once you have the journal put together, you can add the front cover, back cover, patterned paper for decoration and labels, to your taste. Then doodle away! Pretty cool huh?

USE IT!

Now that you have created a cool journal from scratch, go ahead and doodle away! Of course, you can create copies of these as stocking stuffers for the kids or as party favors for a crafternoon perhaps? This method of creating a journal works for any kind of papers as well. I prefer this semi-accordion type of binding because it still opens up like a regular book, but you get a really cool looking exposed spine.

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT

Grab your printable journal kit here on Etsy >>

I’ve created this as an experimental product to help support my work, you can read more about it on the CraftyPod as well. Basically, I want to share my work and ideas on this blog, thus I will continue to post tutorials and such. However, I will be offering a product of some sort…basically, giving you an opportunity to support me! Good idea, right?

Thus far, my bookbinding posts are the most popular, so I will continue with bookbinding projects until other new ideas pop up. Feel free to request anything you like in the comments below. I’m curious what you think as a blog reader. Finally, thank YOU for reading this and supporting me – whether through the purchase of my products, commenting or just reading 😛 All very much appreciated!

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