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How To Turn a Book into a Journal

You can see some of my finished journals in the last 2 posts.  Start with a hardback book.  Just a quick cut with an exacto knife and all the pages are out.  I save the pages and use them to create new pages for the journals and other art.  It’s like a giant stack of awesome scrap paper.

Now you have shell of the book. Decorative tapes and papers can make the inside look more polished.

***Update- I created a full DVD/video download all about making junk journals out of old books so that you can see the process from start to finish and I’ve loaded the video up with all sorts of how to’s for building fun pages to fill it too!  You can find the DVD/download here. ***Junk Journal Workshop unexpected materials for handmade journals dvd carolyn dube

I make sections of paper to write on – just cheap notebook paper.  To make my life easier I sew a stack together then cut off the part with the holes.

Next I cut a 2″ wide strip of paper.  The scraps of beautiful papers work wonderfully here.  Score it and fold it in half.

Put glue all over the back of it and attach to the sewn notebook paper.

Now the flimsy notebook paper is reinforced. It is ready to be put into Zutter’s Bind It All.  Follow the directions that came with your Zutter for how to punch it and bind it.

Punch all of pages.  Just about anything can be punched!

The last page is how the pages will be attached to the cover.  I use a pocket created out of a manilla folder. You can cover it with paint and inks or leave blank for journaling.

Below you can see all of the pages in the binding.  The manilla pocket is attached to the book cover with any heavy tape or strong glue.




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  • Melodie July 28, 2011, 4:30 pm

    Oh…this is JUST FANTASTIC!! I have a bind-it-all and I’m going to jump on this project this weekend…..still reading thru…..

  • Carolyn July 28, 2011, 5:06 pm

    I’d love to see what you create! Please share!

  • adriana August 1, 2011, 11:56 pm

    I LOVE YOUR WORK!! BEATIFUL!! It’s so inspiring..thanks to share it with us!

  • adriana August 2, 2011, 12:02 am

    Beatiful your blog and your work! It’s so inspiring!! Thanks to share it with us!

  • Nidhi December 18, 2017, 2:09 am


  • LYNNE LAMBERT April 22, 2018, 5:09 pm

    I love the sharing of how to make your own journal. I do not own he machine to punch the holes in the paper. Any ideas on what else I could do?

  • Rachel Bowen June 13, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Great idea! Also not expensive!

  • Naile June 25, 2018, 5:59 am

    Amazing idea for homeschool journals. Thank you!

  • Marianne July 12, 2018, 11:30 am

    Just thought you might want to know, the link to your video for making junk books goes to an ad. I hope this wasn’t intentional. I’d like to see the video, if you could send me another link. I bought an old book and am going to try to make a book out of it. Mari

  • MIRTA July 19, 2018, 11:44 pm


  • Fran Quinn December 22, 2018, 1:41 pm

    I’m a little dense. How are the spiral bound paper sections attached to the cover?

  • shirley freeman February 7, 2019, 2:52 pm

    love this. I am going to try this. wish me luck

  • Jules | joyfulartjournaling.com February 9, 2019, 2:34 pm

    Oh wow, I’ve never seen spiral binding inside of an old book cover like this! I’m definitely going to check out the Bind It All. Thanks so much for sharing this tutorial!

  • SuZz April 10, 2019, 10:48 pm

    Your creativity is awesome! Love how you have come up with this as a project which is useful. It might even be great as a gift. A new bride might enjoy pages of her favorite recipes that “mom makes…” OR fun items from a baby shower might begin new parents Baby Scrap Book…
    It can simply be any kind of journal.
    Totally limitless! Love it!

    Now, what do you do with those pages which were excised from the original books???? Have you figured a use?
    Keep Crafting!

  • Susan May 3, 2019, 9:17 pm

    Great ideas!!! Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Patsy Bocook September 16, 2019, 3:09 pm


  • Robin Sherwood October 23, 2019, 10:34 am

    Thank you for this video, it helped more than any other video has. So bless ur heart. Ur laymen’s instructions were awesome. Robin!

  • Susan January 11, 2020, 7:42 pm

    Great idea…I do junk journaling also..but loved your take on it..thank you ? do you have a U Tube channel

  • Sue March 21, 2020, 6:26 pm

    How did you attatch the papers to the book cover please

  • Maggie April 29, 2020, 1:36 am

    Hello! I really like your idea! I wanted to view the video but a 404 pops up. Could you reuploaded it? I would love to see a video demonstration!!

  • Ariane July 1, 2020, 1:16 pm

    How creative! Thanks for sharing this idea.

  • Marion Herud October 15, 2020, 11:06 am

    Thank you! I love this. Cheered me right up.

  • Darlene October 28, 2020, 4:27 pm

    Hi, I always find these types of post interesting and would like to try. My biggest problem, as always, is that I do not have and do not have access to the type of binding machine you refer to. Do you have any other suggestions for alternate types of binding?

  • gs March 10, 2022, 12:17 am

    i loved it…… going to have a blast in my summer vacay

    • gs March 10, 2022, 12:19 am

      i loved it a lot

  • Ariana Allen November 30, 2022, 2:18 pm

    What could you do if you don’t have a bookbinder or a spiral binder could you staple or glue the book that has been sewed to the book without the pages

  • Carole January 8, 2024, 6:28 pm

    I tried to find d the video, it wasn’t there.