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DIY Journal Cover with Paper Mache

DIY Journal Cover with Paper Mache

I have kept a journal since I was in the eighth grade. Truth be told, I got the idea after watching Cruel Intentions. The impact the journal in that movie made was inspirational. Not that I want anyone to read my journals after I die; I’ve just found it to be an addictive yet healthy habit through the years. It’s a great way to expand my knowledge of writing, vent my frustrations and flush out all of my creative ideas before putting them into action. I go through about 4 journals a year. My journals get toted everywhere with me. So, not only do they have to be sturdy – they also need to be cool to look at. When I have time, I love DIY journal cover projects. For this DIY journal cover, I decided to try paper mache. I’ve tried doing decoupage with newspaper and plain paper and haven’t loved the results. Plus, paper mache with decoupage means an extra sturdy DIY journal cover.

Make a Journal

What you need:

  • Flour
  • Water
  • A thick covered journal. I buy mine @ Barnes & Noble. They always seem to have clearance journals.
  • A plastic bag
  • Pictures
  • Quotes written on paper
  • newspaper
  • A Lighter
  • Decoupage (I use Martha Stewart)

Here’s what I did:

  1. First. Make the paper mache mix for your DIY journal cover. 2 part water + 1 parts flour. Mix well. I did 2 cups water, 1 cup flour but that was definitely more mixture than I needed to complete the journal cover. I think ½ cup flour + 1 cup would be enough.
  2. Excluding the front cover, cover the entire journal with the plastic bag to protect it from the messy paper mache.
  3. Tear pieces of plain printer paper and newspaper in varying shapes and sizes. Note the words that you are tearing out of articles; if possible, locate attractive wording to use.
  4. Dip each piece of paper in the paper mache mix, set each piece of paper on the journal.  Do your best to wrap paper pieces around to the inside of the journal cover so there isn’t loose edges of paper. Let dry.
  5. To add a bit of flare, I burned the edges of my pictures and quotes. I lit a very small section of the paper on fire but not enough to have a flame. Then I blow it out before it gets too close to my written words.
  6. Once the paper mache was dry, I put a coating of decoupage over it. Pay close attention to the edges and if necessary put some decoupage underneath the paper mache. Sometimes, the paper mache DIY journal cover will separate from the original journal cover. The decoupage will seal the DIY cover to the original journal cover. Let the decoupage dry according to the bottle’s directions
  7. Then organize the pictures and quotes on your journal however you’d like. I take pictures of a variety of position options, look at the photos and decide which I like the best. Then decoupage everything in place.
  8.  I was fortunate that @JasonSchnaidt hooked me up with some tiny Swarovski crystals, so I used them in place of o’s in the quotes that I wrote out.
  9. Repeat these steps again on the back if you’d like a two-sides DIY journal cover.

make a journal

I still have to create the back of my DIY journal cover, but I love the front that I created. The water tower can be seen near Wayne State University on Woodward. The window picture was taken at the Packard Plant in Detroit, Mich.


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