How to … make a travel journal

Back in June we ran a Family Fun session where the participants made travel journals for recording their summer holiday adventures, and in the process they learnt some elementary bookbinding skills. The journals were very easy to make and had a professional look about them which was very satisfying. We promised to post instructions on how to make one yourself … well it’s taken us a while, but here they are!

What you need:

  • piece of coloured card at least 22cm x 42cm
  • 5 sheets of A4 paper
  • length of strong thread (preferably bookbinder’s thread) about 40cm long
  • needle
  • awl
  • hole punch
  • scissors
  • pencil
  • length of yarn about 1m 25cm long
  • beads (optional)

Step 1

Cut out a piece of card 22cm x 42cm, and then shape it to match the card in the picture below. (Measurements are included in the photograph – click to enlarge). This will be the outside cover of the journal.

Then fold the card to shape the cover. First bring edge A-B over to meet C-H and press down on the middle fold. Now bring edge F-G over the top so that it creates a flap with a fold down C-H. Press down on the fold. Your cover should look like this:

Step 2

Use an awl to punch three holes at equal distances in the cover fold. The middle hole should be midway between edges A-C and B-H. The other two holes should be 5.5 cm from both the edge of the card and the middle hole.

You may find it helpful to place a block of polystyrene beneath the card as you make the holes.

Step 3

Stack the 5 sheets of A4 paper together and fold them all in half, so that they are like the pages of a book. Then unfold them, and make three holes in the centre fold of the stack. The middle hole should be exactly in the centre of the fold (10.5cm from each end). The other two holes should be 5.5cm from the middle hole and 5cm from the edge of the paper respectively.

Now place the paper inside the card cover so that the holes are aligned.

Step 4

Thread a needle, and sew the book together. First send the needle through the middle hole, travelling from the inside of the paper to the outside of the card, leaving a tail free inside.

Next, bring the needle through the bottom hole from outside to inside. Pull taught.

Bring the needle up to the top hole, and send the needle through from inside the book to the outside. Pull taught.

Lastly, bring the needle back through the middle hole, travelling from outside to inside. Pull taught.

Remove the needle, and make sure that there is a tail of thread on either side of the taught thread that runs between the top and bottom holes. Draw the tails together and make a neat double knot around the taught thread. Snip off the ends to make all neat and tidy.

The outside of your journal should look like this:

Step 5

Mark a point on the outside cover halfway along edge F-G, and about 1.5cm in from the edge. Punch a hole through the card (we used a felt punch but an ordinary paper punch will do the trick).

Then take the length of yarn, fold it in half and send the doubled-over end through the punched hole from outside to inside.

Loop the cut ends of the yarn through the doubled-over loop, and pull taught.

If you like, you can decorate the thread by tying on some coloured beads.

Your journal is now ready for you to use!

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