3 Inexpensive Journals

Did you know that in the Old Testament certain people were filled with the Spirit of God, giving them "skill in all kinds of crafts." (Exodus 35:31, NLT)

Women "who were skilled in sewing and spinning" are even mentioned among these craftspeople. (Exodus 35:25, NLT)

God enjoys creating things, and He has given us that same enjoyment. 

I love using composition books for prayer journals, writing books, or simply for making lists and keeping records. Since I use them everyday, I've found 3 ways to make them more attractive.

1. Removable, Reusable Cloth Covers:

You make these like you would any book cover.

 You can add a pocket and a ribbon as a bookmark.The best feature of this type of cover is that it's can switch it from an old journal to a new one. 
If your cloth is preshrunk, you can even wash it.

2. Decoupage Covers

You'll need Mod Podge, a brush, a notebook, and some type of paper to decoupage.

I covered this one by printing a copy of a map of Budapest
and adding pictures from our time in Budapest.

This would be a great travel journal to give a friend...just download a map from the location your friend will be could even help her get around!

On one of these books, I decoupaged pages from an old Hungarian hymnal. On the other, I used pages from an old dictionary. I don't worry about wrinkles as much with these old book pages because wrinkles add to the vintage look.

The Backs

I decided to put an grommet in one of the books.

I put one on the front and back cover.

Then I threaded a ribbon through creating a tie closure.

3. Starched Covers

 You'll need liquid starch, fabric and a notebook for this craft. I used one of the regular composition books for this, but it's better if you can find a harder covered comp book. These softer covers tend to curl slightly from the starch.

Cut the fabric to the approximate size of the notebook. Dip the fabric in liquid starch. Smooth the cover over the notebook so it is flat without air bubbles.  For more details about this process read "Custom Tray."

 Put pieces of parchment paper between the cover and pages and on top and bottom of the notebook. Then put something heavy on it so it won't curl. Let it dry completely.

  When dry, trim the edges.
 and enjoy your new journal.

Thanks for letting me share these 3 ways to make composition books into journals. While you're on my blog, I have two of my One-Minute devotions that you might want to read:  
1. "Journal is a Verb" which talks about great ways to use journals and includes links to other bloggers' ideas as well as mine. 
2. 8 Reasons to Journal which lists health benefits of journaling.

These are two of my one-minute devotions I post each weekday, so it will only take you two minutes to read both!   If you'd like to subscribe to my weekday 1-minute devotions (it's free) use the feedburner tool on the top of the sidebar.  Gail



  1. gorgeous! i'm inspired :)

    carly @

  2. fun ideas & i join you in thankfulness for His blessed gift of creativity.

  3. This is a great idea. I think so often I just scribble things in a notepad and lose it somewhere. My husband and I were just talking about creating a dream list of what we would like to do in our new home- maybe I will decorate a composition book for us to do this in! Thanks Gail! -Nicole at Working Kansas Homemaker

  4. Great ideas!! I have made journals out of coil bound notebooks as well as composition books. They make great prayer journals! I recover mine with paper, but I love your other ideas here!

  5. I hope you don't mind if I pin this : )

    I'd love it if you'd share this post with my encouraging link-up

    1. I love for you to pin this! and I'll link up too. God bless.

  6. Love these! Very simple to make. The pocket is a great addition!! I'm pinning this for sure. Thanks so much for sharing this at Romance on a Dime.

  7. This is such a sweet post. I wonder how many of these could be translated into a spiral notebook? I don't like the way composition books never lay flat when open. I especially like the fabric cover and idea for a pocket. (I would make loops for pens too!) Great job.

    1. Yes, composition books don't lay as flat as spirals. I suppose this would work on a spiral with an especially thick cover. I like you pen loop idea! Thanks for sharing.

  8. Just simply too cool! I am so doing this!

  9. Super great ideas. I just finished altering two journals. You can see them on my blog as well; and also on YouTube; channel name is nanas2littleangels. I love your decoupage journal.


    1. Thanks, Janet. I just took a look at your blog and your journals. You've really done a lot of work on your journals...lots of little details--very feminine and lacy. I can tell it is a labor of love for you. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Such great ideas! Thanks for sharing. I love to journal. The pocket idea is such a great one.

  11. GREAT ideas!! I am so not a crafty person, at least not with my own invention. But I can follow other's ideas really well. Thanks for sharing this!

  12. Love your project!!!
    I currently have a Craft, Create and Inspire linky party going on, i would love you to stop by and link up this project...

    Claire x

  13. Very cool! Saw you over at A Little Inspiration! Please come link up to my new Saturday BYOB (Bring Your Own Blog) Party! Fantastic idea!

  14. Love your creativeness... I love the text you spoke about also re: God giving His people skill re: crafts. I love to create and this post truly appeals to me.

  15. I just attended a blog conference, and the entire time I was wishing for a cute homemade notebook or journal. So thank you for posting this! :) Thanks for sharing at oopsey daisy!

  16. Thank you for linking up this fabulous project!!!
    This week’s Linky Party is up!!!!
    I hope you will stop by an link up another lovely project..
    Claire x

  17. I love them, especially the first one.

  18. Love this idea! Thank you so much for sharing! I love notebooks and this is such a cute way to make it "mine"!!

  19. These are all so beautiful! I just love the idea and now I am adding this the list of projects I want to start on!

    Taylor @ Mama Has PINK Hair

  20. I really love this - a great idea... I bet teen girls would love to do this for their school notebooks too, to customize and make them pretty!

    Thanks so much for linking up at the Inspiration Monday Party this week! I was so excited to guest host and to get to see so many fabulous new projects and blogs! Have a great week:)

    Krista @ the happy housie

  21. I really love the decopage covers.
    great job!
    with love,

  22. I have a ton of composition nltebooks,in my house and I was looking dor a way to revamo their look. Thanks for the ideas! #SITSsharefest

  23. Pleas stop by at and pick up your "I was featured" button, because you just got featured! I love these notebook ideas - great frugal project. :)

  24. I use composition books all the time - never thought to make them cute - these are wonderful! I am delighted that you shared with Home and Garden Thursday,

  25. I love your ideas as I am a composition book junkie myself! I like the map idea a lot for travel journals. We have a stack of 24 sitting here that I get on the after-school sales and we use them in homeschooling and homemaking and journaling of course! Thanks for taking the time to share some of your inspirational and crafty posts on Art of Home-Making Mondays Gail!


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All Scripture references NIV unless otherwise noted.