Letterboxing Nature Journal

The other day we talked about Letterboxing. Today, we are sharing a project on how to make a journal that is perfect to take on your letterboxing outings. Of course, you can use the journal for anything, but we thought the natural feel, plus the use of recycled items, made it a perfect companion for our time spent on the trail! We used our Snail Applique but you can decorate the journal any way you’d like.

This is a great, eco-friendly project. You can use recycled materials for the covers, inside pages and elastic band. We used a cereal box, printer paper that had minimal printing on one side and a rubber band that came on our broccoli stems. The stick was found in our backyard. The only new materials we used were a few sheets of decorative scrapbooking paper, but you could use any left over scrap paper. Another thing we love about this journal is how it is bound. You can undo the binding and change out the center sheets of paper if you would like… reusing your cover pages again and again.

Directions:

Take a sheet of 8.5″ x 11″ paper and cut it in half lengthwise creating a 4.25″ x 11″ piece of paper. You can reuse paper that has been printed on one side. Fold in half to 4.25″ x 5.5″ (printed side on the inside). Stack several sheets together. This will make the pages of your book. They will be double thick to help stop the stamp ink from bleeding through.

Punch holes in the open side 1/2” from the edges. If you have a lot of pages it will be difficult to punch through… so as long as you are careful lining up the edges you can just do a couple pages at a time.

To do the front and back cover, cut two piece of thin cardboard from either a cereal box, album cover, or an old folder to 5″ x 6″.

Decorate the cardboard with paper. To do this, cut a sheet of paper to 6″ x 6.5″. Glue the cardboard down in the center of the paper, wrong sides together, with one short side lined up, the three other sides with a 1/2” overlap. Fold the two corners of the paper in at a 45 degree angle over the cardboard. Glue the corners down.

Fold the three edges of the paper over all the way around and glue down.

You can now cut a 4.5″ x 5.75″ piece of plain paper to cover the inside of the covers and hide the folded down pieces, again line up the one short side exactly. Make a back cover to match.

Punch holes in the covers by using the pages as a guide.

Line up the gutter edge, and vertically center the pages. Crease the front cover one inch in from the edge with the holes so it bends freely to open. Decorate the front as you wish.

I reduced the Caterpillar Applique to 5″ x 5″ to fit on the cover (83%). I lined up everything with the outside edge (away from the holes) and glued it to the cover as if it were appliqued. Add any extra details you would like with a fine point permanent marker.

Now place your stick on the front side of the journal over the holes. You may need to break your stick to size. From the back, thread one end of the rubber band up through the top hole, going through the back cover, the paper inserts, and the front cover. This can be difficult. A crochet hook can be very helpful. Slip the rubber band over the top end of the stick. From the back, stretch the rubber band, and do the same for the bottom holes.

Your journal is now ready to hit the trails with you! When you fill your journal, simply remove the stick, and add more pages. Replace the stick. Next week we will have a post on how to make your own rubber stamps that can be used for letterboxing.

 

 

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Michelle ~ Wee Folk Art

9 Comments

  1. That’s a really lovely book, Michelle. We’ve never been letterboxing, but it sounds like a lot of fun! The book would also be awesome for a nature journal. It’s so simple and fun!!
    Thank you for sharing!
    Chrissy

  2. I love the bites out of the leaf! ;o)
    Thanks for this tutorial!
    xoxo
    ~ joey ~

  3. When I was a teenager I used to make these with kids I babysat using plain cardboard covers and cut up brown paper bags for the pages and then we’d use them on nature walks through the nearest park or just the neighborhood if they were too far from a park. They turned out very rustic with the stick binding and all the brown. Thanks for reminding me about this fun project!

    1. Love the idea of using brown paper bags. Those would look awesome with the sticks!

  4. Michelle, I was wondering what kind of glue you recommend? I know it might be a silly question, but you never know! Thank you for the inspiration for this project, I have started cutting the cardboard, now off to decided which paper!

    1. Michelle is unavailable until Monday. She'll answer questions when she gets back. In general, we tend to use Aleene's Original Tacky Glue. Sometimes we will water it down a bit if it's too thick for a project. We like it because you can use it on paper, wood, felt, etc and it dries quickly. If she used something else I will make sure she corrects me 🙂 

      1. Thanks Kimara! I think I will try watering it down a little and maybe do a test piece! Thanks for the tips 🙂

  5. I made one of these with my seven-year old son who chose the hedgehog applique block pattern to decorate the front. It turned out so sweet! It’s the first time I’ve used one of your applique patterns, though I’ve long admired them. I’d love some alternate ideas for their use-I’m not a quilter.
    Also, I’d like to request some applique block patterns that feature big sister or brother themes (big and little sister mice?) or families of various animals (a family row of birds on a branch?). If the spirit moves you, of course!! These little nature journals would make great gifts for big brothers and sisters upon the arrival of a new baby.
    Thanks so much for all you offer.

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