Making journals from scratch
My boys have been using blank sketchbooks as nature journals, but often, we find that they get too full before they are finished. Because the boys add lots of extra items besides drawings, like photos, specimens (leaves, dried flowers, pieces of bark, seed pods,) and postcards, the books get too bulky to close.
We decided to try making our own journals, and I think we will have to just start new journals with the change in seasons, instead of trying to cram everything into one for the year.
Here’s what we did:
This project was done using things I already had in my stash. We used these 7Gypsies book covers; you get a front and back cover, and they come in different styles. You can also use any recycled cardboard, which we’ve done before for little scrapbooks of field trips. Or, use the cover of an old book, such as one from a thrift store. Choose something sturdy, since these journals will be handled so much.
Then I set the boys loose with my paper stash and started cutting out pages using a paper trimmer. (This is also great practice in measuring, by the way.)
We just used random papers — some patterned scrapbook paper, some plain cardstock, and some leftover pages from albums. We also added a few envelopes to each book for specimens (I always open junk mail to see if there is a return envelope inside and save them for projects like this and playing pretend post-office).
There is a mix of plain pages for sketching and printed pages for pasting down photos.
Then we lined up the pages with the front cover, and punched holes a few pages at the time. We looped in some medium-sized binding rings, but you could use heavy twine or yarn, loop it through, and tie it securely.
If we need to add pages along the way, it is easy to open the rings, and if they boys want to add postcards or brochures from places we visit, they can simply punch holes in them and add them in.