Journal with Upcycled Materials

DIY Journal with Upcycled Materials

Do your kids doodle a lot?

Did you know that researchers have found that kids who doodle have better memories? Doodling is a way for kids to relieve tension and turn random thoughts into a purposeful whole. It’s a way of expressing creative energy even as it sharpens their problem-solving skills.  Bottom line? Doodling is good for your kids!

If your kids are very fond of writing or drawing, here’s a nice idea to give or better yet make with them: journals made from recycled materials.

DIY Journal from Upcycled MaterialsBuying the kids new notebooks is easy, but creating one makes it special. Obviously, these are very inexpensive (or free) because you will be using materials already found in your home. Plus you get to teach your little ones the attitude of recycling first rather than buying brand new things everytime.

DIY Journal from Upcycled MaterialsThis beautiful journal is perfect for them… fun and free to make and easy to replace if they fill them up on the first day. Ha ha!

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You’ll need these materials:

  • 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheets of Good Writing Paper
  • Thicker/Tough Material for Cover (such as paper bags or old book jacket, leather bag)
  • String or Cord (for binding the journal)

And these tools:

  • Scissors
  • Iron


Journal with Upcycled Materials

All we’re going to do is fold our sheet in half once. Folding a single page gives you four pages for writing in your journal, so consider how many pages you want when the journal is done.

Journal with Upcycled Materials

If you want a smaller journal, all you need to do is fold and tear each sheet in half, and then fold one more time for your (roughly) 4×5 journal.

Journal with Upcycled Materials

Each leaf of the journal (and the cover) need about a half inch tear along each end of the crease. Your binding is going to loop around the crease and ‘sit’ in this tear.

Journal with Upcycled Materials

Simply identify an interesting part of your recycled material that will serve as a cover, taking into account images, etc. In the pic, you can see that I lay my pages over the grocery bag, aligning it to avoid the messy bits (handles and glued parts). It was easy to find a continuous section that had interesting graphics and no glue or overlaps.

Journal with Upcycled Materials

To size the cover, simply use your pages as a template. Mark the dimensions on the bag with a pencil, then cut or tear. When I tear thick paper, I fold, moisten the crease (you can do this with a sponge or your tongue), and rip away.

If the material you’ve chosen for the cover is being recycled (and it oughta be) then it may be crinkled or otherwise beat up. I found that ironing the paper flattens it out nicely and preps it for duty.

Journal with Upcycled Materials

Journal with Upcycled Materials

Tear or cut a half-inch into the creased cover to match your folded and notched internal pages and put it all together.

Journal with Upcycled Materials

Some pics of the way the binding works. My binding of choice is a piece of string tied with a fisherman’s knot – a simple slide knot that makes it (pretty) easy to tighten and loosen the binding.

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