Saturday, October 5, 2013

Dollar Store Journal Makeover

I told you last time I was here that I would share with you what's in my travel art kit. I didn't get that blog written, but it's on my list, so I'll share that soon. 

In the meantime, I want to show you this quick and fun little project--a dollar store journal makeover.

You'll need:

  • A spiral bound journal from the dollar store.
  • A bunch of mod podge
  • Assortment of vintage and pretty papers
  • Paint, pencils, gesso, any mixture of media you like
  • A brayer is good to have but not essential
Here's how it started, already cute and with a nice message.  But, I wanted to personalize it, so it needed a makeover.

First, remove the covers from the spiral so that it'll be easier to work with and you won't mess up the paper with all that glue you'll be flinging around. I also roughed them up a little bit with sandpaper because I wasn't sure yet what I was going to do next.

I decided to cover them with vintage magazine pages first.  Although you don't need a brayer, it makes the process of flattening the papers a lot easier.  Bubbles in your papers are so annoying.  Try to avoid those by centering the paper over the mod podged surface. Then use the brayer to press the paper to the glue from the center and push toward the edges. If you try to seal the edges first, you'll almost always end up with bubbles, which are messy to fix.

You should end up with two vintagey covers!

It might be easier to finish out the inside of the covers now before you work on the front.  I'm always a little afraid a mistake or spill or messiness will ruin the covers while I'm finishing the insides.  You'll just want to try to pick a coordinating pretty paper. Like this.

Now it's time to decorate them up.  I missed the in progress shots from this point. But I added thinned gesso to lighten up the color of the old papers some.  I wanted to obscure the words but allow the lettering to show through.  Then I used my favorite Caran d'Ache NeoArt water soluble wax pastels to add color to the background.  I then transferred one of my favorite sketches using tracing paper and pencil transfer.  I tried to paint the image coordinating colors to the edge of the original covers that still shows under the spiral. I didn't cover the holes. Since I don't have a spiral hole puncher, I thought it would be cleaner to leave them.

 When the front is all done, dried, and sprayed with a little Workable Fixatif to protect the image, reattach the covers to the spiral, taking care to avoid scratching the paint!

This one was a gift.  The sweet lady's favorite Bible verse is Psalms 62:8, "Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah." 

The old Bible I tore the verse from had the serendipitous heading at the top of the page-"Divine Wings".  

Some things are just meant to be.

If you decide to remake a Dollar Store journal, I would love to see what you create! 

<3 Lori 

P.S.-I restarted my Reboot.  Of course, I had a sugary blow out in the last couple of days that included lots of rice, a giant piece of Key Lime pie, and lots of chocolate and Diet Coke.  Today has gone very well.  I ate kale!  And I made my first batch of green juice.  It didn't make me gag.  And the acorn squash was quite yummy.  I cooked real food with my own hands.  Big day. Very big day.


  1. Love your journal. And thanks for sharing the process. Proud of you for cooking actual food. :)

  2. What she said...Hahahaha! Journal is darling, and yeah - real food. Good for you!

  3. Cute journal :) Real food is the best :)

    1. I'm actually kind of getting used to real food. :)

  4. This is way cute, Lori. I've never thought about taking the spiral off and on!

    1. Thanks, Lynn! Just make sure you put it back together with everything right side up. I didn't the first time, so it didn't close properly. It took a little while for me to figure out why it wasn't working.


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