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Earlier, I talked about how I learned to keep a no-frills travel journal and how I found the perfect little notebook while I was in Paris.

Now I want one exactly like it for every trip I take!

Instead of scouring the stores, I realized I could make my own for next to nothing!

Supplies & Specs

This little notebook measures 4 7/8 inches wide by 5 7/8 inches tall. It contains 24 lined pages (or 48 back to back).

You will need:

  • 1 sheet patterned paper
  • 1 sheet cardstock
  • 12 sheets notebook paper
  • glue
  • stapler
  • corner rounder, optional

I used the travel journal I bought in Paris as a pattern to make this new one, but you can make yours any size you like. If you are planning on using standard binder paper, don’t make it more than 5 inches wide.

Supplies, using old travel journal as a pattern.

Travel Journal Tutorial

First, cut your patterned paper and sheet of cardstock out into rectangles. Make the rectangles slightly larger than you need. For example, I needed something 9 3/4 inches wide, so I cut a rectangle that was 10 inches.

The two sheets do not have to match up perfectly! You will correct that later.

Rough cut of cardstock and patterned paper.

The cardstock is used to give the patterned paper some heft so the cover isn’t flimsy. If your patterned paper is heavy on it’s own, you can skip this part.

Glue the patterned paper to the cardstock. I used Mod Podge for this.

Gluing the patterned paper to the cardstock with Mod Podge.

I didn’t want this to ripple at all. I smoothed the layers out with a ruler as I glued.

Then, I set the glued pages in between 2 sheets of newspaper and several heavy books to dry. I figured this would prevent ripples from forming while it dried.

To keep ripples from forming, dry between newspaper and very heavy books.

Next, take the dried piece and trace out how big you want your journal to be. Again, I used my old one as a guide.

Now that it’s dry, trace out how big you want the journal to be.

Cut it out and you should have nice clean edges. If anything comes unglued, touch it up with a glue stick. Fold the cover carefully. If the ends don’t match up exactly, they can be trimmed later.

Fold it over carefully. If the sides don’t match up, they can be trimmed later.

Now, cut your notebook paper. Use the cover of your notebook as a guide. I cut 4 sheets at a time to make sure the cuts were precise.

Use the cover as a guide to measure and cut the binder paper.

Stack the sheets neatly and paper clip them to the cover.

Paper clip the sheets to the cover.

Now to staple: you could take this to an office supply store or copy center and borrow one of their large staplers. I was impatient but my stapler wasn’t long enough to staple the binding.

Solution? I used my bulletin board! I placed the book onto the bulletin board and stapled through the book and into the board.

Stapling through the book into the bulletin board (I was too impatient to wait a day and get a bigger stapler).

Remove the book from the bulletin board and press the staples closed.

Press the staples closed.

Fold the book closed and trim off the excess paper sticking out.

Fold and trim!

Finally, I used a corner-rounder to round all of the corners. This step is optional.

Round the corners (optional).

It’s that simple!

My new little notebook is finished and ready for it’s adventure.

Tips & Ideas

  • Use any patterned paper you have on hand.
  • If the paper is heavy enough, skip the step about gluing it to cardstock.
  • Use whatever lined paper you have around the house to fill the book.
  • Consider using plain paper to make this into a sketchbook!
  • Make several of these and give one to each of your kids for a family trip.
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