Hi! I’m Carly and this is my first post as a blogger/contributor on iggpp :)

As a quick intro, I studied wildlife conservation at UMass Amherst (ZooMass, Slamherst, etct.). I have a deep seeded love of nature, the outdoors, and wildlife. So that will be a lot of my topic coverage! Along with fun crafts and treats for wildlife/pets and such, I love gifting things to my furry/feathery/scaley/whatever friends

So for my first post I will talk about one of my favorite items to have with me in the field and use to record nature related things and observations: A Nature Journal! And because everyone loves crafts, I choose to make mine and will include how to make one in this post!

Nature Journals

Nature journals are awesome and a great way to keep connected with what’s around you in a crafty and/or scientific way. You can really do anything you want with them, from keeping wildlife logs of what you see, writing poetry, sketching, pressing plants, etc. Anything that helps you connect with nature or remember things you saw!

The way I created my nature journal was a combination of a tutorial to make this reusable journal :

reusable journal


Tutorial found here.

And this DIY moleskine journal:

DIY Moleskin


Tutorial found here.

The goal I had in mind was to create a journal that had multiple bundles of paper/more pages permanently in a binding (like the second journal style), but also with the fold over flap (like the first journal).

These were all of the materials I used in creating this hybrid journal:

-standard 8.5″ x 11″ printer paper
-paper cutter
-ruler
-pencil/pen
-xacto knife
-template from first tutorial
-faux leather
-scissors
-needle & thread
-scrap cloth
-craft glue; the type pictured above worked great for me, but any strong, multipurpose glue should work!
-buttons/clasp

My first step for this was to use the template provided from the first journal style to create the cover with the fold over flap. This was all I used from this tutorial pretty much. I did not punch holes in the template like they do for their journal, just cut it out and you’re good for the cover! Because this journal will contain more pages than the original tutorial designed it for, it is helpful to make the template a little longer, especially if you want to make it more pages than what I have done for this tutorial. You don’t have to do this if you follow the amount of pages I used, I found that it still wrapped around fine, just not quite as far around the front.

You can use many types of materials, heavy cloth to leather, etc. I used a faux leather that I had!

For the paper packets, I used simple printer paper, 8.5″ x 11″ cut in half across the long side (making each sheet 8.5″ x 5.5″). I made each bundle contain 5 of these sheets so that when folded in half I would have 10 sheets about 4.25″ x 5.5″ I decided to make my journal 50 pages total, so I used 5 of these folded packets.

Here’s where the moleskine tutorial comes in for sewing the sheets together. I followed the instructions illustrated on page 2 for how to measure the length of thread needed, marked each packet of paper for where I would pre-puncture holes with a sewing needle to make it easier to sew through, and sewed them together according to their instructions! It was a little tricky figuring it out, but it makes sense and is all about making sure the proper crossover happens between the packets of paper so that they are all well connected to each other!

In the end they look like this, except fewer packets:

sewn packets
Image above is from the moleskine tutorial, not my own photo.

At this point I deviate a little to make it work for me in what I wanted. After the packets were well sewn together with the excess thread trimmed to about an inch, I used the packet to roughly measure out a patch of scrap fabric that would cover the exposed thread and overlap the sides a little. I glued the packets along the biding, folding the excess thread towards the center, and covered it with this fabric to help strengthen the binding. I then put glue on the front and back where the fabric would fold over to make it nice and neat. This glue dries fairly quickly so you won’t have to wait long, but I do like to place some books on top of it to help make sure it stays tight, just be sure not to glue it to a table!

I decided at this point that I wanted the first and last page to be a bit sturdier, so I cut out two pieces of cardstock slightly thinner than the page to glue on the front and back, covering the raw edge of the fabric, but not covering all the fabric to the binding.

bound packets

You can see how the cloth covers the binding, where the thread would be, and the edge of the cardstock that I glued to the front and back.

bound packets

Here’s another view of the finished packet all bound and sturdy with cardstock.

Now time for…More glue!! I used the now fully bound paper bundle to measure and mark where I wanted it to be situated in the cover material, giving enough space for the cover to fold over well. Glue along the binding of the paper bundle and press against the cover where you marked and want it to be. I held this in position longer, pressing along the length of the binding to make sure the glue made full contact and stayed where it should till mostly dry. When making multiples of these journals I also set them up between some books to the stayed drying with the binding side up and cover flaps fanned out gently like wings.

In the end you will have something like this:
almost done!

Once dry you are almost done! I like to use two buttons to keep the flap cover shut, just fold the cover to be closed as you’d want it, roughly mark the two button spots, sew them on, and use your xacto knife or scissors to cut button holes in the flap! Its nice using a material that will not fray like leather or faux leather, with cloth materials you may need to sew button holes or use fray check. You could also try magnets or other fancy clasps, its all up to you!

And you officially have your journal! Now go and be one with nature!
Observe! Write! Draw! Scrapbook! Do whatever your heart wills for this journal, nature related or not! But lets all be real here, nature rocks and creating your own personal nature journal is pretty darn sweet! :)

For more inspiration, check out what pinterest and other sites have for making creative journals. I have a personal pin board for nature journals and other paper related crafts here: Papier

Stay crafty Iggles! See you in next months nature-y post :)