Altered Journal Tutorial

We are often asked how we make the recovery journals that we donate, so here is a tutorial!  It’s easy, fun and the creativity is endless!

I am in love with My Mind’s Eye paper lately and they so graciously helped us with supplies this year with some amazing discounts, so that is what I am using for this journal and for most of the photos listed.

Before we get started let me note that these journals need to be able to take some wear and tear without coming apart, so don’t be stingy with the adhesive.  You need something that sticks well and will last and you need to go all the way around your pieces so they are sure to stay in place.  :)

So here is what you need:

  • composition notebook (In the school supply area of most stores)
  • 2 pieces of fun paper (8.5 x 11  or 12×12)
  • 2 pieces of cardstock or paper for the inside (7 1/4 x 9 1/2)
  • 1 strip of 3″ x 9 3/4 ” paper for the binding
  • 1/2 inch accent strip for binding (optional)
  • embellishments
  • packing tape
  • tape runner or strong adhesive


Run your tape runner all the way around the sides of the front of the journal.  Place your paper on the top of the journal and press down. 8.5 x 11 paper is perfect as you do not need to cut it, but 12×12 can be cut down to 8 x 12.


When you open your journal, this is what you will see.  We are just going to fold in the flaps and tape it down with packing tape.


Start with the corners.


Then fold in the top, bottom and side.  Hold it down with packing tape so it is assured not to come off. Don’t worry, you won’t see it when we are done.   :)


See.  It looks amazing already  :)


Then do the same thing to the back.


Okay, let’s move on to the binding strip.  It needs to be the length of your journal.  Composition notebooks are sometimes a little bit different so you may need to measure yours but the standard is 9 3/4″ tall.  I use a 9 3/4″ x 3 ” strip for the binding.

Paper is the easier thing to use because it sticks so well.  Cardstock works also you just might need to reinforce it with some stronger adhesive such as Beacon’s 3 & 1 craft glue.

The black strip you see is just a cute little accent and easy to add but you can leave it out if you like. It measures 9 3/4″ x 1/2″


Run adhesive all the way down the accent strip first and then place the 3″ strip on top of the black strip.  I find it easier to line up this way.




Now run adhesive all the way around the entire binding.


Grab you journal and place the front side (the side with the black strip) along the front of your journal. You can measure and mark the sides or use the designs of the paper to line it up straight.


Then flip it over and run another line of adhesive along the spine of the book itself.  You will also be able to see how straight your strip is.


Then just simply fold it over and press it down a bit to make sure it is nice and snug.


Okay, we are ready for the fun part!  It’s so open and ready for embellishments.  The options here are endless.  Brads and eyelets will go all the way through the journal cover also, making things really secure.


Okay, let’s add our embellishments.  Here I used some more “On the Bright Side” paper by My Mind’s Eye, a layered flower I made with a sizzix die and some cork and a cute sign I made with some buttons, yarn, a sticker and some brads.  :)

god is good

We are almost done!  Now that we are done decorating, we need to cover the inside covers on the front and back.  I am matching the inside front with the binding color. Cut the inside piece to 7 1/4 x 9 1/2.  This piece should be a touch smaller than the book itself.


Here is another place where you need to be generous with the adhesive.  Go all the way around the edges and in the center a bit.  I like to round my corners just because it looks nice.

17 (2)

Line it up along the papered edge so it’s straight and press it down.  You can close the book and run your hand along the outside to help stick it down also.


Do the same thing in the back.


And there you have it!  Your completed altered journal.

god is good



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