DIY: Mini Summer Notebooks

DIY Mini Summer Notebook #journal #paper #tutorial
Summer is here! And with the sunshine come vacations, camping trips, weekend getaways, and other outdoor adventures. Any time I plan a trip, I always make sure to bring a little notebook with me to record all the special memories that happen along the way. This mini notebook is the perfect companion to any adventure, plus it uses recycled materials and is easy to make!

DIY Mini Summer Notebook #journal #paper #tutorial


• Colored Card Stock or other pretty paper (for your notebook cover)
• Stamps and ink pad (to decorate your cover)
• Recycled papers (for your inside pages)
• Bakers twine (for the binding)


• X-acto knife
• Ruler
• Cutting board
• Paper cutter (optional)
• Bookbinding Awl
• Bone Folder
• Bookbinding needle

DIY Mini Summer Notebook #journal #paper #tutorial

1. Cut your papers to size

For the cover, I chose a thick colored cardstock. The thicker the notebook cover, the better. You can also try using handmade paper. For the inside pages, I used a variety of recycled papers I had on hand like lined notebook paper, copy paper, graph paper, construction paper and even some pages cut out of old books and magazines.

DIY Mini Summer Notebook #journal #paper #tutorial

I wanted my notebook to fit easily into my backpack or purse so I chose to make the finished size 4.25”x5.5”. Using my paper cutter (or a ruler and x-acto knife works too), I cut all my papers (cover and inside pages) 8.5”x5.5” inches, which when folded in half, will become the finished size.

DIY Mini Summer Notebook #journal #paper #tutorial

2. Decorate your cover

To decorate my cover, I decided to carve my own stamp. And since I plan to take this notebook with me on a camping trip, I chose to carve a campfire. I also stamped the word “summer” below using my set of alphabet stamps.

DIY Mini Summer Notebook #journal #paper #tutorial

Feel free to decorate your cover however you want! You could also collage your cover, draw or paint something, or cover the entire thing in wash tape. It’s up to you!

3. Prep your inside pages

I chose 15 sheets of paper for the inside of my journal, which when folded in half will become 30 pages. This is the perfect amount for me to fill up while on vacation.

To prep the inside pages for binding, gather the cover and inside pages together (in the order that you want them to be) and fold the entire thing in half making a crease in all the pages. You can use the bone folder to get a nice clean fold/crease.

DIY Mini Summer Notebook #journal #paper #tutorial
DIY Mini Summer Notebook #journal #paper #tutorial

4. Bind Your Notebook

Starting at the middle of your book (cover page is on the bottom), take 5 pages from your stack. Using a ruler to measure, draw two dots 1 ½” apart at the center of the fold. Take the bookbinding awl and punch a hole through all 5 sheets where you marked with the pencil. Set aside. Repeat this process two more times, or until you have holes punched through all your pages.

DIY Mini Summer Notebook #journal #paper #tutorial
DIY Mini Summer Notebook #journal #paper #tutorial

Reassemble your notebook back to its original order. Using a piece of baker’s twine and a bookbinding needle (or other needle with a large enough eye to thread the baker’s twine through), stitch the notebook together. Then tie a knot and trim.

DIY Mini Summer Notebook #journal #paper #tutorial
DIY Mini Summer Notebook #journal #paper #tutorial

One final touch you can do (which is totally optional) is to trim your finished notebook. You’ll notice that with the pages folded in half, the inside papers peek out of the cover. You can use a ruler and x-acto knife to carefully trim the excess making for a clean, finished notebook.

DIY Mini Summer Notebook #journal #paper #tutorial
DIY Mini Summer Notebook #journal #paper #tutorial

That’s it! Now you have a fun little notebook to take with you on all your summer adventures. Do you have any other summer travel traditions? Like making a photo album of your trip, collecting ticket stubs, or pressing leaves and flowers you collect along your way?

DIY Mini Summer Notebook #journal #paper #tutorial

DIY: Dip-Dyed Paper Butterfly Garland

DIY: Dip-Dyed Paper Butterfly Garland #craft #recycled #decoration

alissa-biopic_200x200Please welcome our very first guest blogger, Alissa Thiele! Alissa is a Portland based artist who’s photography & illustration work is inspired by the Pacific Northwest – the mountains, mushrooms, ocean, and sea otters. Alissa loves creating jewelry with kitschy, vintage gems. Her work can be found at many locally owned stores and in her Etsy shop at

Does your home need a little sprucing up? Make this crafty paper garland to hang on your walls, windows, or doorways. This fun DIY is a perfect decoration for your next special event, holiday, or even just year-round. Plus it’s a great craft project to do with your friends and family – what better excuse for a craft night!


Butterfly Template
• An old book you don’t mind cutting up (thicker pages work best)
• Ink (Speedball calligraphy ink works great)
• Baker’s twine
• Pencil
• Scissors
• Stapler
• Paper hole punch

DIY: Dip-Dyed Paper Butterfly Garland #craft #recycled #decoration

1. Choose Your Shape

Take your scissors and cut out the butterfly stencil. If you are feeling extra creative you can make your own shape. Maybe a clover, flower, heart, or circle. It’s best for the shape to be about 2”-3” in length & height.

2. Use An Old Book

Find an old book that you don’t mind cutting up. Remove 3-5 pages from the book. An X-acto knife & ruler make it easy to do, but you can also tear them carefully. Using a pencil, trace your butterfly stencil onto a page. Be sure to trace in an area that has lots of text (or fun illustrations!). Depending on the size of your book, you should be able to fit about 3 butterflies on the page.

DIY: Dip-Dyed Paper Butterfly Garland #craft #recycled #decoration

3. Cut Out Your Shape

Next, paperclip the rest of your removed pages below your traced page. Now we can cut lots of butterflies at once! Carefully cut out the butterfly shapes with scissors.

DIY: Dip-Dyed Paper Butterfly Garland #craft #recycled #decoration
DIY: Dip-Dyed Paper Butterfly Garland #craft #recycled #decoration

4. Form The butterfly

Gather 3 of the butterflies that you just cut out. Put them together & fold them in half vertically. On the fold, staple the center of the butterfly. With your hole punch, make a hole above the staple (this is how you’ll string the butterflies into a garland). Finally, fan out the butterfly wings. So pretty!

DIY: Dip-Dyed Paper Butterfly Garland #craft #recycled #decoration

5. Dip Dye Your Butterflies

Now we’re getting to the fun part! First create a work space where you can dye and dry the butterflies. I like to put down some plastic wrap on a table and then add a layer of paper towels so it’s extra ink proof. Then put a half cup of water and a teaspoon of ink into a glass. Take your butterfly sample and submerge it halfway down. Hold for 10 seconds, making sure the ink gets on all sides of the butterfly. Remove it from the ink, blot excess ink on paper towels, and carefully lay it out. Pro Tip: stand the butterfly up on the paper towel so it doesn’t get bent while it dries.

DIY: Dip-Dyed Paper Butterfly Garland #craft #recycled #decoration
DIY: Dip-Dyed Paper Butterfly Garland #craft #recycled #decoration

If you’re happy with the color repeat STEPS TWO – FIVE to make more butterflies. If not, add more ink or more water as needed. Keep it interesting by alternating between dying the tops and dying the bottoms. Make about 10 completed butterflies.

DIY: Dip-Dyed Paper Butterfly Garland #craft #recycled #decoration

6. String Into Garland

Almost done! After all the butterflies have dried, cut a piece of baker’s twine about 6 feet long. String the butterflies on the twine, tying a knot in between each to prevent them from sliding too much. Now hang up your awesome new garland on your doorway, ceiling, window, or wall!

DIY: Dip-Dyed Paper Butterfly Garland #craft #recycled #decoration

Hashtag this tutorial #adventuresinmkg to share & see others!

DIY: Dip-Dyed Paper Butterfly Garland #craft #recycled #decoration

DIY: Handmade Paper Tutorial

DIY: Handmade Paper #tutorial #craft #recycled
I have always wanted to make paper. It seemed like a magic trick.

I mean, you’re gonna make paper out of only paper? AMAZING.

When Rachel asked me what I wanted to do on our upcoming craft retreat, this was the first thing that popped into my head. What follows can only be referred to as an adventure… in magic!

DIY: Handmade Paper #tutorial #craft #recycled

What You Need

• Recycled wastepaper
• Paper shredder
• Blender (I would recommend buying one second hand and only using it for paper making)
Large Dip Handmold
• Bucket
• Large dishpan or container
• Sponge
• Piece of cloth or sheet
• Warm water

For those of you who don’t know, you can make paper out of your trash. This part I found particularly exciting because it fit in perfectly with my hoarder tendencies. (No, I don’t keep my trash, I just hate throwing it out. Especially shredded paper which the recycling “man” won’t take.)

My Process

We shredded paper using a paper shredder, and our hands (when the shredder died a loud horrible death, making a noise that Patrick referred to as a cry of “just let me go.”) We sorted it by color (which meant that the resulting papers were slightly different shades of gray.)

I dunked it all in a bucket of warm water to soak for a while.

DIY: Handmade Paper #tutorial #craft #recycled

Here I am, excited about a bucket full of water and shredded paper.

I took these handfulls and put them in a blender (ala Goodwill) along with more warm water. I then blended them until they were the consistency of…. pulped paper.

DIY: Handmade Paper #tutorial #craft #recycled

I poured several batches of the pulp into a larger storage container filled with more warm water.

There are several ways to build the “pulp catcher.” I cheated and bought one on clearance at a craft store. (It’s an Arnold Grummer.) It’s basically a thick screen with small holes sandwiched between a wooden frame (deckle) and a hard plastic screen. I slipped the whole sandwich underneath the water and brought it up slowly until it was above the water and evenly coated in pulp.

DIY: Handmade Paper #tutorial #craft #recycled

This is what the pulp looks like at first (and when it starts feeling like magic.)

DIY: Handmade Paper #tutorial #craft #recycled

The kit also included a thin piece of screen. After removing the whole kit from the water, I removed the wooden deckle, and laid the piece of screen over the top.

DIY: Handmade Paper #tutorial #craft #recycled

I have to admit from here on out the tasks were a little tedious. First I had to press most of the water out of the pulp, through the screen, using a sponge and all of my wringing strength.

DIY: Handmade Paper #tutorial #craft #recycled

Then I got this piece of magic… something that looked like a piece of paper!

DIY: Handmade Paper #tutorial #craft #recycled

After flipping the thick screen over onto a piece of old sheet, and sponging the back of it some more, I was able to separate the paper from the whole kit. I sandwiched the piece in between two cotton sheets, and ironed it like crazy (highest setting) until it was mostly dry.


I left all the pieces between two heavy wooden planks over night… to see what happens next check out this post on Handmade Paper Envelopes.

During this adventure I learned…

• Paper is magic, and putting your hands in warm pulpy water is therapeutic.

• Don’t use your fancy appliances for crafting. I killed the shredder and blender. (Though, I think it was shoddy modern manufacturing what did them in.) The iron…

• The iron got coated in some sort of ick. Fortunately I used our old iron, AND discovered that the ick was easily removed by white vinegar and a little scrubbing.

• After doing the paper making process a few times, I actually got rid of the ironing step. Now I roll the sheets out between 2 shamwows (I know…) and then place them on extra cardboard while they are still pretty damp. Once they are dry enough to hold their form, I transfer them to a clothes line to dry, until I move them into a stack to dry fully between two heavy peices of wood.

• When you use junk mail, your paper is going to be gray. Most of the tutorials I read recommended using blank papers, and colored tissue paper. I’d rather have gray paper than create more trash in the world, but we’ll see how things go.

• Thick flower petals and pieces do not work best for this project. I ended up with a couple of very lumpy pages. Also, predried flowers often have dyes on them that do not bleed how you think they should.

• Rachel is a great crafting cheerleader and documentorian, and Patrick loves me, and proved it by ironing paper for hours.