Start Today: Make This Simple Art Journal for 2016’s Happiest Moments

If you asked me to look back over the past year and list some of the best things that happened, I could probably only remember highlights as recently as fall. A lot can happen in a year, after all. A major event for my family was adopting two puppies in late November, but this came only after our beloved 13-year-old Border Collie/Australian Shepherd, Cowgirl, passed away. The puppies are a daily reminder of what was, and what can be–there is great love ahead of us, I know.

How to make an art journal |

It would be nice to have a visual art journal of the best times of a single year to help focus on the joys that aren’t necessarily life-changing events–a laugh when a pet did something silly, a child’s A+ on a hard-earned report, a kind gesture from a colleague or friend.

Now is the time to start such a journal, as we begin a new year. Imagine how amazing it will be to start capturing a joy here and there and reflect back on them 52 weeks from now.

There’s an easy way to begin such an art journal. As you’ll see in this simple mixed-media project from Cloth Paper Scissorsall it takes is a simple manila folder and a few items that you probably already have in your art supply stash.

Making Art From Office Supplies:
A Folder Journal

by Heidi Sekovski and Karin Winter

Come play with us, and unleash the paper artist inside of you. Turn a very plain, everyday manila folder into an art journal that will be enjoyed for many years to come.

Whether you want to keep a craft journal, a travel journal, or even make a different journal for every week of the year, these journals are fun to create, easy to make, and they make a great personal gift, too. With the New Year upon us and resolutions at the top of our to-do lists, we want to share our folder journals with you, in hopes that you will find the inspiration to start keeping some type of journal for yourself.

How to make an art journal |

How to Make an Art Journal: Folding the journal

1. Open the manila folder flat on your work surface and mark and score a line 3″ up from the bottom, creating a horizontal fold line. (Figure 1)

2. Mark and score the folder vertically into four 4.25” wide sections. Disregard the tabs when making these measurements. (Figure 1)

3. Crease the folder at each of the scored lines. Fold along the horizontal line to create the pockets, and then fold on the vertical lines. (Figure 2)

How to make an art journal |

Adding Layers to Your Art Journal

1. Cut the paper to cover your folder. You will need four 8″x4″ pieces to cover all of the long, vertical sections inside the folder. This 8″x4″ size is slightly smaller than the area between the folded lines to keep the paper from creasing in the folds of the journal. If you want the paper to fit exactly, cut the paper 4.25” wide.

2. Loosely tack the 4 pieces of paper to the folder and then fold the pocket flap up. There is no need to glue the papers securely now as you will stitch them in place later. Tip: you can also use old book or magazine pages to cover the folder. Even old photos will work. Add your own personal flair.

3. Cut four 3″x4″ pieces of paper for the pockets. We used coordinating papers for overall consistency in the look of the journal.

4. Loosely tack down the 4 smaller pieces of paper onto the pockets.

5. For the covers, cut two 8.5″x4.5″ pieces of paper. Tack down the papers to the front and back covers. Trim the excess paper around the tabs. Note: You may use any paper you like for your covers, but sturdier paper works best. We started with a 12″x12″ double-sided paper. Don’t fret too much about the design as you will be covering up much of it in later steps.

How to make an art journal |

6. Open the folder flat. Using a sewing machine, stitch along the perimeter of both the pocket side and page side of your folder. (Figure 3) We like to use different colors of thread for this step, and we use a large straight stitch.

7. Fold the pocket section back in place, and then fold the 2 middle pages together to make 1 center page. Stitch along the perimeter of each cover, and the new center page. (Figure 4) You can do additional stitching if desired. For extra interest, we use different colored threads and/or different stitches, often picking threads that purposely do not match the paper so the stitching stands out more.

8. Run an ink pad along the edges of the folder to distress any areas where you can see the folder color peeking through. Find the remaining steps for this art journal in the January/February 2011 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors…


Art Journaling and Lettering, Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques, Paper Art and Zen Doodle


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