Friday, January 18, 2013

Recycled Handmade Journal

I'm sorry I haven't posted anything in a week. I missed Sexy Vegetarian Thursday, which I feel awful about, but I'm in a bit of a funk this week. Mr. J is traveling for his research and not having him around throws me off. But, it's more than just missing my main guy. I feel so drained physically, mentally, and emotionally (work is kicking my butt). I haven't cooked at all since Tuesday (leftovers have been a godsend) and haven't crafted in at least two weeks. What have I been doing, you ask?

Let's just say I come home from work, heat up leftovers, park my butt in a chair, and watch Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory, or How I Met Your Mother. Laughing until you think you're going to throw up is medicinal, right?

I need to pull a Stella and get my groove back.

In the meantime, I want to share this easy craft tutorial with you so you can make your very own journal using recycled materials! A friend, Jess, came to visit me before Christmas and noticed the kitchen journal I made myself in 2011 (I'll share a pic of that soon. Mr J took our only good camera with him on his trip). While she admired it, I told her I use it to write down recipes I make up. I then proceeded to not-so-subtly hint that she shouldn't make herself one because Christmas was around the corner. I'm smooth like that. The key to keeping this project simple is to use what you have!

Recycled Handmade Journal

1. Select and cut your cardboard.
 Look through your recycling bin until you find some thin cardboard to use for your journal covers. As you can tell, I used a popcorn box. (Funny story: this particular popcorn box followed us from college [mind you, we graduated almost two years ago] and John had already owned it for awhile. Needless to say, I finally got fed up of having it around and finally chucked it's gross, unpoppable contents.)

Cut two pieces of cardboard so they are 5.5" wide and 8" long, as shown below. You'll also want to cut an additional circle that about 2.75" in diameter. You'll see why later.

2. Select and cut paper to cover the cardboard.
 Dig out some pretty scrapbook or craft paper you haven't found a use for yet. I have a ton of scrapbooking paper, so it was easy to find this lovely green paper with a silver floral design for the outside of the covers and a solid silver for the inside. Trace your pieces of cardboard onto the respective sheets of paper and cut. You'll need six pieces in all: two for the outermost sides, two for the innermost sides (pictured), and two circular pieces.

3. Paste the paper onto the cardboard. Let dry for 30 minutes.
 Use scrapbooking glue or something similar to paste the paper pieces to the cardboard (don't forget about your little circle! Cover that, too) You'll want to let these dry for at least 30 minutes under some pressure so the cardboard dries flat. I placed some books on top of my pieces. (I actually set this project aside for a couple of days. It's safe to say they were ready by then!)

4. Decorate the front cover
 You can be as fancy or minimalist as you like. My friend Jess has a classic, sophisticated taste, so I wanted two statement pieces that had clean lines. I used Scrabble tiles to spell out her initials and used E6000 to glue them to the top center of the cover. Next, I made a horizontal line to help break up the cover's length. I used dots of scrapbooking glue to tack down white satin ribbon I found in my craft drawer. I made sure the ribbon was long enough to wrap completely around and just barely overlap (picture of inside cover below). I then, very carefully, glued craft cord on top of the ribbon. Remember to make use of what you already have in your craft box/drawer/desk/room and get creative!

5.Design the inside cover.
I slightly overlapped the ribbon and glued it down. I then made a cute little bow with the craft cord before gluing that down, too.

 6. Decorate and attach the bookmark.
It's more of a design element than a bookmark, but whatever. Use a hole punch to make a hole in the top right corner of the BACK COVER. Decorate your circular piece of paper-covered cardboard. I used the craft cord and scrapbooking glue to make a line around the circle with another little bow. Punch a hole near the outer rim of the circle. Use a small length of ribbon, cord, or whatever you have to connect the circle to the back cover. You can personalize the bookmark further by writing the gift-receiver's name or a sweet little note!

7. Punch holes in the covers to create a spine.
Place your front cover atop your back cover, putting inside covers together. Use a pencil to mark where the holes should be on each piece so the two pieces line up. Punch the holes.

8. Cut pages and connect them to covers.
Now you have to stuff your journal with pages! I have a couple of little notebooks lying around and one lost it's cover many moons ago. I took 30 pages from that journal for Jess's. Cut the paper so it just smaller than the covers and punch holes in each page so they line up with the cover holes. Use cord, ribbon, etc. to thread the pages and tie them to the covers. This is the part that takes the longest.

VOILA! You've created a simple, adorable journal with recycled products and love.