Altered Journal

Altered Journal

Transform an everyday blank notebook into a custom, one of a kind altered scrapbook style journal using your existing craft supplies. This project is suitable for all skill levels.

What you need

1 composition book
Scrapbooking papers
Scrapbooking embellishments
Sanding block
Brayer (optional)


I advise using STRONG adhesive as this is something that is going to be used thoroughly and you don’t want the edges lifting up. Either a decoupage glue or spray adhesive work extremely well!

Cut papers to approximate size of the journal, using your own design. Think of the covers like a scrapbook page, you can be as plain or elaborate as you like. I chose a composition book but any journal will work, there are so many different sizes and types to choose from. This also works well for the plain spiral bound school notebooks.

Using adhesive, adhere the trimmed papers to the journal. Spray adhesive works really well as it is super sticky (use in a well ventilated area). Spray onto the back of the papers and layer papers onto the journal. To get a really good smooth bond roll a brayer over the papers. This optional step will ensure there are no bumps, especially good if you’re using a wet adhesive (decoupage medium).

Remember to apply papers to the BACK of the journal as well as the front! We want the journal to look good on both sides!!!

Once the adhesive is dry, trim the edges of the papers using scissors. Next, using sandpaper or sanding block, gently sand the edges of the journal covers. This step removes any sharp edges and gives the journal a slight distressed look. Although this step is optional it does avoids paper cuts, and really gives the journal a nice soft finished edge. Plus should you want to ink the edges the ink takes to the sanded edges really well.

Using Sand Block

Using scrapbooking embellishments add decorative elements to your altered journal. Remember though that this journal IS going to be used and needs to be practical. So bear that in mind for lumpy or 3D embellishments. You want the journal to still lie flat, so that it doesn?t impede the purpose of writing in it

Remember you can also cover the inside of the covers with patterned paper too! Simply use the same steps.

Craft glue

Supplies used on journal shown:
Journal: composition book
Papers: Paper Loft
Tape: Heidi Swapp
Flower: Heidi Swapp
Metal Alpha: Making Memories
Rub-ons: Making Memories
Conch: Scrapworks

Designed By Di Hickman



  2. Man. I LOVE NOTEBOOKS!!! I have fifty (over) of them. Any notebook art I see, instant love. SOOOOOOOOOOO CUTE!

  3. This is a really great idea i do this all the time at home im hoping to start up again soon its a really easy and fun way to make a little extra cash on the side =)
    hope u all enjoy ur jorney on making these!!

  4. Just bought a ton of composition books for .25 each (back to school sales!). Hope to make some for Christmas presents…sets of four with one for each season. Thanks for the easy tutorial!


  5. niiice.

  6. I like this, but simpler products would help stay-at-home moms! I am a top rated critic, so good job!

  7. I love this, It looks great.
    I love drawing so i might get a plain paper not book and decorate that!
    thanx for the idea! I love it! =]

  8. jaSilovers says

    i luv it, i might go buy a notebook and do this for school this years, use fabric and some ribbon and some more stuff.

  9. this is so cool!! i do this all the time for my school books, and it works great for binders too!

  10. That is really cool! I can’t wait to try it!

  11. nice

  12. love it

  13. nice

  14. I love this prject!

  15. Very nice. I love to decorate anything and everything. This is a great idea.

What do you think of this project? Let us know!