9 Sep

A DIY Journal Gift for the Writer Who Has Everything

Recently, I needed to give someone who I didn’t know a gift. I’d been invited to a double  high school/college graduation party. While I knew the oldest sister, I’d never officially met her younger sister. However, not wanting to be rude, I felt like I should still give them both a gift.

The tricky part was figuring out a gift for the younger sister that wouldn’t come off as cheap, but didn’t kill my bank account, while showed I’d put some thought into the gift, but didn’t take too much time.

A DIY Writing Journal

A DIY Writing Journal

I decided to make her a blank journal. My gift idea was based on this blog post that suggested a clever way to store all those old Holiday cards. The simplicity of the project appealed to me. Plus, I realized, instead of cards, I could use binder clips to hold together blank pages of paper. Viola! My own crafty journal.

For writers, this is a great gift. We can never have too many journals. In addition, it’s the perfect size to fit in a larger purse or school bag. Even better, it can be tailored to the person’s individual needs. For example, you can include all sorts of items in this – as long as they can be hole-punched.

Other items that could be substituted as pages include:

  • Calendar pages
  • Manila file folder dividers
  • Pictures
  • Postcards
  • Plastic binder pages
  • Concert and/or Exhibit Programs
  • Graph Paper
  • Scrapbooking Paper
  • Stickers
  • Movie or Concert Tickets
  • Notes from school friends
  • Maps

Really, only your imagination limits what could be included in this DIY journal project. Here is another similar scrapbooking project that uses binder clips. I found this project just yesterday on Pinterest. In this post, the crafty lady compiled every single paper item from a recent vacation. Then, using manila dividers to segregate each day of her trip, she compiled all the pictures, tickets, post cards into the scrapbook.

Her unique twist was to label the photos with alphabet stickers.

For my own specific twist, I added a ribbon bookmark and used paper clips to divide the pages into various sections. For the ribbon, I used a 1.5-inch wide ribbon and a section of red twine. Then, I arranged the girl’s name in letter beads onto the twine and tied a knot. This added a personalized element to the journal. I wanted to add divider beads between each letter, but I didn’t have any.

I used 8.5 x 6 white, unlined cardstock paper for the majority of my pages. To give some division and style to the journal, I cut scrapbook paper to size. I picked paper with blue and red patterns based on the girl’s high school colors. Then, every couple pages or so, I added an accent sticker. To decorate the cover, I used a large, silhouette sticker of a rose bush with jewel accents.

Here’s a few more pictures of the final DIY writing journal.


Overall, this DIY journal was a quick project. It took me about 30 minutes to put together. It would have been quicker, but I got distracted picking out the paper I wanted to use. I bet it could take closer to 15 minutes, if you were more organized.

Finally, constructing a journal from blank pages gives the person receiving the gift the ability to personalize it as she wishes. She can glue photos to the pages or write entries or even sketch or doodle. That’s what makes this a great gift for any creative person, but it’s really perfect for a writer.


  • I love this–you could make these and sell them. 😉 How was the gift received? I think you should make us these for Christmas–we can pay you. :) LOL

    • Oh! I’m glad you asked that, Sandwich Lady. I meant to mention at the end of the post that a week or two later, I received a thank you note, saying that she really liked it and it would get plenty of use during her first year of college.

      I was thinking they’d make good Christmas presents for you guys! :)

  • Oh yup, I am pinning this to my “journals” board. I LOVE journals. Because I’m cheap (and lazy) I usually buy the college rule composition books, but am going to make one of these for my special notes. Oh– and maybe make one for friends too! 😉

  • Love it! Awesome but fast – that is my kind of project!

  • Awesome. Christmas isn’t that far around the corner, right? :) Thanks for the gift idea.

  • […] DIY Journal for Writers […]

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