Make your own art Journal

Heres to 2015! Happy New Year. I have a good feeling about this one guys and I hope you do too. I hope the year brings better things for you all, whatever your current situation. 

So the only diary I kept every day for 365 days was when I was 11 years old. That was it, just one year. That was my peak. Any attempt in the following years fell apart by about March. But when I started university after not keeping a record of any diary like thing for a few years I started a journal. And I've been keeping one ever since. 

I don't enter into my journal everyday. My journals are a collection of thoughts, ideas, sketches, doodles and plans. They suit my tendency for inconsistency perfectly. 

More so, I like making my own journals. I learnt how to bind books at university and it's a great way to customise and have plenty of journal space on the cheap. And here I am going to show you how to make a really simple book to use as a journal, diary, notebook or whatever you wish! 

Time: 20 minutes. 

Stuff: Paper, Binding needle (a regular needle will do), binding thread (regular thread will do), a ruler, sissors or a craft knife, a pencil and some string to tie around. Grab a creasing bone if you have one too (I believe they are just called bones but I couldn't bring myself to type 'grab your bone'). 

Cost: If you have paper, thread and a needle I don't think you'd need to spend anything. You can buy specific binding needles and thread, and paper you want to use but you really don't need to spend a huge amount or anything if you want to make these. 

Difficulty: You can do it. I believe in you. 

Times I accidentally stabbed myself: Just once. 

1. Cut all your paper to the same size. The ones I made here are a regular A6 size when folded so a sheet would be A5 (148mm x 210mm/5.8 x 8.3 in). You can make bigger, smaller, square shaped ones. It's up to you. The paper that will go in the middle will stick out a little when the book is closed. You can trim the middle pages a bit or make whatever you're using as the books cover a little longer. Also cut a spare page out of a thin or spare piece of paper to use as a guide. 

2. Fold each sheet in half individually. Use your bone to press the crease down. You can use your ruler or nail instead.  

3. With your guide sheet find the centre of the spine. Mark a dot there. Find the middle between the centre point and papers edge either side of the centre point. Mark dots there also. You can use a ruler or just fold the sheet as you won't be using this sheet in your actual book. With your needle press through the three dots. Pull the needle right though with the paper closed in half to ensure the hole is created on the spine. Place your marker sheet inside each sheet individually and align with at centre and either one of the edges. Again fold the sheet in half to pull the needle though. Always use your original marker sheet to create the holes. 

4. Once all sheets have holes in the spine you can press your papers. My 'press' is my 2015 'to read' book pile which is heavy enough. Just place the folded sheets under some heavy books for an hour or two. This makes them nice and flat so they won't spring open once bound. You can leave out this step if you just want to get to it and press them for longer at the end. Just make sure your binding is tight. 

5. Place all sheets inside of each other, including cover. Cut a piece of thread long enough to go the length of your spine and be tied. 

You should be able to push the thread through the centre hole from the outside spine into the inside middle page of your book. Leave a little bit of thread outside which you could tape down with masking tape to ensure it doesn't get pulled through. Once your needle is through pull all the excess thread though tightly. Now thread the needle through the top hole and then thread through the bottom hole into the middle spread again. Once in the middle push the needle back through the middle hole to the outside spine again. Each time you thread pull the excess through tightly to make sure the book is well bound. Once you have the two loose ends out of the middle pull once again and tie together in a bow. You can trim any excess thread. 

7. Once the binding is secured place your book back under those heavy things to press it one last time. I would leave it in for a few hours but this will depend on how thick your paper is. You should be able to place it down without it springing open. Tie up with string to keep it sealed, add decoration to your cover. 

What you do inside it now is up to you. Fill it up with diary entries, notes, ideas, drawings, scrapbook collections. 

I've made journals for each season. Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer. Each have paper suiting the season; brown and green for Autumn, grey and white for Winter, parchment and watercolour for Spring and flowered paper for Summer. You could document your holidays or trips. Or theme your writing to different journals. 

I hope this has set ideas and inspiration whirring. Have fun making and filling them up. And lets have a great year!