Handmade Monday: Simple Postcard Journal

This handcrafted postcard journal or travel memory book is fun and exceptionally easy to make!

The pages fan out and one side displays a variety of pretty postcards…

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…while the other side is full of special memories from your trip!

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I got the idea for this journal from Janet Takahashi’s lovely book, Artful Journals. (If you’re interested in bookmaking, be sure to check it out!) This postcard journal is a pleasant, low stress way to compile memories gathered during a trip. The pages are postcards, so be sure to buy a variety from souvenir shops as you go along. As time allows, jot down memories, make sketches, journal and even try scrapbooking photos onto the blank side of the postcards. This can be done during the trip or after you return home, but try to do it while memories are still fresh in your mind!

Materials Needed:
Postcards, journaled (various sizes are okay, but you get the best results if they are all the same size)
A single hole punch
A small scrap of paper (for measuring the width of the binding)
Scissors
Heavy paper for the cover
Decorative paper, cloth, old maps, etc. (whatever you want to use to enhance the cover)
A screw pin for holding the book together
Awl (optional; may be useful)

The Drill:
1. Gather your postcards and arrange them photo side up.
2. Take a hole punch and punch a hole about 1/8 of an inch in from the lower left hand corner of each card. Make sure the hole is punched in the same spot on every card to ensure that the pages line up neatly in your book. You should end up with a pile of cards as pictured below. (I cut a fake postcard template out of heavy paper, punched a hole in the appropriate location and held it up to each postcard during the hole punching process to mark the exact target location for the hole on each card. Worked beautifully. You could also just punch one postcard and use that as a template.)

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3. Gather the postcards in a neat stack, pinch them loosely together, and use the scrap of paper to measure the thickness of the pile. Fold the paper along the creases and mark the folds with a pencil. This measurement will show you how thick to make the binding in the next step.

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4. The cover is just a single piece of sturdy paper, folded along the binding. The measurements are determined by the size of your postcards. Your cover will be cut to fit your postcards, so the measurements will be:
Cover width= Twice the shortest measurement of your largest postcard + thickness of the pages (from step 3).
Cover length= Length of your largest postcard.
Mark the binding width with pencil lines. (They’re hard to see in the photo. Sorry about that!)

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5. Fold the heavy paper on the binding fold lines. Hole punch the cover in the lower right and left corners. Line the holes up with the holes punched on the postcards. Sorry, I only have this photo from after the cover is completed, but if you look closely, it shows you know where the folds and holes need to go!

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6. Decorate cover as desired. If you used glue, give it plenty of time to dry. (My postcard journal holds memories from my visit to Turkey, so I wanted the cover to reflect that. I fiddled around with maps and other ideas, but nothing seemed quite right so the unfinished book sat on my bookshelf for quite some time. I finally decided to use one of my old Turkish scarves as the final touch. This scarf material was thin and airy and really hard to work with. It frayed easily, didn’t cut evenly and didn’t lay flat. To provide a sturdy base, I glued plain cotton cloth over the cover first to fill in any empty spots. Using my sewing machine, I eyeballed the work and put in crisscrossing diagonal lines to make an appealing diamond design. I then ran a final line of stitches around the cover’s perimeter. The layers added a lot of bulk to the edges of the cover and made it difficult to complete step 7. If I had it to do all over again, I would just decorate with paper, or use a single piece of sturdy cloth, but I DO like the end result!)

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7. Using a hole punch or awl, carefully re-punch the cover holes.
8. Arrange the postcard pages in an appealing order and pin them into the cover with the screw pin.

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9. Enjoy a fun, sturdy book full of happy memories for many years to come!

Happy bookmaking!

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