Tuesday, February 9, 2010

DIY :: Button and String Mini Journal

I've been trying to decide on what to make my hubby for a Valentine's gift and decided that I wanted to write more than a letter - so I decided to make him a mini journal / album / book of things I love about him, different memories I have of our life together, things like that (hopefully he won't read this before next weekend ;)). I found this fab tutorial awhile back about button and string closure and somehow wanted to incorporate it, thus I came up with this fun journal - it has a vintage feel - the button and string closure, and a bunch of found papers inside, including old school writing pages, graph paper and strategically cut magazine pages. The fun thing about these journals is you can use them for any occasion- to record a special event, to keep as a personal journal, to write a note to a friend, many possibilities!

First, gather your supplies:
- Cover paper - cut to 11" x 6"
- Inside pages (however many you prefer- I used 7 sheets) cut to 4.25" x 8"
- 2 eyelets (1/8")
- 11" of baker's twine or string
- 2 paper round die cuts - 1" each
- Eyelet punch (1/8"), eyelet setter, hammer and pad
- Stapler and staples
- Scissors
- Ruler
- Paper scorer (if you don't have one you can use a dull object - like a bone folder edge, a pen with the top still on, a butter knife- pressing lightly so as not to rip the paper)

Take your cover sheet and score a line 1.5" in from the right side (see below).

Then score a line 4.75" in from the left side (see below).

Fold your inside pages in half. Now your book cover and pages should look like this:Next, center one of the paper round die cuts on the outside flap (not sure how to explain that, lol- see picture below). Using your eyelet punch and hammer, punch through the die cut and cover sheet at the same time (hole punched should be in the middle of the die cut). Set one of the eyelets through this hole.
Now, fold your cover closed and line up the other paper round die cut about 1" from the other die cut you just set. I made pencil marks as a guide on where to place it once I lined it up.
Using the tutorial over at Erinzam, tie your string or twine around the eyelet (AFTER punching the 1/8" hole in the die cut paper round and putting it on the eyelet), set this eyelet and paper round punch where you just made your pencil marks as a guide.
Now it should look something like this. Trim off the extra string after setting the eyelet. *EDITED* Ok. So somehow my string ended up on TOP of the paper round die cut. I think I just got so excited about making it that I got carried away and forgot to put it UNDER the die cut before setting it. Haha :) So don't make that mistake ;)
Ok, now you need to attach the inside pages. I don't have a super huge stapler punch thing, so I had to get creative. So here's a picture to make you giggle: I stapled the pages to the cover by stapling them to my bulletin board, pulling the book off gently and then folding the staple prongs down carefully inside. If you choose to have a bunch of pages and it's getting all wonky when you try and staple it, you could try hand sewing it with a needle and embroidery thread.
Voila! A string and button mini journal! Now you can decorate and embellish the cover (or leave it blank with a simple title).... add pictures, journaling, mementos. :)I changed my header up top... still trying to decide if it's too "busy".... what do you think? Any thoughts or suggestions? *EDITED* Thank you for the suggestions! I changed it again so that the title was more legible... still trying to decide. Maybe it will grow on me. :)


  1. This project is great! I may make a day planner based on this tutorial. :)

    As for the header, I personally liked the one you had before. It might be a good idea to either 1) fade out the background altogether to make the title more visible or 2) Put a slightly transparent color bar over the background then put your title over the color bar (one of my favorite design solutions).

  2. I love love love little journals and little albums! I'm definelty going to make this. I don't know what I'll do with mine, but I'm going to make it!!! LOL! Thank You for sharing!

  3. this is such a great tutorial! i will be bookmarking for later :)

  4. I loved your idea!

    Thanks for visiting my blog! :)
    Have a nice weekend!


  5. I can't wait to try this out. I always carry a small notebook with me and it is hard to find ones with durable enough covers to stay together at the bottom of my bag. I will definitely use a sturdy paper (or maybe foam core board) to make my next one.

    Yoshi (libertunity from Swapbot)

  6. This is a great notebook, thanks for the tutorial!

    fii from swapbot

  7. I have a thing for making small journals or paper books... this is a great tutorial...thanks for sharing!
    collagecafe04 swapbot

  8. I am definitely going to make this, it would make a lovely gift for someone - thanks so much for posting it as a tutorial

    samuraijen - swap bot

  9. This looks like an awesome project.
    As a beginner at scrapbooking and creating handmade things, I definitely will try this project. I was wonder if you know of way to create this journal with
    like a mini accordion file section...
    I keep little notes everywhere and wanted to make something where I can keep them all together.

  10. I must say that finding 'The Creative Place' as I was searching for creative ways to make a travel journal (I work in luxury travel and leisure industry)this is the place to be! Thank you for this amazing site as this has made me know that I can turn something that I love into an everyday hobby! your work is great and thank you for sharing!

  11. love the closure idea, I may use that soon! Thanks

  12. Cool idea for Teacher Appreciation gifts and teaching kids to express appreciation. Also would make great Mother's/Father's Day gifts! So many uses so little time :)!

  13. I love these little journals. To me anything handmade is special. Especially if it is a specific item for a special someone. Just a suggestion... These would make wonderful little recipe books for those special family heirloom recipes. And would make great Christmas gifts for anyone in the family or special friends.