Last year, I saw Serena from ThriftDiving.com post about how she made a personalized journal with wood. I loved how her journal looked, and I’ve been wanting to make one ever since. Unfortunately, I don’t have a wood burning tool, so I decided to carve the cover design into the wood instead of burning it.
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Make the Wood Journal Cover
I started with a single piece of 1/4-inch plywood that was 12X12 inches. Since I wanted my journal to be 6 inches wide by 8 inches long, I cut two pieces of wood that size from my plywood. I used a mitre saw to cut it, but you can use any saw or even a utility knife to cut it. Plywood this thin is very easy to cut.
Then I got out my Dremel rotary tool and some scrap wood, and practiced making design and letters in the wood. Once I had the hang of it, I wrote the word “Journal” on my plywood, and started carving it slowly with a very fine tip Dremel bit (#191). Once the word was thinly carved, I put in a wider bit (#84922) and carved into the letters even more. I spent about 20 minutes carving the letters over and over until they had a look that I wanted.
From my experience, you can’t expect perfect letters. Maybe someone with a steadier hand than I have could make the letters look a little more even. But I like that it looks handmade instead of machine-carved.
After carving the wood, I stained it with Varathane Worn Navy wood stain. I used a rag to wipe on the stain, and pushed a lot of stain into the carved letters, so they would stand out more. Then I used the same rag, and wiped off any excess stain.
Once the stain was dry, I lightly sanded both pieces of plywood with a 220 grit sandpaper to make the letters stand out even more.
Create the Journal Insides
I bought some thicker cotton paper, instead of using copy paper, to make the journal more elegant. I cut it down to fit inside of the wood covers, 5 1/2 by 7 1/2 inches. There were 40 sheets, which made 80 pages in the journal. I also used a tan decorative cardstock paper to make end pages.
I only wanted two holes in the paper, so I took my 3-hole punch and put a tape mark between the bottom two holes. When I punched the paper, I lined the bottom up with that tape mark so that the holes would be in the same location on all of the pages.
Assemble the Wood Journal
With all of the parts ready, I assembled my custom wood journal. I put the tan end pages on the top and bottom of the white pages, then added the front and back plywood covers. I lined up the holes and attached the binder rings through the holes.
Here it is all put together. I love the texture of the wood grain. And I also love how practical it is—you don’t need to put it on a hard surface to write on it. The plywood is solid enough, that you can write in this little journal anytime and anywhere.