Sunday, December 31, 2006

Making Personalized Journals

Creating journals is a wonderful way to create personalized gifts for others and to have an outlet for your own creative needs. Journals can be boring and plain or they can speak to the person who will use them. If you are a journaler, then you probably have experimented with all types of journals in your life. I have had journals specific to pregnancy and other parts of my life as well as writing journals that begin each page with a quote to jumpstart the mind. Still I would love if someone created a personalized journal for me.

Doing so is not as hard as you may imagine. You will need a few basic supplies and then perhaps a few dollars for a print shop, but that is all. You should select something to use for the cover of the journal first. Cardstock is the easiest thing to use as it is so sturdy but still flexible. If you are really artistic, then you could create a cloth-bound journal. You still will need a piece of cardboard to use as the foundation of the cover. Basically you will want to have the entire journal comb-bound at a print shop and then attach the cloth cover around the cardboard.

Once you have decided on a cover, you should decorate it to fit the person who will receive the journal. A teenage girl who is very into being cool and trendy may get a journal with a boa cuff and cute sayings while a college student majoring in philosophy may get something with images of great philosophers on it. Take some time to think about this person and what he or she may write down. Use it as an inspiration for creating the journal cover.

Once you have the cover down, you will need to work on the inside pages. They should be slightly smaller than the cover but only by 1/8 of an inch or so. That is just so that they can be bound and not show on the outside of the journal. Once you have the page size determined, you need to decide whether you will use your own creative talents to make each page. You can use paint pens to create questions for the person to answer. Perhaps you ask the philosophy major to share her stance on absolutism versus relativism. The teenager may get a quote about fashion. While writing a jumping-off point is not necessary on every page, it is a nice way to add a bit of flair to the journal.

If you do not trust your hand to write out the questions or if you want to create lined paper, then you should get on your computer and work on it. You can create lined paper pretty easily in any word processing program, and you just print out the pages when you get ready to bind the journal.

Everything is ready now. You have the pages and the cover designed. You will head to the print shop and have the whole thing bound. But wait! You do not have to be done yet. Perhaps you are, but if you would like to add another dimension, you should make a quick stop by a craft store. Get gems or rhinestones, iron on pieces, stencils, or any other items. Then come home and attach them to various pages in the journal to make for an even more special appearance. Be careful not to put too many thick items, or the journal will not close. Still a smattering of small gems or even confetti pieces here and there will remind the journal recipient of you often.

These types of journals make great gifts for any friends you have who are writers. They also are a way to acknowledge that another person may be going through something rough. Giving a personal journal to a friend having surgery, for example, may give him an outlet for sharing his pain and frustration. It could help with these kinds of emotional issues without you even knowing it. Journal-making is a wonderful way to show someone else that you know she or he has valuable things to say and that you wish the person well in saying them.

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