January journalling DIY

Inspirational journaling

Resolve to make 2019 your most productive year with the help of journalling. Forget the ‘dear diary…’ days of your teenage years – contemporary journalling is an easy way to get organised and achieve goals while developing a personal source of creative inspiration.

Follow Teri Muncey’s steps to create your journal, then find out how to make it work for you with our tips.


  • Large notebook with plain pages
  • Patterned paper
  • Double-sided sticky tape
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Craft glue
  • Washi tape
  • Coloured card
  • Pom pom trim
  • Letter stickers

Making the journal

Journalling step 1

Journaling step 3

  1. Place your patterned paper print side down and lay the notebook on top – there should be at least 10cm (4″) of paper around the outside.
  2. Use a pencil to mark around the outside of the notebook. Add 5cm (2″) to the marked outline, then cut out. Snip out a triangle shape at each corner, and at either end of where the spine will lie.
  3. Stick double-sided tape around the edges of the outer and inside covers, and along the spine. Glue the middle of the outer covers.
Step 2

Journaling step 4

4. Peel off the tape backing from the outside of your notebook. Place onto the paper, back cover first, then fold around onto the front. Take the tape backing from the inside strips, fold in all edges, then use washi tape to secure.

Journalling step 3

Journaling step 5

5. Cut two squares of coloured card to finish the inside front cover, overlapping the edges of the paper. Glue one in place, then cut the other in half diagonally. Place one half on top of the glued sheet so the diagonal runs from top left to bottom right, then washi tape around all four sides to secure.

Journalling step 4

Journalling step 7

6. Glue a strip of pom pom trim along the diagonal pocket edge. Repeat Step 5 with the inside back cover of the notebook.

7. Use the letter stickers to personalise the front cover.

Personalising your journal

Mollie Makes journal 2019 DIY

The pocket of the calendar is perfect for storing memories and tools!

There are endless ways you can use your journal to organise all aspects of your life. Above and over the page, Teri’s put together some visual inspiration for you, and you can download a selection of her brush lettered page titles here to cut and stick inside your journal.

You could also print our wallpapers (there’s issue 100’s on the blog here) and use them as decorative backgrounds, borders or illustrations.

Here are some of our layouts to get you started:

  • Habits: Start the new year with a new set of positive habits and record your progress each day.
  • To-do lists: Whether it’s a daily, weekly or monthly schedule – or a combination of all three – plan out your tasks and goals.
  • Finances: Set targets to help you save money, or just budget your monthly expenses so you can keep track of your spending.
  • Goals: Is there something you want to achieve this year? Break down the steps you need to take to do this to help focus you.
  • Planning: Organise a trip or holiday, or note down decorating ideas and inspiration for your home, cutting out and pasting in pictures you can annotate.
  • Lists: Make a note of books you’ve always been meaning to read, or films you’d like to watch. When you’ve got some spare time, refer back to it and then tick them off as you finish them.
  • Thoughts: Unwind when you come home by using your journal as a notebook – why not collect inspiring quotes or positive moments from your day?
  • Health: Set up a checklist of things to do each day or each week – this could be exercising regularly, drinking more water, or scheduling time out to relax.

More journalling tips

Journalling tutorial in Mollie Makes

Don’t worry about keeping your journal pages pristine – fill every inch with fun details!


  • Create mini tick lists to help you work towards your goals
  • Paperclip mementos of special occasions to your pages
  • Create a page background by adding an image and applying a thin layer of watercolour on top
  • Invest in a selection of different pens, from brush pens for page headers to fineliners and fountain pens for notes
  • Make Polaroid-style pics by leaving white borders around the edge of your photos

Why should you journal?

Rachel Hazell's book binding DIY

Issue 101’s bookbinding DIY makes these beautiful books which are fab for journalling

Designer-maker Nikki McWilliams tells us how creative journalling has changed her life.

“I started a journal after reading Sarah Barnes’ post about it on her blog. I’d been using a calendar app on my phone but missed the tactile elements of keeping a physical planner, so decided to give it a try.

I use my journal every day as it helps me take stock of my time and stay cool when workloads are heavy. Every evening I write my to-do list for the following day’s tasks so I can hit the ground running when I get up!

My journal incorporates my work and personal activities. It basically organises my whole life! I have pages for long-term planning, as well as daily and monthly checklist-type entries too.

The pages I’ve found most useful so far are those that help me plan my monthly social media content goals, and my self-care. It’s easy to get lost in work, so I like the balance of having business goals alongside personal things like cooking a special meal, making things for fun and spending time with my friends.

If you’re starting a journal, remember it’s important to experiment in the first few weeks. What works for some might not work for you, and that’s OK – the idea behind creating your own journal is that it can be personalised to suit the way you work and live.

I always find starting a fresh sketchbook or notebook daunting, but the secret is just going for it and not worrying about mistakes.

Whenever I think of something new, I add a new section. I’ve just created one to help me train for a half marathon in the spring, as well as one for designing new products over the year.”

We hope you enjoy scribbling and doodling this January. If you need a bit more crafty inspiration, or some papers to decorate your journal with (or a journal itself, issue 101 has a book binding DIY) pick up a copy of this months issue here. Or subscribe to start your year off right!