A Handmade Art Journal – Part 1

I am almost finished using all the pages in the  art journal that my friend made me.  I have really enjoyed the size of this journal – each page is approximately 6 x 8 inches.


There is something magical about a handmade journal.  So I have decided to try to make my own journal and show you how – as you might want to make one too!  🙂

I have been promising Margaret at Yuba Gold, (I love her nature paintings with such rich, vibrant colors!) that I would show her how to make one so here goes!

I started by gathering a few supplies:


I think a bone folder is really handy to have but it isn’t necessary.  I usually like to tear my papers but you may want to use scissors.  A ruler is necessary so you measure accurately.

You will next need to decide on the paper you want to use in your journal.  I decided to use 140-lb COLD and HOT press watercolor paper for variety.

I  started with a large sheet of watercolor paper – 22 x 30 inches.  I don’t like to waste paper so I chose to make my journal pages a little smaller in size than the one my friend made me.  Here is how I folded and cut (tear) my large piece of watercolor paper:


First, I folded my paper in half and tore (or cut) the paper so I have two halves that are     22 x 15 inches:


I continued to evenly fold and tear my paper so that I am left with a folded size as below:


After I had three folded papers, I could make what is called a “signature” in the book world.  (See photo below).  I covered my signature with tissue paper (so the papers stayed clean) and stacked several heavy books on them:

Since I don’t have a paper press, weighted books are the cheap alternative!  It helps to weight the signatures so they are relaxed before you punch holes in them.

I decided to make a total of six signatures like my current journal:


I will do some research and discuss some ideas for making a journal cover in 2 weeks on September 15th.

I hope you found this information helpful on how to start making your own journal.

Happy September!  🙂

33 responses to “A Handmade Art Journal – Part 1

  1. Looking forward to the rest of the process. Happy September to you too! (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great to see the process and I love the shadowing on the leaves!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. These hand made journals are nice indeed. I have played a bit with those in the past and enjoyed using something I made myself. The unusual stitching in particular and being free to pick thread color was nice. Enjoy your new hand made art journal!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What s lovely idea

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh you have started your tutorial!…..I am glad that you are going bit by bit, it gives me a chance to gather my stuff and get started. I am thinking that since I do art and I journal (personal journals 32 of them! and artist journals.. 4) I might as well do a journal of a specific topic or genre. I’ll come up with something. I love this! I can’t wait to get started. I also am thinking that these kind of journals would be a hand down to give my daughters an idea what a day in the life of artist Mom was like. What do you specifically like to put in yours? I need to do a little research on other blogs and sites that pertain to this kind of journaling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Surprise! 😃 Glad you liked it, Margaret. 😍 I keep personal journals too. ❤️ I have several journals going at once. Since this was my first one with watercolor paper, I filled a lot of it with nature studies. Of course it helped that Charlie was doing World Watercolor Month in July so I was more motivated to create something in watercolor daily for a month. 🎨💕. I think this would be a very special gift to give to your children to share about you. 💜😊 I look forward to hearing what subjects you want to pursue for your handmade journal! 💐🌈🎉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This looks wonderful!
    I like to make my own sketchbooks too with different sorts of papers:-)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is so cool! I’ve often considered trying this, but haven’t found the time yet. Really wonderful and informative post for when I do though!! Thanks, Jill! 😃💕

    Liked by 1 person

  8. gorgeous and wonderful!! love this.
    I’d love to do this…… geesh I don’t know when…. And, you’ve done a brilliant job Jill 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Debi! 😊 I understand – it’s so hard to find time for ALL our interests!! 😉🎨 Thanks for your kind words. This took me awhile to explain. It is much easier to do than explain my process. Lol! 😍

      Liked by 1 person

      • it is something, I have wanted to do for some time Jill. so it is lovely to see you working at it and creating such beauty from it. makes me smile. ie it is a vicarious way of participation atm! cheers, Debi

        Liked by 1 person

  9. How groovy is that Jill! Love that book and your ginko leaves with those lovely cast shadows:)


  10. I’m a bit behind…okay. A lot behind! But I’m here. Finally!!
    I love the Ginko leaves! I have a Ginko tree in my front yard! I’ve come to love it, and read the season by it.
    How cool to make your own journal! I’ve only done that with a composition book. I’m book-marking this post so I can find it in the future when I want to make my own watercolor journal!
    Looking forward to part 2!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Raining Dots | Jill's Art Journal

  12. Pingback: A Handmade Journal – Part 2 | Jill's Art Journal

  13. Pingback: A Handmade Journal – Done! | Jill's Art Journal

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