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Journal Covers- Tips and Ideas

Updated on April 20, 2020
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Paper crafting has been my passion since I was a child. I love sharing paper projects, ideas and products. Get more from all your paper .

Creating A Journal Cover

Creating your journal cover is a personal journey. Your cover tells everyone what your journal is about.
Creating your journal cover is a personal journey. Your cover tells everyone what your journal is about. | Source

Journal Cover Basics

No matter if you are altering a book or creating your own journal, creating the perfect journal covers add just the right amount of bling to all your projects.

You can make your journal covers out of just about any material you can think of. You are not bound by any specific material. Let your imagination run wild.

Journal Cover Themes

The cover for your journal may represent the theme of your journal or note book

There are so many ways to use journals. Some of the basic uses might be a travel journal. a personal notebook, a yearly journal. a prayer or Bible journal.gratitude journals and of course art journals. There are also mixed media journal.

People also do nature journals, garden journals and even bird and butterfly journals.

There are planners and bullet journals.

There are also recipe journals and wine journals.

You may very well want to theme your cover to match it's contents. Creating a theme for your journal makes it all that more special.

Things To Consider

You need to consider the type of cover your journal has. You would treat a leather cover differently than a paper or cardboard cover.

You also need to consider the type of adhesives that your cover will need. Paper or cardboard is the easiest to work with. You can use liquid glues and double sided tapes.

What materials will you use on your journal cover? You can use magazine pages, gems. card stock of all types, words and letters-almost anything goes !

Gather what you have and let your creative side go crazy

Use Alphabet Stickers

We all have alphabet stickers left over from different projects. I know that I never have enough vowels. Why not cover your journal with words that inspire you from your theme. Mix and match them have fun !

You cal also use any left over words or sayings you might have laying around

Making A Fabric Journal Cover

Fabric covers are easy to make and the options are endless

Measure and cut the fabric 2" all the way around the journal.- lay the journal open. Set it in the middle of your fabric. Measure 2 inches all the way around and cut the fabric.

  1. Glue the top and bottom pieces. With the notebook centered on the fabric, apply the glue to the top and bottom flaps. Make sure the journal is centered with two inches of fabric on all sides. A foam brush is perfect to spread the glue. But you can use any flat brush you have.Fold the top in first and then do the bottom.
  2. Glue the left and right edges. Apply glue and fold into the back and front covers. You can crease triangles in the corners like a gift wrap to create neat corners. Or you can cut tiny slits to make your corners.
  3. Cover the the raw edges of the inside of the covers. Cut out two pieces of light cardboard or heavy card stock one inch smaller than the measurement of the cover. Cut two pieces of fabric that is 1"-2" larger than the cardboard.
  4. Glue the fabric to the card board. Center the cardboard to the wrong side of the card board. apply glue to the surface of the cardboard apply to the fabric. smooth the fabric on the cardboard. Apply the top and bottom of the fabric as well as the sides.

Following the same directions, you can also use felt.

  1. After applying fabric to both sides of the cardboard, glue them to both inner sides of the journal. Make sure to use plenty of glue. Make sure to center the cardboard pieces before placing them.

Fabric Journal Cover Tip

If you are using a lightweight fabric to cover your journal, you may want to add a muslin fabric between your cover and the journal. That way none of the print or copy from the cover of the journal will show through.

Coloring Pages As a Journal Cover

Decoupage a page that you have colored as a personal touch to your journal. Cover the cover with Modge Podge. Carefully place the colored page on top. Allow to dry and then add another coat of Modge Podge to seal the cover. You can find plenty of free coloring pages in the browser of your internet.

Decoupaged Journal Cover

You can decoupage and add all kinds of embellishments to your decoupaged journal cover
You can decoupage and add all kinds of embellishments to your decoupaged journal cover | Source

Make A Decoupage Cover

This is probably the most popular way to create a journal cover. That's because it it easy to do and does not require a lot of fuss. This method is just right nit only for journal covers, but also for altered book covers. You will want to use a craft sheet on your work surface or some newspapers.


A journal or book

Gesso or white chalk paint

Foam brush

Modge Podge

Embellishments of your choice

  1. Lay open the book with the cover side up. That way you can work on all sides.
  2. Place some scrap paper, parchment paper or waxed paper between the book cover and the first page. That will protect the inside of the book.
  3. Using either some gesso or white chalk paint cover the surface of the journal./book with a coat of paint using a foam brush. The foam brush will assure an even coat. If you are using gesso, you may require a couple of coats of paint.
  4. Allow to completely dry overnight. If you are using gesso, allow the paint to dry-3 to 4 hours before the second coat is added.
  5. Once the base coat is finished, you could add additional coats of any color ot paint you would like to add.
  6. Gather together any embellishments you would like to add. The door is wide open on how you decorate your journal/book. Think about flowers, pictures from a magazine, half beads, stencils, go crazy with your imagination. Look at your stash and see what you already have. Make sure that you have embellishments for the back and spine too.
  7. Arrange the embellishments on the book before gluing them on.
  8. Start with the front cover. Take a foam brush (the foam brush spreads more evenly) and spread a thing coat of Modge Podge on your cover. Add your pieces to the glue and allow to dry several hours.
  9. Once the front is very dry, continue with the spine and back of your journal/book.
  10. Once the book is embellished and dry, return to the front of your book. Add any additional items like jewelry or half beads, sequins,buttons. Use the right tacky glue to add any to your covers.
  11. Now you need to add two additional coats of Modge Podge. Make sure to so each section of your journal allowing each coat to dry before going to the next section
  12. You now have a wonderful one of a kind decoupaged master piece.

How To Make A Decoupaged Journal Cover

Why Not Use Shapes?

You can cut shapes in your electronic cutting machine or die cut some shapes. Mix it up with different types of paper; Use some printed card stock, some glitter paper

Art Journal Using Paint and Paper

Paint is a good option for books and harder cover journals
Paint is a good option for books and harder cover journals | Source

Journal Cover Using Paper And Paint

There are lots of ways to create a journal cover. One of the easiest is to use paint and paper, Most of these supplies you probably have in your stash. This is a perfect project, especially for beginners.


A sketchbook or journal

Gesso or white acrylic paint

Paintbrush or foam brush

Watercolor paint or acrylics


Washi Tape

Printed card stock

Modge Podge


  1. Paint both the front and the back of the journal using the gesso (or white paint) .Use two coats, drying in between.
  2. Use a large brush is you want to add some texture. Texture adds personality to your journal.
  3. Decorate a section of your cover with some watercolors in a pattern of your choice. You can make a triangle in one corner, circles or watever strikes your fancy. Make sure to allow a considerable amount of the white to show,
  4. Let the watercolor dry.
  5. Tear or cut pieces of the washi tape for the edges of your journal. Half the tape will be on the outside and half will be on the inside. Attach the tape to the journal
  6. Now grab your embellishment and design your cover in any way that is pleasing to you. You can add pieces of card stock that you have fussy cut images from it. You can add stickers or any other paper decor that makes you happy.
  7. Once you are happy with the arrangement, glue all the pieces down. You can use Modge Podge or a general white craft glue. Make sure to allow all to dry before going on. It is best to leave stickers to the end
  8. Cover the cover with Modge Podge to seal all the elements. One coast should do just fine. Allow to dry.
  9. Add any stickers

Painting Your Journal Cover Tip

If you are going to paint a spiral notebook or journal, remove the cover before you start painting. You will keep your notebook mess free by taking this one step

How To Paint A Journal Cover

Washi Tape Journal Covers

Washi Tape is so much to use on Journal covers
Washi Tape is so much to use on Journal covers

Washi Tape Covers

It is such a simple idea to cover your journals in washu tape, Easy to do and as decorative or as simple as you chose to make them. You can also use washi tape in random patterns on your covers.

  1. Cover your journal or book with white label paper
  2. Start the pattern of your choice doing both sides of the journal
  3. Allow an inch of overhang on your pieces and cut with a scissor
  4. Press the overhang onto the inside of the journal
  5. Make an insert of white paper. Cut it slightly smaller than the cover
  6. Glue in place with tacky glue.

You can also make stickers with washi tape to use on any of your covers

Washi Tape Journal Cover

Aluminum Foil Imprinted Ideas

You can use embossing folders to create imprints on Aluminum foil to decorate your journal covers
You can use embossing folders to create imprints on Aluminum foil to decorate your journal covers

Aluminum Foil Covers

So simple to make and very personalized.

  1. Take a piece of aluminum foil about 2 " larger that both the back and the front of the book.
  2. Lay the book out flat.
  3. Place the foil over the book.
  4. Flip the book and the foil over
  5. Work the foil ( the extra inches )around the edges of the inside of the book and tape them down. You will want to square the corners.
  6. Decorate the front and or the back of the book with any images, words or letters. Use a strong glue to adhere them....tacky glue should work fine.
  7. Wrap clear packing tape over the entire book including a cople of inches on the inside.
  8. You can use a piece of decorative paper on the inside of the cover to cover up your seams

Metal Embossed Journal Cover

Button Journal Covers

Just some strong tacky glue and some buttons laid out carefully makes this journal cover shine
Just some strong tacky glue and some buttons laid out carefully makes this journal cover shine

Consider Duck Tape For Your Cover

We are not talking about that grey stuff your husband uses. Duck Tape now comes in so many pretty colored and themed prints, this is an easy idea to cover any journal

© 2020 Linda F Correa

Add Your Comments, Thoughts, Ideas And Tips

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    • linfcor profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda F Correa 

      9 months ago from Spring Hill Florida

      I appreciate your comment. I agree. Making beautiful journal and scrapbook covers is like adding the icing on a cake.

    • theviolentheart profile image


      9 months ago

      This was such a nice and detailed article, I always had a huge thing for scrapbooking and maintaining cute journals so thank you for sharing the useful information. Much appreciated.


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