Basic Tutorial for a Journal with a Rigid Cover and Spine

This tutorial shows you how to make a rigid journal cover using the covers that are included with some of my printable journal kits.

Get Started

You can find a list of supplies and resources here.

Print out the cover page and the spine of your Printable Journal, and trim to size. Cut the cover in half.

Recommended Papers
When making a rigid journal cover, use either 110lb cardstock or 67lb cardstock (or around that thickness).

Taking Flight Printable Journal

Cut a piece of cardboard the same size as the total width and height of the cover. Make a crease in the cardboard down both sides of the spine using a paper creasing tool.

I used an old pizza box which already had a narrow creased area down the center. The creased center is slightly wider than the printed spine however it won’t make much difference.

Taking Flight Printable Journal

Cut a piece of decorative paper that is about 1″ larger in width and height than the book cover. I used a piece of scrapbooking paper which wasn’t wide enough to cut in one piece, so I cut it out in sections – back and front cover, and spine.

Taking Flight Printable Journal

Glue the decorative paper to one side of the cardboard. This will be the inside of the cover. I like to use Yes Paste for gluing paper because it doesn’t wrinkle or bubble like some other glues and mediums, when gluing large sections of paper.

Taking Flight Printable Journal

Completely cover one side of the cardboard with glue. Yes Paste is very thick so I like to spread it using an old credit card.

Taking Flight Printable Journal

Once the glue is applied, position the decorative paper. Cover the spine section first.

Taking Flight Printable Journal

Then add the cover sections. If necessary, burnish the paper using an old credit card to remove any wrinkles. If using Yes Paste, the paper won’t need to be burnished too much and it will lie perfectly flat.

Taking Flight Printable Journal

Make sure to add some glue underneath the overlapping edges of the paper.

Taking Flight Printable Journal

Fold the edges of the decorative over to the other side. Fold the corners in, or cut them on a mitre.

Taking Flight Printable Journal

Glue the edges.

Taking Flight Printable Journal

Cut another narrow piece of decorative paper to cover the outside spine area. Apply some glue and center the paper over the spine area.

Taking Flight Printable Journal

Add glue to the left and right sections, and position the printed covers.

Taking Flight Printable Journal

Fold the book into shape and allow the glue to dry.

Taking Flight Printable Journal

Print out the signature hole template for the cover, and position it over the spine on the outside of the cover. Use binder clips to hold in place at the top and bottom.

Taking Flight Printable Journal

Using an awl, punch all the holes.

Taking Flight Printable Journal

Taking Flight Printable Journal

Make 3 signatures (sets of pages).

Recommended Papers
For a monthly journal, print the pages onto cardstock and use 3 double pages per signature for a total of 12 single pages. 3 signatures will give you 36 pages in total which is more than enough if using one page per day for the month.

For a writing journal using copy paper, you should be able to use 5-6 pages per signature (or even more depending on the thickness of the paper).

Taking Flight Printable Journal

Position the signature hole template for the pages, and using an awl, punch all the holes.

Taking Flight Printable Journal

Cut a piece of strong embroidery thread or book binding thread approximately 36″ long. Using a large embroidery needle start sewing at the center top on the outside. Leave a tail approximately 10″ long and push the needle through to the inside.

Taking Flight Printable Journal

Push the needle back through the next hole to the outside.

Taking Flight Printable Journal

Continue sewing in this way to the bottom …

Taking Flight Printable Journal

… then back up to the top. Tie off in a knot on the outside of the cover. The long tails can be used to add beads or charms that can dangle on the outside, or flip them over the top of the spine and use them as bookmarks.

Taking Flight Printable Journal

Sew the other two signatures in the same way.

Taking Flight Printable Journal

And you’re done!

Taking Flight Printable Journal

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