Make Handmade Journals – Directions and Variations

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I was inspired by Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord, the author of Handmade Books for a Healthy Planet, to use recycled materials and teach kids how to make handmade journals.

handmade journals

Step One – We used cardboard from cereal boxes and granola bar boxes. Then, we covered the covers with fabric.

handmade journals

Step Two – Find paper (if you can use recycled paper, glue the two used sides together.) We hole punched the top and bottom of the cardboard first.

handmade journals

Step Three –  Then, we marked where to hole punch the paper and punched the paper.

handmade journals

Step Four – Bend the left side of the book to make a fold about .5 inch in from the edge.

handmade journals

Step Five – Add a back cover (not shown.) Then, find a stick that’s just a smidge under the length of your book. Wrap a rubber band around the top of the stick and pull through the top hole.

handmade journals

Step Six – Pull down to the bottom hole. Push the rubber band through the hole and around the bottom of the stick.

handmade journals

The kids in my writing workshop made all sorts of delightful variations . . .

Here’s a Duct Tape Journal version that became a gift for this writer’s mom.

handmade journals

JJ used tied pipe cleaners to bind her Purple Journal. It made it a bit harder to turn the pages but she liked the color coordination of all purple.

handmade journals

Another writer used pipe cleaner all the way around as binding for her Pink Book.

handmade journals

What will you make?

And what will you write?

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10 Responses

  1. These are awesome! I think my kids would love to do these (especially my 4 year old who is really into making up stories). Thanks for posting the directions!

  2. Book Chook says:

    I love Susan’s ideas! It’s heart-warming to see your young students are so delighted with being able to make something “real” and useful – and they immediately want to make one for someone else. Beautiful!

  3. AAAANd now you’ve just given me the next project idea for the kiddos! Thanks Melissa!

  4. Great idea as usual. I will also share on my site


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    Hi! I’m Melissa Taylor, mom, writer, & former elementary teacher & literacy trainer. I love sharing good books & fun learning resources.

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