Written by ingrid lim


I’m back to show you my DT project for this month, but first, Happy 5th Birthday to Pretty Paper Studio.

My April DT kit.

Because this month is a special month for Pretty Paper Studio, I’m not going to share my usual project life pages. Instead, I will be sharing how I made my “I Am Grateful Journal”, my first 4-signature “junk journal”. Junk journal is a handmade journal made up of scrap papers, papers from magazines, newspapers, old books, brochures, envelops, paper bags, parchment papers, vellum, etc.; and journal covers using old boxes or packagings of cereal, pancake mix, old book covers, or any hard cardboards. I was searching some video tutorials for stitched journals and I stumbled upon Johanna Clough’s You Tube channel and learned about this junk journal which got me interested. On the other note, my take on junk journal is still in the minimalist approach compared to others who create junk journals or those who do junk journaling (a combination of mixed media art and journaling).

Book Cover
I have this habit of keeping boxes or packagings such as those of cereal, cake mix, pancake mix, pasta, biscuits; and, for this project I chose a cornflour box because I wanted to make a smaller junk journal. I planned to make 4 signatures of 3-1/2″ X 6″ and I cut the box to have a little wider than the signatures. I chose a designer cardstock from my DT kit to cover  the front, back and spine. For the inside of the book cover, I have this manila paper bag that I have been keeping for a while (because I knew I will use it one day) and cut it a little smaller than the entire cover. I cut 2 for the sides and 1 for the spine with a 1/2″ extension on both sides as shown here.

Using modpodge, I glued the cardstock and manila paper to cover the box.

I slowly and carefully fold the flaps with the help of my bone folder and avoided folding too much that it can tear the cardstock along the creases. Then I let it dry for a few hours to overnight.

While the book cover was drying, I collected some assorted papers to use for my signatures (sections, gatherings or group of sheets of papers stacked together and folded in half ready for the bookbinding). I used the cardstocks from my DT kit and added a few more scrap cardstocks from my previous DT kits, a tracing sheet, a decorative vellum, a sheet of writing paper, a marker paper, a drawing paper, and a doily. I also included a paper placemat from Dinamico Restaurant which I brought home and a diecut doily from a friend.

I cut the papers into 3-1/2″ X 6″ and I have a few papers that are smaller in size that I also added (you can view the inside in a quick video below). Then divided the assorted papers to make 4 signatures. Afterwards, I arranged the papers in each signature randomly.

This was a bit tedious to do since I stitched 4 signatures with 5 holes each signature. Here are my bookbinding or book stitching essentials.
Thread – I recently love using lace yarn for my bookbinding. I usually use embroidery thread, but when I saw this at Daiso and tried using it for a few times with my mini journals, I have not used other threads. So far it is strong to be used for bookbinding. Although I’m still hoping I could find linen thread from a local store near us.

Needle – I used embroidery needle, a longer one  enough to bind through my papers and cover. I also prefer a needle with slim eye. The eye of the needle are not too thick because a needle with bigger eye is going to stretch the holes.

Push Pins – In lieu of a bookbinding awl or piercing tool which I still don’t have, I used push pins to pierce the holes for my signatures and book cover.

Binder Clips – Binder clips will help secure the pages of my signature while piercing some holes and when I stitch the signatures to the book cover.

For the signatures, I secured all the pages of my signature using a binder clip. Using a ruler and pencil, I lightly marked the 5 points for piercing. I placed a corkboard on top of my cutting mat for additional cushion during piercing and pierced holes through all the pages one signature at a time.

For the book cover, I created 4 rows for my 4 signatures and pierced 5 holes for each row.

And this was the exciting part, stitching everything together. I folded each signature, secure the half part of the folded signature to keep the pages together. One signature at a time, stitched them onto the book cover.

Adding Closure
Instead of using an elastic for the closure, I decided to recycle the brown cord I got from the children’s party we had attended. I punched a hole and attached an eyelet. 

And then, I added some charms from my old stash at the end of the cord.

Lastly, I did a minimal embellishment on the cover. I adhered a die-cut and the title using the alphabet sticker from my DT kit.

And… tada… My finished “I Am Grateful (junk) Journal”.

Journal Entry
One of those blessings I will forever be grateful are my boys. This is my tribe. Without these boys, I will not be complete and I won’t have a family to call my home. 

I may not have everything (materially, financially, mentally or physically) but God is blessing me with many things (big and small) that I am always grateful for. I’m hoping to record and fill this journal with all the things I’m grateful for.

I am also grateful for this opportunity to be a part of Pretty Paper Studio for the second year as a part of the design team. What about you? What are you grateful for?

Here’s a quick video flip through of my junk journal.
(Video created in iMovie)


Thank you for reading through until the end of this post and as I always say, I hope I get to inspire you on your journey to craftiness.


– – – – – – –
We are bringing back our “Show Us What You Made” contest. Pretty Paper Studio is turning 5 years old in April and this contest will run from February until the end of April.

See terms and conditions below:
1. Make a project using supplies you have purchased from our store – www.ppsuae.com.
2. Your purchases can be old or new but your project HAS to be new – made after this contest was announced (February 5, 2017). Please don’t pull out old photos from your archives.
3. Upload them to the Member Gallery on our website. Please list the name of items you have used in your projects in the description. Our tutorial here will guide you on uploading projects to our Gallery.
4. This step is optional – if you share your project on social media, please tag us @ppsuae or use the hashtag #madewithppsuae. Kindly note that your profile has to be public for us to see your projects.
5. We will pick one winner at the end of every month – February, March, and April – and the winner will receive an AED 100 prize pack. Three winners in total.

Happy crafting!!!

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