Hey there. I’ve been working on this DIY photo journal project I thought you might like to try out. It’s the perfect way to put your photos into everyday use and to create a custom designed notebook to fit into your satchel and fill with photos ideas and sketches.


I used recycled paper for the pages (some lined and unlined) and print your own photos for the front and back cover. Graph paper would be a nice addition along with pages from recycled books or novels that you could collage onto. The design and size is flexible. I made the one you see here 5 x 5-inches since the photos I chose were square plus I like the portable size.


Aside from cutting your pages, cover photos, and craft paper spine to size–all you need is a little craft glue, some clothes pins, an old paintbrush, thin boards, a heavy book, and a little patience to put this project into action. Whether you’re super or mildly crafty type, this journal comes together pretty quickly.


DIY Photo Journal (5 x 5-inches or size of choice)

Stuff you’ll need:
•two photographs printed on photo paper and cut to 5 x 5-inches
•75 or so sheets of 5 x 5-inch paper
•white craft glue (like Mod Podge or Elmer’s) made for paper
•small paintbrush
•two clothespins, binder clips, or clamps
•small sheet of brown craft paper (cut to 5 x 5-inches long and as wide as you would like the journal spine to be)
•sheet of parchment or wax paper
•two small books or thin boards that are at least 5 x 5-inches (or the same size as your journal)
•heavy book (like a dictionary or encyclopedia)


How to assemble the journal:
1. Pick one photo for your front cover and another for your back cover. If you haven’t already, cut all your papers and photos to the final size you want your notebook to be.
2. Place the cover photo on the front, your papers in the middle, and your back photo in the back
3. Shuffle the papers so they’re aligned as much as possible on all four sides, taking care to align the papers evenly on the left side where the journal spine will be
4. Take the two clothespins and clamp them on either side of the left edge of the journal (which will be glued together)
5. Place two small books or boards on either side of the journal below the clothespins which will prop up the journal as you glue the spin


6. Using the paintbrush, paint a smooth layer of glue on the spine. Hold the books or boards in place and allow the glue to dry for a few seconds. Apply a second smooth layer of glue and wait a few more seconds for the papers to dry. If the papers start to bulge in places, squeeze them together with your fingers. Don’t worry if a little glue leaks onto your photos since your craft paper spine will cover the edges.
7. Once the glue has dried, remove the clothespins. The journal should now hold together on its own. If not, repeat the same steps above by adding another layer of glue and allowing it to dry. Fold the sheet of parchment or wax paper in half and place the journal inside the fold, stack the two books or boards on top followed by the heavy book. Let sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the journal to dry completely.
8. Test the spine with your finger to make sure the journal is dry. If not, let the journal sit under the stack of books or boards until dry.

DIY Photo Journal (Tutorial 6)

9. Cut the craft paper to size. It should be the same length as your journal spine and wide enough to create a thick enough spine to wrap around the front and back covers.
10. Wrap the craft paper around the spine and line the paper to the edges. Run your fingers along the paper to crease it to the edges of your journal and fit into place.
11. Brush glue onto the under side of the craft paper, making sure there is enough glue on the edges and center. Match the folded spine creases to your journal and press it onto the spine edge then fold the two side edges over and press the spine into place. If necessary, trim any excess paper off the edges with scissors.
12. Make extras for other projects and to give as gifts.


Aside from new photo gear and film, is there anything better than a brand new notebook ready to be filled with all your photo ideas and sketches? Make one for yourself and a friend while you’re at it. I mean who doesn’t like a thoughtful gift?


Happy Crafting!

Nikki | Art & Lemons