I typically use a 12 x 12 paper collection from a good company so it’s nice thick, printed paper. You can use ANYTHING for the pages, but you need at least one sturdy piece for the cover. I’ve had great luck with Echo Park and Carta Bella papers. I’m currently doing an experiment with a slightly thinner paper so I glued two sheets together for the cover.
If this is your first journal then a one signature journal using a dozen sheets of paper is a good place to start. FIRST, select which one you want to use as your cover and set it aside!! It needs to be cut slightly larger to give your final journal a better look. Journals come in all shapes and sizes, but I’ve been experimenting with my ideal measurements. I think I want to use as much of the paper as I can and have efficient sized scraps for card making. This creates a finished journal that is shorter and wider than the tutorial I learned from. There are, of course, pros and cons of different journals so you’ll have to decide what works for you. The measurements I’m sharing below are what I used for my 2020 Goals Journal because I wanted as much width as I could get for writing and have a four inch strip of paper left over for card making.
COVER: 8 1/2″ tall by 12″ wide – cut ONE piece this size
PAGES: 8″ tall by 11 1/2″ wide
Be to sure to pay attention if you have directional papers so your trees, dogs or bicycles are right side up. Then, fold each one down the middle so it starts to form a book. You can use a score board if you have one, if not just fold carefully down the middle. Then, put them in order the way you would like them to be in the journal. This part takes me a while because I don’t want too many flowers together or conflicting patterns. Sort them until you get it right. Now is also the time to think about whether you want to tuck in any paper bags, other papers, or if you want some of the pages to be different sizes. I like to have at least a couple pages in my journal that are not the full 8″ tall if I want it to have sort of a junk journal feel. Take a photo or video once you have the sequence figured out because you are likely to get confused.
Then, trim the pages so they all line up nicely. You will find that the pages in the center of the journal need about an 1/8 or 1/4 inch trimmed off, but the outside pages might be perfect. Be sure to do the trimming before you start embellishing the pages. This is also why it’s good to have a photo or video showing you how they fit together.
Stop and Think About Embellishing
Is this a journal you want to assemble as is and then write in, sketch in, or decorate as time goes by? If so, gather up the supplies to stitch it together.
Is this a journal you want to decorate now with stamps, stencils, embellishments and then assemble so it is ready to give as a gift, even if the gift is to you? It is MUCH easier to decorate the pages before they are sewn into the journal. At this point they are easy to run through a sewing machine, put in a stamp platform or tape down to stencil on. They can also be set aside to dry while you work on the next page. Once they are sewn together it gets much trickier to decorate and work on multiple pages in a row.
If you found this helpful, let me know and I’ll write up more steps in this process.