Did I ever tell you that Hubs and I got married in St. Lucia? Since then, we’ve enjoyed many trips to the Caribbean, Mexico, U.K. and Europe, as well as within the U.S. I wish I had been smart/diligent enough to document the details of each trip. Now they’re all a blur. Before digital cameras came along, I was better about printing our photos and putting them into albums. Now we have instant gratification. We can view/share digital photos as soon as we snap them, which lessens the urgency to print. Unfortunately, this means I’ve gotten lazy about preserving the memories of our travels (among other things such as birthdays and holidays). This is a bad thing. Especially as we age and our memories begin to fail us.
For the travels that I’ve managed to document, I treasure the tangible memories. It is fun to flip through the albums and photo books from time to time. Life goes by so fast—it’s so easy to forget. I recently made a photo book of our trip from last fall (to Prague and Budapest, which are both wonderful places to travel, btw). Better late than never. It was actually a really fun project. As a graphic designer, I used to struggle with the limited capabilities of creating a custom photo book online. The templates and fonts were cheesy. The software was slow. It was kind of a headache. But they have come a long way. I used Shutterfly this time and was really impressed with the entire process. They have some great options for clean, modern templates with sophisticated font choices and graphic embellishments. And the software doesn’t make me want to throw things at my computer screen.
Years ago, we went to the U.K. and Europe for the first time—nine countries in three weeks. It was the only trip that we’ve ever journaled. On the night before we left, I ran downstairs to my craft room and whipped up two little journals. I had been saving these bright handmade papers for a worthy project. Hubs’ book (the blue one) contained fewer pages because I knew he wouldn’t write as much. I actually ran out of pages in mine and had to clip more to inside back cover. It is so much fun to go back and read what we each wrote. There are things I would never remember had I not written them down. I wish I had a journal from every trip we’ve taken.
While creating the photo book on Shutterfly, I decided to order personalized travel journals as well. The wrap-around photo covers are two photos from our last trip. The text on the cover and spine is part of the Shutterfly template. I’m hoping we will always remember to pack them and they will inspire us to jot down our experiences during future trips. I like the idea of having one big, quality journal of many travels instead of a bunch of small, cheap individual ones. However, there is something to be said for hand-crafted. If handmade is your middle name or maybe you just need a creative outlet, then you will enjoy this DIY Travel Journal tutorial. It’s the same process I used to create our last-minute travel journals years ago.
Or you can skip the tutorial, head straight to the bottom of the post and enter to win five handmade travel journals/booklets (pictured in the first and last photos of this post).
DIY TRAVEL JOURNAL TUTORIAL
1. Gather the following materials and tools:
- (1) 8.5 x 11 sheet of white card stock paper (for the cover). I’ve included a free printable download (see step 2), however you can also use any solid or patterned card stock paper. I found the paper used on the other examples at Hobby Lobby. You could also use handmade paper, but you may want to double up if it’s not very thick.
- (5) sheets of 8.5 x 11 white (or light-colored) paper
- Cutting mat
- X-ACTO knife
- Ruler or straight edge
- Bone folder (optional)
- Paper cutter/trimmer
- Stapler that opens flat or long arm stapler
- Cork board or thick cardboard (at least 8.5 x 11)
- Small, clean pliers (optional)
2. If using the printable download for the cover, click here to open it, then print it on the 8.5 x 11 white card stock at desired size. Using a ruler (I like to flip mine over) and an X-ACTO knife, trim off the white border on all four sides. If using other card stock paper, trim it to desired size using a paper cutter/trimmer.
3. If using the printable download, use a ruler and bone folder to score the paper directly down the vertical center; fold to crease. You can skip this step and simply fold it in half, but the design may not line up exactly on the spine. If using other card stock paper, simply fold it in half vertically or horizontally, depending on the desired shape; crease well.
4. Measure the height and width of the cover (unfolded). Using a paper cutter/trimmer, cut the five sheets of white paper to the same height as the cover. Cut the width 1/8″ shorter than the cover. Fold the stack of five sheets in half (the same direction you folded the cover). Use one of the sheets for practice; open it and place it (fold side up) on the cork board or cardboard. With the stapler open all the way, line up the staple opening with the fold and press down on the stapler head. Do this a few times until you are able to place the staple directly on the fold. You may wish to mark the stapler with a permanent marker for easier placement. If your book size is small enough or you have a long arm stapler, then you can use the stapler as you normally would (no need to open it or press into cork/cardboard). Just slide the paper between the stapler base and head, line up the staple opening and the fold, and staple.
5. On the cork or cardboard, stack the cover on top of the four white sheets of paper, carefully lining up the folds (don’t worry if the edges don’t line up perfectly, they can be trimmed later). Using the same technique as the practice sheet, place two staples on the fold, about 1/2″ to 1″ (depending on the size of your book) from each edge. If your book shape is long and skinny, you may want to add a third staple in the middle. If the staple doesn’t line up on the fold, carefully remove it with pliers or by sliding a ruler under the pages and gently prying up, then push staple out from bottom. Reposition stapler and try again. When both staples have been placed, slide a ruler under the stack of pages and gently pry up to remove the book from the cork/cardboard. Using closed pliers or short edge of ruler, push staple ends inward and down to close the staples. If the edges of the inside pages stick out of the cover (and this bothers you), use an X-ACTO knife and ruler (as a guide) to trim. Since you’ll be trimming such a small slice, it is not recommended that you try to do this with a paper cutter/trimmer. Take your time and make several passes with the knife so you don’t rip or ripple the paper.