How I Make My Upcycled Journals

journals making processes videos

My YouTube video this week was showing you how I make my upcycled journals.
So in this blog post I'm going to talk you through the process, but if you'd like to go and watch the video just click on the photo below.

Step 1

Firstly I find a hardback book. I find these mostly on 'eBay' or 'World of Books'. They are used and aged and some are more battered and have damage on the spine. I don't mind this as I replace the spines and feel like I'm giving the book a new lease of life, plus I think the aged look adds character to the finished journal. I then go to my fabric stash and find some fabric that I think matches and compliments the book cover.

Step 2

Next I remove the book covers from the spine and take the pages out carefully too, as I like to include all the original book pages in the final journal.

Step 3

I then need to trim the covers so they are neat and straight. I cut them carefully with a metal ruler and craft knife on a cutting mat.


Step 4

The material I use for the spine is called Kraft-Tex. It's perfect for this job as it's supple but is really strong and doesn't tear. 

Step 5

I cut the Kraft-Tex to size. I measure how much it will overlap the covers, I do it 1.5cm on this one as I don't want to cover up too much of the cover picture. Then add on the width of the spine, for this size book I normally do around a 6cm spine. 

Step 6

After cutting to the right height and width, I then need to crease and fold it. So I measure 1.5cm in from each long side and crease. 

Then fold and use a bone folder to press the fold down. 

That's the base of the spine made and next I glue it together.


Step 7

So I glue it together with PVA glue. I glue one cover to the spine and then leave it to dry. I found when I try to glue both covers at the same time, they move and I get in a bit of a mess, so I found this is the best way.

I weigh it down while it dries just to make sure it sticks down well.

Here I've glued both covers to the new spine and it's all dry and ready for the fabric.

Step 8

So the final step in this part 1 video is gluing the fabric to the spine.

I cut the fabric about 4mm wider than the Kraft-Tex spine. Then the length needs to be able to wrap around and then overlap about 1cm on the inside of the book.

I use PVA glue again to stick the fabric down. 

I smooth the fabric down and make sure its straight and there are no wrinkles.

Once that has dried I turn the book over and glue the fabric to the inside. I have cut the fabric to overlap about a centimetre so it looks neat. 

So at the end of this 8 step process I have a lovely new journal cover. Ready to have the signatures added and to begin it's new exciting life.

Part 2 of my video will be going up next Tuesday (10th August) and I will have a blog post to go with that video out next Wednesday (11th August). 

I hope you have enjoyed seeing how I make my journals and maybe fancy giving it a go yourself. I will leave a list below of everything I used in this process so far, but feel free to use different materials or tools if they work better for you or you have them to hand.


  • Hardcover book - any size is fine. 
  • Kraft-tex - you could also just use card or even fabric with some interfacing to make it a bit more rigid.
  • Fabric - not too heavy as it will be hard to mould round the spine. 
  • PVA glue - you could use a fabric glue but I found PVA glue a lot easier to use and it does the job very well.


  • Olfa rotary cutter - there are loads of brands available, have a look on Amazon.
  • Omnigrid ruler - again loads on Amazon, search patchwork ruler.
  • Craft knife
  • Glue brush
  • Metal ruler
  • Craft cutting mat

Thank you so much for stopping by today and I look forward to sharing the rest of my process with you next week.

Have a lovely rest of your week and a lovely weekend and I hope you can find some time to be creative.

Take care. Erica x

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