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Project

Customizing a Journal

Made from ordinary composition books, these personalized journals make great kids' crafts and thoughtful gifts -- especially when their covers are designed to inspire their contents.

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Introduction

A color photocopy of a flower-shrub glossary graces Martha's gardening journal, but just about any type of sturdy, decorative paper, including maps and wallpaper, can be used. You might create a children's travel diary, a book of baby's firsts, or a baseball-statistics book for your favorite sports enthusiast. As always, make sure that children use a craft knife only under adult supervision.

Materials

  • Ruler
  • Blank composition book
  • Scissors
  • Patterned paper
  • Glue stick
  • Bone folder
  • Craft knife
  • 2-inch-wide self-adhesive linen tape

Steps

  1. Step 1

    With a ruler, measure the front cover of a blank composition book. Adding 1/2 inch to all sides, measure and cut two pieces of decorative paper to size.

  2. Step 2

    Apply a thin layer of glue to the front cover of the composition book including the spine. Lay a piece of decorative paper patterned side down on a work surface, and carefully center the book's glued cover on the paper. Turn the book over, and use a bone folder to smooth out any wrinkles; let dry. Carefully trim excess paper using a craft knife. Repeat process with book's back cover.

  3. Step 3

    Cut a piece of adhesive linen tape slightly longer than the book's spine. Remove the tape backing, and carefully center the tape along the spine. Adhere the tape to the spine; use a bone folder to smooth out any wrinkles. Carefully trim excess tape using craft knife.

Source
Martha Stewart Living Television

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Reviews (30)

  • diannia50 30 Aug, 2008

    Where do you find the adhesive linen tape?

  • PinkHeart 27 Aug, 2008

    I've been doing this for years; it's really a lot of fun and really easy. However, I'd recommend using spray adhesive--it sticks a LOT better than a glue stick.

  • tlklempel79 21 Aug, 2008

    A quick coat or two of decopage glue (especially along the edges) before binding the book with the linen tape would help protect the surface as well as keep the edges from peeling up. Try the glossy or matte as appropriate for your theme. Beautiful idea MS staff!!

  • bugbug 12 Aug, 2008

    the only thing i would worry about is the edges eventually peeling up. maybe instead of trimming the excess, you could fold it over and glue it down as well? or perhaps line the edges with linen tape too...

  • seejanereed 11 Aug, 2008

    A good substitute for a bone folder is a (used) gift card or a fake credit card (that comes in the mail attached to a credit card offer).

  • maureenmontes 11 Aug, 2008

    This is a great idea,and I already have been doing this,since I saw a cute metalic butterfly composition book in the drug store for $6. and the same store had regular plain ones for 6 for .97 cents!!! Customizing is more fun anyway!

  • mn_mommy 10 Aug, 2008

    To barbless and gagetnana a bone folder is basically a stick used to make nice firm crease you might also use the edge of any ruler/scale. Instead of the linen tape, maybe you could just use some adhesive and ribbon. If you can figure out a way to dress up a spiral binding, Walmart has had 1 subject notebooks on sale for 5 cents each. I've been picking those up to let my toddlers doodle in. This idea of dressing them up is neat. It'll make a great gift for grandparents. Thanks Martha!

  • Seeker 10 Aug, 2008

    gadgetnana, a bone folder is a tool (usually made of cow bone, or more recently plastic) that looks rather like a large popsicle stick. You use this smooth tool to make sharp creases, and to rub over any section that has been glued together - to remove air bubbles and help the pieces adhere better.

  • dawngloss 10 Aug, 2008

    A bone folder is just a flat, plastic-looking stick that people use to make nice creases in things or in this case, to smooth something out. You can use any substitute that you think will suffice.

  • Racque 10 Aug, 2008

    mm

  • Racque 10 Aug, 2008

    If you watch MS crafts, you'll also see her refer to a roll of double stick wide stuff that she uses for this type project. I have found it at misterart.com. Spray glue might work, but on some of these projects, a good glue stick put on smoothly works well. What causes the bumpys on paper coverages like this is the water content in the glues. Which is why some decoupage glues are better than others. Happy sticking!
    mf

  • mwallslawson 10 Aug, 2008

    gadgetnana - a bone folder is basically a stick. Rather than using your fingernail or some similar thing to make a tight line when folding, Martha has decided to market a stick so you can fold things. It's not actually neccessary.
    Great craft idea, but I agree with barbless - she's gone a little marketing haywire. ;)

  • czacza 10 Aug, 2008

    I teach second grade- Every year the students decorate their 'Writers Notebooks' composlition books with photos, stickers, pictures of the things that are important in their lives. It gives the books personallization and the kids can use the pictures on the covers as writing inspiration. I know when second grade ends, families treasure the notebooks!

  • PattyBF 10 Aug, 2008

    I have made these types of journals before and I used duct tape to bind them. Then I painted it with acrylic paint. Seemed to work just fine.

  • LynetteC 10 Aug, 2008

    The best tape to use is "Art Accentz, Terrifically Tacky Tape" available at Michael's and JoAnn's. Works great - but be careful, it is as it says - terrically tacky and once it's stuck it is permanent!

  • barbless 10 Aug, 2008

    Thank you DillyDally, I appreciate your comments. I think Martha Stewart is a very talented, hard-working person. It does seem like she has gone hellbent in the direction of using lots of costly and/or craft-specific supplies. I think this craft is a good example: got to have a specific tape and a bone folder. I appreciate crafters who offer ways of using what one may already have in their possession.

  • gadgetnana 10 Aug, 2008

    This looks like a great project. Can you use spray adhesive as I have found glue sticks to be bumpy? Also what is a bone folder? Is it a manila folder?

  • DillyDally 16 Jul, 2008

    Don't forget, this book is already bound - the tape on the spine is to cover edges of the paper. This can be accomplished by a narrow ribbon covering the edge or even just a good gluing job on a clean cut edge. I have also used japanese momi paper - flexible

  • heatherWV 28 Jun, 2008

    Absolute! highsmith.com, Highsmith Economy Book Repair Tape, Item # W9128722, comes in 11 colors, and postage for complete order is only $5.00. I agree, it would sure be nice if she put her resources at the bottom of the direction pages

  • Grammyto5 13 Jun, 2008

    I believe the tape Martha used can be found at www.talasonline.com. Search for Filmoplast T Tape. Hope this helps!!

  • kraftykris 13 Jun, 2008

    Just another idea to add another touch of class. Put one end of a length of narrow ribbon under the tape at the top. Now you have a ribbon marker for your journal.

  • AdeleinSouthCarolina 22 May, 2008

    I love the craft projects shown on your Martha Stewart Crafts, but I find it frustrating to not have information on sources for items needed to complete projects, i.e. fabric tape for this journal (the store is Talis?). Diagrams, pictures and more step-by-step instructions for each project (like those given for the Carol Duvall SHow projects) would be helpful. Is there anyway these changes can be made????
    AdeleinSouth Carolina

  • AdeleinSouthCarolina 22 May, 2008

    I love the craft projects shown on your Martha Stewart Crafts, but I find it frustrating to not have information on sources for items needed to complete projects, i.e. fabric tape for this journal (the store is Talis?). Diagrams, pictures and more step-by-step instructions for each project (like those given for the Carol Duvall SHow projects) would be helpful. Is there anyway these changes can be made????
    AdeleinSouth Carolina

  • fabuliciousfudge 11 Feb, 2008

    I have been looking for the perfect gifts to give to my new found friends at CURVES, These Journals will be the perfect personal gift to give the Ladies in their Journey to weight loss.
    I'll let you know the out come.

  • litlbitartsy 20 Dec, 2007

    As Martha says.. "Perfect!" Thanks for the find. Exactly what I needed.

  • Cristie 17 Dec, 2007

    Instead of searching for "linen tape" online, I searched for "book repair tape" and had a lot of luck. I especially liked demco.com. The DEMCO Fastape comes in several colors and sizes and is reasonably priced. Hope this helps!

  • litlbitartsy 16 Dec, 2007

    I am confused on the tape part. I went to talasonline and there was too much to go through. I looked at Misterart and couldn't find the colors that she said on the program. I wish her directions included more information and resources for what she has on the show. If anyone can help with a specific link to the colored tapes that she used, please put it on here. Thank you.

  • litlbitartsy 16 Dec, 2007

    I am confused on the tape part. I went to talasonline and there was too much to go through. I looked at Misterart and couldn't find the colors that she said on the program. I wish her directions included more information and resources for what she has on the show. If anyone can help with a specific link to the colored tapes that she used, please put it on here. Thank you.

  • cherrytreepaper 14 Dec, 2007

    I think this is the one - http://www.misterart.com/store/browse/003/cat_id/43/Craft-Supplies-Book-...

  • creekside 14 Dec, 2007

    Where was it that Martha said one could purchase the self-adhesive linen tape.? I had hoped it would have been mentioned here.