How To Turn An Old Book Into A New Journal


Before we get started, I wanted to let you all know that I followed this tutorial basically from start to finish. I hardly deviated from it, besides a few tiny modifications I made simply because I didn’t have certain items on hand.



It seems like a lot, but most households will have a lot of these items on hand already.


To start, use your craft knife to separate the front and back covers from the book. I used the metal ruler as a guide to keep a straight line. It pained me a little to damage a book like this, but I think the result is worth it (think of it as giving new life to a book that would sit unused on a thrift store shelf for years!).

I used 50 sheets of the cardstock paper, trimming it with the paper cutter so it fit appropriately between the two book covers. Then, you’re going to want to clamp it together with your binder clips.


The original tutorial recommended using paint stir sticks from Home Depot on each side of your binder clipped paper. Here is what it looks like:

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This is a step I omitted from the process and immediately regretted it. The wooden sticks keep the pages–even in the middle of the two binder clips–completely flush with one another, leaving no gaps, which ended up in mine. It also prevents excess glue from coating the outer sides of your paper–another issue that happened to me.

Using the clear glue pen, apply liberally to the clamped side of your pages. Wait for it to dry. The original tutorial says 15 minutes, but it took my glue closer to 30-45 minutes to dry, based on how much I had applied. After it dries, apply another coat.

While you’re waiting for the glue to dry, measure the amount of scrapbook paper needed to cover the spine. I measured the black edges of each cover, then added the thickness of my stack of cardstock.


Apply your glue stick liberally to the outside black edges. Line up your book covers and press firmly on to the paper. As soon as you have attached your paper to your covers, flip it over. Apply glue to the overlap at the top and bottom, then flip over and press firmly. You should have a crude example of a gutted book cover!


Next, measure your book lining and cut the scrapbook paper to fit. Apply your glue stick to the inside covers and attach your lining. Once both pieces are attached, bend your covers to create a nice crevice for your pages in the spine.

Remove the binder clips from your paper. Squish a whole ton of glue into the inner spine area of your book. After doing this project, I would recommend a stronger adhesive for this task. A super glue, Gorilla Glue, or maybe even a hot glue gun would work better for this. Press your pages firmly into the spine area, close your book, and clamp shut with binder clips.


I left mine to dry overnight. I would recommend that you do the same! The more drying time, the better. Make sure to wipe away any glue overflow from the outer pages before you clamp your book shut to dry. I learned this mistake the hard way, as I had to pry the outer pages from the inner lining on one of my books and it ended up ripping the paper a bit.


I weighted my books down with additional books, creating a very tight seal.


After letting them dry overnight, I opened my books.

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Ta-Da! Look how adorable they are! Except…


I either mismeasured the paper needed for the floral book, or it was just too fragile, but the spine ended up breaking. I would recommend a more flexible material in the spine, as opposed to scrapbook paper. Perhaps a duct tape spine. Or maybe even a sort of fabric spine, so it is flexible and won’t break as easily.


I used duct tape to repair the spine. I’m not sure how I want to modify it from here. I’m either going to cover it in cute Washi Tape or I might simply paint over it with craft paint.


Here’s what it looks like in its unfinished state:


I’ll think of something! I really wanted to use this floral one as a recipe journal, so I’m hoping I can repair it! I applied Washi Tape to the insides of each cover (at the spine) to cover up the uneven glue job and also provide extra strength to the spine. If nothing else, it makes the inside of the book look more polished and put together.


Overall, I love how these turned out!


The only modifications I would make would be using a stronger adhesive and a sturdier material for the spine. These are very easy to adapt to whatever purpose you need them for and you can make them out of any size book!


It was a fun project that wasn’t too complicated! There was very little “active” crafting. The majority of the time was waiting for the glue to dry!


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