Crafting A Journal

By Maria Nerius

Journals make great camp projects as well as wonderful camp keepsakes. Whether your kids are camping for a day or for a week, a journal is the perfect place for them to jot down their experiences.

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It is also a safe place to keep photos, camp programs/hand-outs or a found leaf. You can set the perfect tone for your camper's adventures by helping him or her create a delightful journal cover.

You can create directly onto the journal cover, but I strongly suggest that you give your younger campers a cut piece of cardstock upon which he or she can build the journal cover. The cardstock with the finished design can then be adhered to the journal front.

This extra step can help you avoid the unhappiness of a camper who is not pleased with his or her finished design. Instead of ripping off design elements (which usually ends up damaging the journal cover), all you need to do is start fresh on a new piece of measured cardstock.

You can find blank journals at most art and craft stores that are affordable on a small budget, or you can make a journal out of most spiral bound notepads.

This butterfly journal used a rubber-stamped image that was water-colored. The butterfly was cut out and glued to a measured piece of cardstock. It was then personalized with a rubber stamp alphabet and detailed with a permanent black marker.

This butterfly journal used a rubber-stamped image that was water-colored. The butterfly was cut out and glued to a measured piece of cardstock. It was then personalized with a rubber stamp alphabet and detailed with a permanent black marker.

It doesn't matter if the paper inside the journal is lined or unlined. However, keep your campers' writing skill levels in mind. Younger children find it easier to work with lined paper while older kids and adults may prefer to create on unlined pages.

The adhesive you choose should be one that bonds most materials to paper. If you are concerned about the archival quality of the journal, you may want to double-check the glue labeling to make sure it is acid-free.

Avoid tapes (unless acid-free is on the labeling) and rubber cements because both of these adhesives will not hold up over time.

You can use the idea of a decorated journal to create other fun projects. With little effort a camp journal can become an address book, day planner, sketchbook, diary, Christmas card list or class notebook.

Materials

  • Journals with a study cover

  • White or beige cardstock

  • Assorted papers

  • Glue

  • Scissors

  • Ruler and pencil

  • Keepsakes: photos, handouts and other memorabilia

  • Pens, colored pencils and markers

  • Assorted embellishments: ribbon, yarn, buttons, images (rubber stamped, from magazines or even a photograph), charms, beads, paper charms, dried flowers and leaves

Instructions
1. Measure your journal front cover. Cut a piece of white or beige cardstock slightly smaller than the size of the journal cover.

When you adhere the finished cardstock design onto the cover this smaller sized piece will give you a great border that helps balance and highlight the cover design.

Note: The Butterfly and Frogs journal covers were created using a measured piece of cardstock, while the Tree and Compass elements were glued directly to the journal front.

2. Gather your design elements in front of you. Begin to play, place your design elements and build your overall cover design. Note what materials will be glued directly onto the cardstock base and what materials will be glued to the top of this bottom layer.

Note: You can select a very specific finished design for the campers or allow them to create their own designs.

3. Begin to glue down the design elements. If time allows, take a minute or two between layers to allow glue to set and dry. When finished with all of your gluing let the design set for about 5-10 minutes.

4. Adhere decorated base to journal front. Add any finishing touches. Allow glue to dry completely.

Old game pieces from a Scrabble set were used to spell out C A M P, then a compass was glued to the journal front.

Old game pieces from a Scrabble set were used to spell out C A M P, then a compass was glued to the journal front.

Journal Tips
Encourage the campers to write, sketch, draw and get creative. A journal becomes a keepsake of camp memories that can be enjoyed for years.

The main difference between a journal and a diary is that a diary is usually a day-by-day recording of events, whereas a journal covers a time period.

Journals are like scrapbooks. You can include anything from a photo to a leaf you picked up while hiking, to the matchbook the camp leader used to start a bonfire.

Writing can include poems, thoughts, feelings and journaling (factual notes like: On February 8 we took a walk down Slow Hand Trail).

Sketching and drawing can include every aspect of the camping experience including camp mates, animals, plants and trees, a nearby lake or a craft project.

Maria Nerius has been designing and writing craft projects for 15 years and is the craft expert at CreateForLess.com. If you have questions, comments, have craft ideas of your own, or would like to see a particular craft in an upcoming issue, e-mail Maria at mnerius@cfl.rr.com.