Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Woven Ribbon Journal Cover DIY

Do you keep a journal?  My mother-in-law kept lots of journals about her adventures before she began suffering from Alzheimer's.  She had boxes and boxes of journals and most of them were those ugly black and white composition books.  Decorative journals are usually quite expensive.  As I've mentioned before, my mil was very talented and crafty and really inspired me in my crafting now. Too bad we didn't think to do something back then with the covers of those books. 

Then it hit me.  Although I keep my crafting ideas on my computer, I initially put my craft thoughts, inspirations and sketches on loose papers I find around the house and in my purse.  I know I need to keep a journal, too!  Oh no!  But not a composition book with a dreadful cover!  Ugh!  There are so many ways to dress up those boring, ugly books into beautiful personalized journals.   And it can easily be done with ribbon, a little bit of tape, hot glue, cardstock and scissors.

Here's how:

To measure the length of the ribbon strips needed for the width of the open book, lay the ribbon across the middle from corner to corner and cut.  This measured 17 inches long and a total of sixteen ribbon strips were needed for the book cover.  

For the length of ribbon strips needed for the height of the book, I measured from the middle of the corner page to the middle bottom, diagonally and came up with 12 1/2 inches. I cut out 25 strips of the brown ribbon to cover the both sides (front and back) of the cover.

I had a 10yd roll of 5/8 green satin ribbon and used about 7 1/2 yards for the book and a 10yd roll of 5/8 brown satin ribbon and used about 8 3/4 yds. I found the ribbon on clearance at AC Moore for $1.00 each and had enough ribbon left over to make embellishments.

Next, I applied double faced adhesive tape to the edge of the inside cover and

 attached the strips of green ribbon beginning at the edge, placing them side by side the entire length.

Then I applied adhesive tape to the bottom edge of the back cover, and attached the strips of brown ribbon.

Next, I applied adhesive tape to the bottom front cover and continued adding the remaining brown ribbon strips.

Once all of the ribbon strips were attached I turned the book over and straighten out all of the ribbon as pictured.

The next steps are very important to understand since I'm not going to weave each ribbon strip over and underPay close attention to the pictures for additional help in understanding these instructions.

We will start with the brown ribbon by taking the first strip by the end and move it straight over the cover.  Do this with every other brown ribbon strip.   Once every other strip is moved over, take a green ribbon strip and lay across the brown strips and then glue on the inside cover with hot glue.  *Don't make it tight since you will have to allow for the book to close.

 Next, move each of the remaining brown strips over, one at a time, neatly in place.

Then, alternating the next brown ribbon strips, move back, as pictured.

Once done, lay the next green ribbon across the brown strips and glue down.

Don't worry about the looseness now as all will be tighten and straighten as you do more and are near the end of the cover. 

Continue alternating the brown ribbon strips from one side, and laying a green strip across once finished and gluing down.  Remember, we are only gluing down  the green ribbon strips, one row at a time.


Once all of the green ribbon strips are glued down, straighten the woven rows
and start gluing down the brown ribbon strips, as shown, until all are glued down. 

To cover the unsightly glued down strips, cut out two 9 3/4 x 7 1/4 pieces of decorative cardstock (I changed paper patterns as the first was too busy), trim the two corner edges and adhere paper with white glue. 

I placed a flat, heavy board on top of the cover so the book would lay flat as the glue dried. 

To make the ribbon flowers,  I ran a basting stitch across the bottom of 17 inches of ribbon and pulled the thread tight, stitching the ends together forming a cute little flower. Glue on a button in the center, fluff ruffles, and glue flower to cover.

 Imagine the possibilities of decorating composition books by weaving different sizes and colors of ribbon and adding embellishments to make your journals beautiful and personalized!

Take a little time to enjoy


Happy Crafting!



  1. What a pretty journal.... nice idea and nice colors. :)

  2. It's just beautiful Gail! I love the colour combination, and the flowers finish it off perfectly.

  3. Hi Gail,
    This is so adorable. Those little black and white binders are very boring. But you have made a masterpiece. I love it. It makes you want to pick it up and write in it. I love it.

  4. Great tutorial, love this! Thanks for sharing.

  5. I make a lot of scrapbooks and journals and love this cover. So pretty. Thank you for sharing at Share It One MOre Time. Cathy

  6. I love this idea! What a pretty way to dress up a notebook. Thank you for the tutorial!

  7. That turned out so beautifully! Thanks so much for taking the time to come by and link up at the #HomeMattersParty - we hope to see you again on Friday!

  8. Thank you very much for joining in and making our Bowdabra Crafty Saturday Showcase, we look forward to seeing your post next Saturday.

    Warm Regards,
    The Bowdabra Team

  9. Thank you so much for sharing at Friday Favorites! I love journals & will definitely try my hand at this. It would make great teacher gifts as well! Hope you will link up again! Michelle OurCraftyMom

  10. wow, you put a lot of work on that one, but it's totally worth it. The journal looks so pretty!

  11. Fantastic as always Gail...love your work
    Dr Sonia
    Cards Crafts Kids Projects

  12. Gail, it's amazing! Thank you for sharing. You are one of the features at The Round-Up from the Before & After Wednesday party at The Dedicated House. Here is the link so you can check out your feature. http://www.thededicatedhouse.com/2015/06/the-round-up-from-before-after-wednesday_16.html Hope to see you again at the bash today! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  13. Great project and tutorial, Gail...I thought it was a fancy cake at first! Pinning it for you!

  14. Gail, I really love your creativity! This is adorable and so easy to do! I can just imagine all the possibilities and what a great gift item this would make! Thanks so much for sharing!

  15. This is so pretty, Gail, and you give such a great tutorial on how to do it! I love the colors you selected, too. I’d like to invite you to join a brand new Social Media party. Social Boost Monday is all about bloggers helping bloggers to grow. I hope you stop by and join us! This week, we're doing a Twitter Boost.

  16. so sweet! what a fab idea and ribbon comes in so many colors, textures, styles, sizes - the sky is the limit in making your own woven ribbon journal! thanks for the tute and inspiration!

  17. What a lovely cover. Your tutorials are just so good and clear.

  18. Such a lovely journal, Gail! This would make a great gift -- not only is it beautiful, but the time and love that goes into making it is obvious. Thanks for sharing!

  19. What an awesome concept! I love the design and the color choice.

  20. What a fab idea and ribbon comes in so many colors, textures, styles, sizes - the sky is the limit in making your own satin Ribbon journal! thanks for the tute and inspiration!

  21. Great! I like reading your post. Why not get Satin Ribbon Wholesale for your project?

  22. Great work.
    You can add a little pouch in the front and you can use several colorful ribbons.

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