Are you the type who loves a journal to express yourself? Whether it’s for your daily thoughts, sketches, art, or just keeping organized, I think most of us find a special blank book to be useful – and there’s no better way to truly express yourself than to make your own handmade journal. Using the Sizzix Big Shot, you can emboss and design your own unique journal. Add inks, paints, or other embellishments to make it the only one of its kind!
Supplies needed to create your own DIY Embossed Journal:
• Sizzix Big Shot Plus and Acrylic Cutting Pads
• Your Favorite Embossing Folder (Pictured: “Happy” Textured Impressions Folder)
• Sizzix Paper Leather – 2 sheets trimmed to 9.75 inches x 6.75 inches
• Matboard or Chipboard – 2 pieces trimmed to 8.75 inches x 5.75 inches
• 65# White Card Stock – 26-50 sheets trimmed to 8.5 inches x 5.5 inches
• Permanent Inks, Paints, or Your Favorite Embellishments
• Bone Folder
• Quick-Drying Scrapbook Glue
• Spiral Binding Tool, or .25 inch Hole Punch and .75 inch Spiral Wire Coil
Sizzix paper leather sheets are perfect for this project because a journal will be handled much more often than a project like a greeting card or piece of art. Paper leather is a lot more rugged than card stock, while giving you all the options of paper like die-cutting and embossing. However – you may substitute 110# card stock if you prefer. (Mini journal sizes up to 4.75 x 3.5 inches can be embossed with regular A2-sized folders on the original Big Shot, but for the larger 6×9 size, you will need the larger folder and machine.)
Position your paper leather into the extra-large embossing folder, and place the folder between two acrylic cutting pads, creating a “Sizzix sandwich” of sorts. Use the B-adapter with the Big Shot Plus platform, and roll it through the machine to emboss the paper.
Next, ink it, paint it distress it or embellish it however you like! You’ll need to use permanent inks to prevent bleed, or if (like me) you love using your water-based inks, you will need to finish the papers with a sealant when you’re finished. A few tips to get the inky look of my journal:
Choose 3-4 ink colors within the same family. I used Tim Holtz Distress Inks in shades of orange, pink, red, and brown on my papers, beginning with the lighter shades. I rubbed the ink on an acrylic stamp block, and spritzed it lightly with water to dilute the color. When the lighter base color dried, I used the different ink pads directly on the embossed areas to bring out the texture visually. Because I used a water-based ink, I sprayed the sheets with a matte-finish sealer designed for use with acrylic paints. You should not need to seal permanent inks. Instead of inks, you can also use watercolor paints or markers, or your favorite ink methods. This is YOUR journal – embellish the cover in whatever way expresses YOU!
When the paper leather sheets are dry, you can now wrap your journal covers. Turn the cover sheets upside-down, and place the matboard or chipboard over the paper and center it. Miter the corners, leaving a margin large enough to cover the thickness of the matboard, as shown above. You can accomplish this by simple trimming off the corner of the paper at 45 degree angles, leaving a small space between the edge of the matboard and the cut you make.
When you’ve made all your cuts, cover the matboard with thin, even layer of a quick-drying paper glue, and glue it directly onto the backside of the inked paper cover. Next, run a line of glue along each of the edges of the cover paper, and fold it up and over the edges of the matboard. Use a bone folder to get the paper glued on as smoothly as possible.
When the glue has dried, cover the inside of the matboard with another even coat of paper glue, and center one of your 8.5 x 5.5 inch paper pages on top. Use the bone folder to smooth out any bubbles and get a professional-looking finish. The page will cover any less-than-perfect edges of the cover that are glued to the inside. You’ll be left with a very narrow margin of inked edges, and the matboard will be completely covered. Allow the glue to dry, and then the final step will be to bind the journal.
I have used a spiral-binding tool and .75 inch spiral wire coil to finish my book, but all it does is speed up the process to punch even holes and add the binding. If you don’t already have this tool in your arsenal – not to worry! You can also use a heavy-duty 1/4 inch hole punch to punch holes in your covers and your pages, you can hand-bind a spiral cover as well. Place the coil binding into the holes, and carefully round them closed, until each edge of the binding overlaps slightly.
Your finished journal is already a work of art, but it’s also ready for you to express yourself on the inside! You’ll notice that is journal doesn’t have many pages – just 24 sheets, leaving lots of space on the inside for more than just writing or drawing. If you plan to sketch or write, you can easily add more pages before binding it.
I hope you enjoyed this project – you can probably tell that this one is close to my heart. I love having a unique journal with plenty of blank space for quick ideas and space to experiment. The custom covers make the whole thing look like a store-bought journal instead of a handmade item, making this a beautiful heartfelt gift as well!
Thanks for joining me today!
Have you ever made your own notebook?