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$5 Art Journaling–Week 1

January 11, 2010

Okay, so where do we start on this journaling journey?  Well, we need a journal first of all.  My first art journal was a moleskine sketchbook.  Those are fantastic, but they’re also like twenty dollars.  Since you’re just taking this whole art journaling thing for a test drive lets try for something cheap.

Mission One: Grab your five dollars and get ready.  Oh, and guess what.  You don’t even have to brave that scary arts and crafts store this week.  You can find this just about anywhere:

Ta Da!

You’re after plain old manila folders!  Yep, these babies are made of some super heavy cardstock and definitely won’t break the bank.  You can get a pack of 50 for about $3.50 or dig around you house for some old used ones.  Save any money you have left over and throw it in a jar and make an “art bank”.

Now I’m going to show you how to make a cute little journal out of one of those file folders:

step 1, open up

First take your manila folder and open it up.

step 2, fold

Then take the bottom of the folder and line up the cut out notch at the bottom corner to the cut out notch on the tab.  Fold this line all the way across.

step 3, cut

Then just cut along the fold that you just made.  You can toss the small part you cut off, but I keep mine for scrap paper.  Mixed media artist keep everything!

so far, so good

So now your folder should look like this.  Now just close it back up along that original fold in the middle.

step four, fold again

Then you fold it in half again.  I like to fold it where the tab still sticks out.  Fold it however you like.

finished product!

And your end result should look something like this.  The great thing about this is that it makes a mini art journal with 8 sections.  You can make a cover and then do a different section each day of the week.  That was my original plan, but I tend to go crazy and scatter my stuff randomly all over the place.  Wanna see my finished one I made last week?


This is the front of it.  I’ve decided to make one of these a week until I get bored with it.  I’d love to be able to make one a week for a year, but I’m always finding something else neat I want to try to journal on.


This is one side of it.  The yellow page is my new year’s resolutions and some doodles.  The photo is just a pretty one I found in a magazine.  Lots of layers of paint and paper everywhere.

other side

And the other side.  Black background with doodles and scraps of paper.  Even some old Christmas wrapping paper found its way here.  The skull is actually a banana UPC.  The drawing is a self-portrait I made by tracing a photo.

So, starting next week I’m going to show you how to start decorating you journals.  The only thing I want you to do with your journal this week is make room for it in your life. What I mean by that is decide that you want to make art.  Take your journal with you everywhere. Stick it in your bag when you leave.  Even if you don’t even take it out just keep it with you.  When you’re at home, keep it out where you can see it. You can start adding stuff to it if you like, but nothing too pretty because we’re going to cover that up next week. If you eat Chinese food, stick your fortune on there.  Jot down your grocery list or you to-do list or make a list of hairstyles you’ve had.  Just get used to having it around.

Next week we’re headed to the art store to get your first bit of supplies.  Check back next Monday for that post.  And thanks to everyone who’s stopped by my brand new blog!

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