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How to Make a Journal | Easy DIY Guide for Beginners

The world is full of pre-made journals. Whether you’re looking for a gratitude journal, travel journal, morning pages, dream journal, or something else, you can buy a pre-printed journal with a step-by-step guide and extensive journaling prompts, ready to roll right off the shelf!

But…what if you want to make your own journal? One that’s personalized to your lifestyle, personal style, and specific needs and goals?

My friend, you’re in luck! Read on to learn how to make a journal of your own that you’ll absolutely love!

Choosing Your Journal and Supplies

When you decide to start journaling, the first step is to select a journal that best suits your intentions, whether it’s capturing memories or keeping organized. Your choice will set the stage for your journaling experience.

Types of Journals

There’s a variety of journal types to consider. For a new journal, think about your purpose: do you want a gratitude journal to reflect on the positives each day, or a custom notebook for all your ideas? 

DIY journal notebooks offer personalization, while a bullet journal is optimal for tracking goals and daily tasks. If art is your haven, then choosing watercolor paper for a journal can support your creativity.

Choosing your journal type is the first step to creating your own journal.

Selecting Supplies

Selecting supplies like scrapbook paper can add a unique touch to each page, while using washi tape for borders and bullet journaling accents can make sections more vivid. If crafting is up your alley, consider a sturdy journal cover for protection and style.

Here’s what you might need:

  • Journal: Choose a durable cover material for longevity.
  • Scrapbook Paper: For creative backgrounds.
  • Washi Tape: For decorative borders.

Embrace your style and purpose to find a journal that’s uniquely yours. With the right journal type and supplies, you’ll be ready to begin your journaling adventure.

Designing Your Journal Layout

Crafting a visually pleasing and functional journal layout is essential. It’s not just about making it look good; it’s also about ensuring practicality through a well-thought-out structure and the addition of creative elements.

Structuring Your Pages

Index Page: Begin by dedicating the first few pages of your journal to an index page.

This acts as a table of contents where you can list topics or sections along with their corresponding page numbers. You’ll be thankful for the quick reference.

Page Numbers: Whether you’re using a printed template or starting from scratch, numbering each page is a must. This simple step will save you time and help you stay organized, especially when locating entries referenced in the index.

Incorporating Creative Elements

Extra Inch of Creativity: Give yourself an extra inch on the page margins for spontaneity.

Use this space to doodle, note key insights, or embellish with stickers and stamps. This margin keeps the main content clean while allowing your creativity to flow without constraints.

Doodling and Drawing: Integrate visual elements like sketches and doodles to express yourself artistically.

Collage: Use magazine cutouts, photos, and other paper elements to create a visual representation of your thoughts and feelings.

Pressed Leaves/Flowers: Add natural elements to your pages for a touch of the outdoors.

Old Books Inspiration: Draw inspiration from old books by adding a vintage touch.

You could include headers with classic typefaces or borders that have a timeless feel. Even incorporating scanned images from old texts or horizontal lines can add an antiquated charm to your journal.

Personalizing Your Journal

Personalizing your journal can transform it into a cherished space for your thoughts and creativity. It’s a great way to make your journal writing experience uniquely yours.

Customizing with Accessories

  • Stickers & Washi Tape: Add a playful touch to your journal’s pages or cover. Stickers can be thematic or simply decorative, while washi tape offers a colorful way to bind pages or create borders.
  • Photos & Ephemera: Incorporate personal photos or items like ticket stubs and postcards to make a junk journal. This is a perfect method to preserve memories alongside your entries.
  • Binder Clips & Bookmarks: Using a binder clip not only keeps your place but can also hold together groups of pages or attach extra items. Custom bookmarks add personality and utility to your journal.
  • Pen Holders: Attach a pen holder to always keep a writing instrument within reach. It’s a handy accessory, especially if you’re often on the move with your mini journals or first bullet journal.

Theming Your Entries

  • Color Coding: Adopt a color scheme for different types of entries. For example, blue for dream journal entries and green for personal growth notes.
  • Templates & Outlines: Pre-designed templates can guide your entries, ensuring your first bullet journal attempt isn’t daunting. Consider different ways to structure your pages, like grids for tracking habits or blank areas for free writing.
  • Typography: Mixing fonts or handwriting styles can emphasize different parts of your entries. It’s also a good idea to vary text size for visual interest and hierarchy.
  • Seasonal Themes: Reflect the time of year in your layouts and decorations. Seasonal themes are a fun and dynamic approach to keep you engaged with your journal writing.

Developing a Writing Habit

Creating a writing habit for your journal can feel daunting, but with the right approach, it turns into a positive change that benefits your mental health and sharpens your writing process. Let’s explore how you can integrate this practice into your daily routine.

Establishing a Routine

To make journaling a consistent part of your life, pinpoint a time of day for your journal entries that aligns with your natural ebb and flow. For many, morning pages can set a positive tone for the day ahead.

Here’s a simple method to find your ideal time:

  1. Reflect on Your Day: Identify when you have a quiet moment – perhaps it’s early morning or late evening.
  2. Set a Specific Time: Commit to writing at this same time every day to incorporate it seamlessly into your daily routine.
  3. Prepare Your Space: Keep your journal and pen handy, creating a dedicated spot for your expressive writing.

Consistency is key. Even on days when it feels challenging, write a few lines to maintain the habit.

Tracking Your Progress

Utilizing a habit tracker is a good idea to visually monitor your journey. A monthly log in your journal can be rewarding and encouraging.

  • Daily Logs: Mark off each day when you complete your journal entry.
  • Mental Milestones: Note days when you feel a particular psychological benefit from journaling.
  • Review: At the end of each month, browse through your tracker and journal entries to assess the positive change in your routine.

Remember, journaling is not just about sticking to a routine; it’s about creating a space for personal growth and understanding. Keep your entries candid and expressive for the most benefit.

Sharing Your Journal

When you decide to share your journal, you’re choosing to open up a part of your personal space to others. This can be a rewarding experience, allowing you to connect with communities and share inspirations.

Engaging with Communities

If you’re a bullet journalist or enjoy keeping a travel journal, joining online communities on social media can offer an easy way to share your experiences. For example, you can dedicate specific days of the week to post insights or updates from your journal.

This not only helps to document important things but also allows you to engage with others in your spare time.

  • Mondays: Could be for sharing motivational quotes or weekly goals.
  • Wednesdays: Share a short paragraph about a mid-week reflection.
  • Fridays: This can be the perfect time to post about your week’s journey.

Be mindful of large print and clear images when sharing scanned pages or photographs from your little book or DIY journals.

Inspirations and Ideas

Finding inspiration can be as simple as looking at the work of Ryder Carroll, the creator of the Bullet Journal method, or browsing through journaling tags on platforms like Instagram or Pinterest.

Always remember to make your journal uniquely yours, and when it comes to sharing tips or creative spreads, keep it concise. Including a short paragraph that explains your technique or the inspiration behind your entries might spark someone else’s creativity.

  • Bullet Points of Inspiration:
    • Theme ideas: seasonal, travel, personal growth
    • Layouts: try a variety of designs to find what works for you
    • Spare time: experiment with different pens and decorations to find your style

Use hashtags relevant to your content to reach others who share your interests.

Who knows? Your journal might just inspire someone else to start their own.

How to Make a Journal | Easy DIY Guide for Beginners

And there you have it…how to make a journal of your very own!

What kind of journal are you making? We can’t wait to hear all about it!

Disclosure: While all opinions are our own, we are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other affiliate advertising programs, designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites, at no additional cost to you.

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