This post may contain affiliate links. I may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post at no extra charge to you. Please read our FULL DISCLOSURE

How to Make a Journal for Beginners

An easy step-by-step tutorial on how to make a unique and personalize journal.

diy Mini Jotter Notebook

Journaling is a great way to collect memorabilia, records your thoughts and feelings, document art ideas, and so on. It is also a way to help you rediscover yourself. And in a few months or years, it’s nice to revisit and evaluate yourself how you’ve improved since you write that journal.

There are ready-made journals you can purchase but it is also great to make it from scratch. Making it will give you the option to create a size that you want and even choose the colour scheme and design.

You can search different DIY journal tutorials online, from super easy to advance. In this tutorial I’ll show you a straightforward step-by-step guide on how to make a journal.

How to Make a Journal

DIY Journal

**NOTE: This is an updated blog post with a video that I recently uploaded on our YouTube channel. Thus, the journal that appeared in the video is different from  the picture below.

DIY mini jotter notebook

You’ll need:

Xacto Knife / Cutter
Metal Ruler
Cutting Mat
Cardstock for cover 
I used my watercolour art painted in a 140lb Strathmore Watercolor Paper. While in the video, I used vellum print from MultiCraft.
Paper. It depends on your purpose. If you are planning to only write and draw using a pen or pencil in your journal, then a regular bond paper is fine. But if you are planning to do an art journal, I suggest using a cardstock, watercolour paper or a paper suitable for mixed media art.


1. Cut the cardstock according to your desired size (mine is 8.5 x 5.5 inches).

2. Cut papers, the same size as the cover. I used 5 pieces of paper, which makes 10 leaves of paper inside my mini jotter.

3. Fold the paper inserts in half. Check the photo for the direction of folding the paper.

DIY mini jotter notebook

4. Using a pencil, mark where you will poke a hole for the thread to bind the papers. I scored a half-inch distance.

DIY mini jotter notebook

5. Clip the papers and cover together, making sure that edges are aligned.

6. Slowly poke a hole using the awl in both sides (paper down to cover, then turn it around and poke holes from the cover to inside).

DIY mini jotter notebook

7. Do a basic stitch, running thread from the first hole to the last hole, then going back to the beginning and tie the string. (the picture above shows a black waxed thread, but I realized the thread is too big for needle’s eye, so I ended up using an embroidery thread).

DIY mini jotter notebook

DIY mini jotter notebook


8. Fold the paper individually. Use a Xacto knife and metal ruler to cut and align the paper inserts and the cover.

9. Put some binder clip around it and put you mini jotter under heavy objects to flatten it.

DIY mini jotter notebook


One option is to use a stapler to bind the center. But if you prefer stitching, like what I have shown here, you can lightly wax the thread with beeswax. It can provide lubrication and make the sewing easier.

That’s it! It’s super easy and a very practical way to start journaling. Don’t forget to pin if you like this post.

How to make a journal

Also, you can check my blog post about my favourite tools to start journaling. And you can find my journal entries on my Instagram and journal video playlist on my YouTube Channel.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *