Make Your Own Art Journal 3 Ways with Nikalola | Nikki Jouppe | Skillshare

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Make Your Own Art Journal 3 Ways with Nikalola

teacher avatar Nikki Jouppe, artist

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      junk journal supplies


    • 3.

      junk journal assembly


    • 4.

      travel journal supplies


    • 5.

      travel journal setup


    • 6.

      travel journal binding


    • 7.

      deluxe spiral supplies


    • 8.

      deluxe spiral setup


    • 9.

      deluxe spiral binding


    • 10.

      what next?


    • 11.

      goodbye for now!


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About This Class

I love art journaling and I was excited to learn more about making a customized book to make art in.. When I learned to bind my own books I was able to make a unique art journal to fit the size, shape and material I wanted!

In this class I will teach you three different methods of making an art journal.

The first we'll call a Junk Journal. We'll use minimal supplies and tools. We will gather together scraps of paper and things and bind them together with a simple 3 hole punch and binder rings.


Self Healing Cutting Mat

Utility Knife


Recycled Papers

Adjustable 3 Hole Punch

Binder Rings

Watercolor Paper

Embroidery Thread and Needle

Paper Trimmer

Paper Trimmer/Scorer Combo

Clear Ruler

Multimedia Sketchbook

Zutter Bind it All

One Inch Coils

Rubber Band

Scotch single sided laminating sheets

Mini Hole Punch

Suede Cord

Pentel Brush Ink Pen

Prima Marketing Tropical Watercolors

Pentel Water Brush Pen

At the end of the class you will have three complete art journals and knowledge of various tools and tricks and you will be able to mix and match them to make whatever kind of book you have in mind!

Then I will briefly explain how to get started in your art journal if this is your first attempt!

Please note: I teach detailed classes on Art Journaling here on Skillshare.. This is a few of them:

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Nikki Jouppe



Hey everyone! My name is Nikki Jouppe, also known as Nikalola and I live with my rowdy family in Montana! I have been teaching on here since May 2019 and I love encouraging others to make time for creativity! I feel like making time for art has helped me so much with my mental health and my mood!I was always an artistic kid but I put most of my creativity on the back burner when I first became a mom in 2004. Later on, I realized that I am a happier mom and a more relaxed human being when I make time for art every day! I have an Etsy shop where I sell some of my hand lettering pieces, and also am dipping my toe into the many ways I can sell my artwork on different sites online:

I have always enjoyed opportunities to teach: I try to do art projects with my kids' classes (th... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. hello!: Hey, there, it's me again, Nicky GOP, also known as Nikola, here in my studio and Marion, Montana, where I have another really fun class for you. After years of buying my art journals and sketch books at the craft store, I got the itch to try making my own. I didn't know what bookbinding would entail, but I started monkeying around with some simple supplies and I came up with a few different ways to make journals that I could get started working in right away even if I couldn't get to craft store. I'm also able to customize the size and the shape and the materials are these books. Today I'm gonna show you three different ways to get started making your own art journals with whatever materials you have on hand. I'll start each method with a quick overview of the supplies and then I'll walk you through each art journal construction process from start to finish. At the end of this class, you'll have 1, 2 or maybe even three completely unique art journals to start making art in. The first, I'm calling a junk journal.. it uses things out of the recycle bin and the absolute most minimal supplies. The second method is a travel watercolor sketch book. And it's smaller size is perfect for tucking into your backpack when you take trips, if we are ever able to take trips again. And the third is a deluxe spiral art journal that is kind of the Cadillac of these art journals. They use the most supplies and the most techniques. But I'm going to just show you how easy it might be to start making these yourself if you're interested, you can modify each one of these books to your own preferences to make them uniquely you. Then I'll show you how to get started art journaling in your new art journals that you've made yourself. And I think you're really going to love it. This is a good class to take if you have taken my other classes on art journaling and you're curious about making your own art journals from scratch. Or this is a great class if you've never thought of art journaling before. And you just want to dip your toe in. If this sounds like fun, I hope you'll join me in the next lesson. 2. junk journal supplies: So first of all, I just want to say that for each of these art journals we're gonna make today, you might want to protect your surface with some sort of cutting mat or cutting board. So I am going to be doing all of these art journals on a self-healing cutting mat. A lot of times these are used for sewing, but they're super durable. But if you don't have one of these, even just a large kitchen cutting board or even if you just want to put down some cardboard, you can protect your table from the knife cuts. We're going to be using and all we're going to be using all kinds of things that could theoretically damage your surface. K. So the first art journal we're gonna make, I'm focusing on the supplies you might have are under house already and the tools you might have around the house already. So it's just going to be a junk journal style which is basically using recycled materials. And so for the covers, I saved some of this board from the back of a watercolor book. It's just really nice, heavy board. And I have here traced out the size of the book that I want to make today. And then we have a bunch of pages from children's books. We have recycling stuff, pages from old planners, wrapping paper, scrap of paper, paintings that I've made. We're going to chop those all up and fill the book with paper from one of these mixed media books here. By Canson. It's a medium weight paper that takes a lot of water fine, but it also is not very expensive. So for tools, I'm using utility knife for cutting today.. no fancy cutting. For this one, I'm using a hole punch that I adjusted the punch width so that it's a smaller size for the book that I'm going to make, you can totally use this. You're just going to have to mark out your where you want your holes punched. And then three rings to bind it all together. I'm going to be using our ruler and maybe a pencil a little bit. And then this is just something I'm gonna put on the cover of it. So gather up a few supplies and will start to making this one. 3. junk journal assembly: The first thing we need to do is cut order covers. They're gonna kinda be the templates for all the rest of the pages. We're just using a ruler and a knife. And I just picked any old size that appeals to me. And that's the beauty of making your own book is you get to decide exactly if you want it to be portrait or landscape. If you want it to be square or rectangle. So you might as well take advantage of this customization and pick exactly the size you weren't. And I wanted a book that I could easily fit in my purse. So this is now going to be my template for all the others. I do not enjoy using a ruler for everything. It's just as easy for me to just use the one that I made and cut everything based on that. Even it's really thick board is pretty easy to cut with this miss this sharp knife. And I had to get my own utility knife because when I would use my the one that was in the garage belong to my husband and boys. It would always have a junkie blade on it and stuff. So part of the beauty of junk journaling is that you take his Found paper and you decide how you want it to be in your book. And I really like this jaggedy edge. So I'm kind of thinking high, want to incorporate that into this page. So I'm going to line this up on the side and just cut off the rest. There's many shops on Etsy that sell these books are ready made. But I wanted to make one of my own with things that I've found. So here's a cool peacock, I want to add her pigeon whenever this is R, Then I'm going to lay the stone as a template and add that to my pile. It's just fun to paint and draw over some of this other stuff sometimes. So think like this little lady here. I do a lot of drifting and I find these funny old textbooks. And then I pull pages out of them as just for crafting. So I am going to show you a few more pages and then I'm going to speed it up. While I cut out all the rest, don't work. Just a page that I stamped. Kind of interesting. So i will speed it up and do the rest of my book. So the next thing I need to do is get holes punched evenly spaced on this side once it gets to a good thickness. So I'm gonna start with the hardest part card board and I'm gonna do it flush to the bottom of my hole punch. And I've set these holes so that they're equidistant from top to bottom and just give it a punch. And that's going to be the hardest one. So then you can just take a few pieces at a time and make sure they're in, they're snug. And then you can start assembling your book. And I am not worried about the order of the pages, so I'm just going to kind of reassemble it in opposite order of what it is. Right now. Some of my pieces are smaller than five by seven. So I am making sure that they are at least lining up on the left side so that they will make sure to get holes in the right spots. And I think it's going to be really fun to see how some of these uneven pieces pico, give it a unique look. That's the benefit of making your own book is that it won't be like anything you've ever seen at a store. So I'm doing about three or four pages at a time. And depending on the diameter of your rings that you find at the office supply store, you can make it be as thick as you weren't really. I still want it to be something that I could take with me in the eye. So I don't want it to be too annoying and thick. But the other cool thing about this method is you can always add pages at a later date, or you can take out pages that you don't end up liking. But all these different varied surfaces will give you a lot of options for if you want to paint in these books, if you want to journal, if you weren't to collage, all the different things that you might want to do in an art journal are available to you when you have all these different surfaces. So I'm just about done here. So I am noticing that some of them line up a little bit weird. So it'll just be a matter of wiggling these things through the holes from front-to-back and you'll be in business and drop all the papers don't over. Three. Who I like it. I think they make these rings a little bit smaller. Maybe that would've been a better fit. But these actually hold it together pretty well. And now I can decorate the cover if I want. Or I can start creating urban here right away. So I'm gonna show you a couple ways you can jazz up this junk journal. Before you start using it. I am going to take this little cutout of my watercolor and I'm going to tape it on the cover. Could also cover the cover it with stickers, or you could use acrylic paints to jazz it up. I have this design as a sticker and Maggi shop, and I really like it. And the other idea I had was taking an envelope that fits that would fit in here and putting this in inside of here as a spot to put little clippings or little treasures. So I'm just gonna do that. And then we're ready to go. 4. travel journal supplies: So the next art journal that we're going to make today is stepping up a little bit in complexity, but still might be things that you have around the house. You're going to be making it out of four pieces of watercolor paper. This is nine by 12 size. We're going to use some sheet of something. This is a cover of some card stock, watercolor paper. Just a little bit heavier material for the cover, and we'll cover that with contact paper or you can try painting it if you don't have this, you can paint on the outside of it. Rather than using the utility knife for all my cuts, I will be using a paper trimmer this time because it's really nice to keep everything flat and square and make sure you have a nice, good sharp blade on that. But I've had this one for probably over ten years and it probably costed about 12 bucks. So this isn't really that fancy of a thing. If you're going to be getting into paper crafts, something a little more fancy, I will be using. Here is a, this was a paper trimmer that I just use for the scoring here. And it basically just has a little metal knob right there. You can run over your paper to make a clean line to fold on. And if you aren't interested in getting one of these, you can just use like a ruler and a pencil or a pen with the tip pushed in and you can still score a line on paper pretty easily. I will be using a ruler for some of this. This is a tool you might not have the, you could use a nail instead, but it's called an all. I'm going to be using it to punch some holes. But they're just sold at like Lowe's or Home Depot. A pencil for marking, marking where your holes will be. I will keep my utility knife on hand for the end of this process and four binder clips to kinda hold your book together as you're sewing it together. And then a needle. This one's very, very blunt with a big eye and some embroidery thread. And I have a good arm's length for that. So gather up these materials and we're going to make ourselves a little travel art journal. 5. travel journal setup: So the first thing we're gonna do is we're going to cut out our pages in the size that we want. And I'm kinda picturing a little portrait style could maybe fit in your back pocket, kind of art journal for my travel books. So I'm going to cut these in half, which is the six-inch mark right here. And you might want to check that opposite the, you know, the other side too, just to make sure that they all are the same. Sometimes it was just a fuzz extra on one of them. So this is where the scoring tool comes in. And take my stack of paper. And I'm going to go to the 4.5 inch mark because that's half of nine. And when you run it along there and just give you a nice spot to fold. And I'm gonna do that for all these pages. I just think it's really cool. You can go from four pieces of watercolor paper that's honestly costing you probably not more than a quarter. And make a really cool book. So this here is going to be the travel book and you can see how it's longer here. And we're going to eventually trim that off. But first we're going to make the cover. And the cover needs to be the same dimensions as the outside of course. So we will just trim off some of these jaggedy edges. And then we're gonna make it 6 by 9 So this is actually not a bad cover. I'm just gonna maybe I'll use contact paper on the other side just to leave this exposed on the inside. But you, you might just want to use a piece of a cereal box or certainly was not as to you. And then after that you would want to cover it with a contact paper. So this is going to be the cover. So this needs to be scored as well. And now we're gonna start with punching the holes. Okay. So you want the book to be sewn together with enough stitches that it won't be too floppy. So I am going to do a hole, a half inch from each end, And then one inch apart, further out. So this is the inch merc, merc. We can add. And now I'm going to need to do that exact configuration for all the rest of the pages. So I'll speed it up for you while I go through that process. So I'm all done with a pages, but I didn't want to put that contact paper on here just to show you how I do that before I punched the homes. So this is just some vintage shelf liner contact paper or whatever. But I found that a thrift shop. And usually it stays pretty sticky hearing through many years opened. And I'm just going to be exposed to in this adhesive, normally this arm there. And then I'm going to trim off the excess with my utility knife. So then I can I can punch the hole both layers. And again, this step is only if you're using like a card stock for the cover. That's really ugly. In this particular situation. I don't even think this is that route, but let's just punch the hole to make it line up with the others. And I'll show you how we stirred it altogether. 6. travel journal binding: So the sewing step is when you're going to want to use these binder clips to kind of hold your book together so it doesn't get away from you. I am going to put one on each of these sides so that all your holes line up perfectly. With these binder clips. Just the cutest. It's not totally necessary, but I found that it really makes your life a little easier when you're trying to get those stitches straight. So then you're going to want to thread your needle. The first needle I tried was actually too thick for these holes. Trying again with a narrower needle, you don't need to tie a knot in the end. We're just gonna go through this. Let's go from inside to outside. And just kind of leave a tail. Go back in the next one. Right up through the holes, you mean? And then we're gonna go just weren't your stitches to retire. But some there's gonna be some wobbly knows tennis book because it is a homemade book. And I definitely don't know that this book will hold up to tons and tons of abuse, but it is fun to experiment. And you might be surprised how long it does last. Some going back in and back out. We're basically just gonna make like this chain stitch all the way up, our back down, and then back to the center again. So this is very basic stitching. Basically what you would have done in kindergarten and those laced cards. Since now complicated. Backed into this one. It's a little hard to push it through, but not to ban back in from the outside. And then we're going to fill in those gaps. And then I'm gonna come back up one more time, double up on one of those stitches so that I have a q not on the inside. And basically, I don't know, maybe there's some really complicated knot. You can learn how to do that. I'm just tying it in a square not rate over that opening. And we'll trim these ends. In the class resources tab, I've included a diagram of how I bound this book exactly. Some of these videos and make it a little hard for you to see where my needle is going in and out. So feel free to download that. Look at it a little more closely if you're needing a little additional instruction. So I think that's kinda cute to see that on the inside. And then you can remove your binder clips. And you have the binding. Now. You can tell as well as I can, like I mentioned before, that these pages now do not lay completely flat. And some people might like that, loved. But I do like you see how professional outlooks inside of there on these other pages. Depending on how much of that bugs you, you can take your ruler as your straight edge along that cover and get your utility knife. And just one by one. If it bothers you that this book keeps bringing open, you can either put a rubber band around it just like this. For you can actually punch a hole in this back cover and feed this rubber band through. Make yourself seen fricking at this skewed. A little strapped for that. I think that looks pretty cool. I hope you enjoyed that. 7. deluxe spiral supplies: So the third Art Journal We're going to make today is my most complicated one yet. It is going to have a spiral binding, which we are going to use this awesome tool. It's called a zealot or binded all ordered mine on Amazon for 45 bucks. If you really want to start making professional-looking art journals, I would highly recommend it. I will show you how that works in a minute. And then you need to buy these coils to go with it. I'll be using my paper tumor again and also my score tool a little bit. I'm going to be using some blank mixed media paper out of my art journal and then some pages that have some painting on them. I just took my liquid watercolors and just squashed onto stuff on here just to get some of the pages broken in. And that way I don't have blank pages staring at me. I am going to be using a hole punch to add a little cord to wrap around it. This is synthetic swayed cord from Amazon. And I'll be punching the pages corners with this little corner rounder punch. This is totally optional, but I think it definitely makes it look more professional. And I just want to show you all these different tools that I like using so that you can use whatever ones you have or whatever ones you want to really customize the book for yourself. And for the cover I'll be taking a thicker sheet of something that I water colored and adding a piece of laminated material over the top. And I buy these sheets just It's Scotch brand and it single-site illuminating and it's essentially a big shiny piece of packaging tape to put over this to make a reinforced cover for the book. So flew once you gather your supplies, will get started. 8. deluxe spiral setup: So the first thing I need to do is cut out my painting sheets and my billing sheets to the size that I want. And I'm picturing an art journal that is landscape and about a quarter of the page size. So the first thing I need to do is cut off this fringe right at nine inches. And then I need to cut them to be 4.5 from one dimension and then six other. And this gives me some really cute little pages that I can journal over four. Add more to later. So I'll speed it up while I do all the other pages of the book. Okay, the next thing we need to do is the lamination of the cover. So basically these, this is called single-sided lamination, which basically means is just a gigantic sticker cleared. So it's not really very complicated, but his need to line it up on there and start to rub it down. And I don't know about you, but I love when things are glossy like this. It's kind of my one of my favorite things. So when I discovered that I could laminate my watercolors and use them as Covers of my art journals. I really, really love that. So now we know what size our book is going to be and we need to make front and back covers so we can't go any narrower than half. So we're gonna go to the foreign half size here. And one will be the cover. You can decide whichever one you prefer that you want to be on your cover. And I'm going to trim off ends a little bit of this and make it be six inches for the cover. And then there's just some random paintings on the back here. But then we need to put the back is actually going to be let me show you. It's going to actually come around to the front a little bit. So you can get a feel for what you might, how big you might want that tab. And just scrape a little line with your fingernail and then put it on your paper tremor and then cut it off. So now this is basically your back cover and this is your front cover. And this turned out a little bit thicker than I expected. So we are going to need to get a bigger coil. But I love how this is turning out. I think this is really, really fun. So the next thing we need to do is punch the corners. And I'm gonna show you a few punches and then I'm going to speed it up. So I'm using this seven millimeter corner right here. This punch from Hobby Lobby has all three corners. And you basically just put your corner and they're really snug. And just like that, you have that very polished result. And I can usually get away with doing two pages at once of this mixed media paper. But I can't do too much more than that. So it is a little bit tedious. But in the end, I feel like it makes your book holdup so much better. So I'm going to speed this up while I punch the other corners. And once your pages are ready, we're ready to bind this book up. 9. deluxe spiral binding: Okay, this is by no means a comprehensive class on this particular tool because it definitely takes some playing with. But I have learned how to do the very simplest of functions on here. So I'm just going to start there. So the reason this machine is cool is because it only punches six holes that a time. And while that might not sound cool, it really is infinitely customizable. You could do books as big or as small as you want, because you can just keep that configuration of holes for the rest of your book if you need to. So I'm going to start with a cover. And I basically have these little stops on each side setup so that I can put this in here. I can punch this side and see, I need one more punched hole over here. I can flip it around and make sure it's in there all the way. And then I can get those other holes. So I don't know if this is gonna make sense. If you've never used one of these machines before. But I promise you it's very cool that it's such a small little unit and you can still get this professional binding result. And I'm just going to speed it up now I punch the rest of the pages and the back cover. So I had originally planned on using this three-quarter inch or half-inch coil. But as it turned out, my book is quite a bit thicker than that. So I'm going to be using this big one-inch coil. And you can buy all this on Amazon. And I'm just going to count, I need seven of these loops. So I'm just going to count to seven here and use some shears to cut it. And you're gonna wanna put the back cover around to the front. And it comes with this little template here. So I'm using the one-inch coils, so I'm going to widen this front brake thing out to one-inch. And this is just to prevent it from over-closing the coil. So that's kind of a nifty little measurement thing. You stick it in there, make sure that's what it's out. Then you slide the coil through all those pages and the covers from back. And it's just a little bit of And wiggle wiggle to get him on there. And then you stand it up so that it's kind of flat on the on the base there. And then you bring the handle down again. And when it stops, it looks like it needs to go a bit further, but it keeps it from going too far closed. And then you have your coil on there. Just like that. Isn't that gorgeous. So now I'm going to add the cord that will hold it all together. And I have many versions of this journal in my Etsy shop if you're interested. But I take his little tiny punch, it smaller than a standard hole punch. And I just make an itty-bitty hole right there. And then I take some of this cord and push it through. I just, it's hard to get a whole that's the perfect diameter, but you want it to hold this cord and not be too big or too small. Of course. I'm going to put that knot right there. Around again, right there And just the kind of stickiness of the suede keeps that knot behind there. And you have a darling little art journal You throw in your purse or wherever you want to bring your art supplies. So the one thing I still have yet to do is use my scoring tool here to really make this edge of the book be more flexible and give it a more custom fit around the edge. So I'm gonna take this scoring tool and put this flap through here. And all I'm gonna do is give it a few different score lines, each about eighth of an inch apart. Just so that this tab is flexible. Alright, rounds that corner in a neat way rather than getting kind of roughly creased. And this isn't essential, but I like how it gives that edge. It just makes it more more rounded there when it wraps around from the back to the front. So that is something you can do to if you're interested. 10. what next?: Now that you've made a beautiful art journal, you may be wondering what to do next. Even a blank book you made yourself can be a bit intimidating to get started with. As I talk about in all my other art journaling classes, I think it's important to jump in somewhere in the middle and just start making a mess on some of the pages. Fill a page with a wash of watercolor, or add a quote or a doodle to a page that already has some painting on it. I teach lots of other classes here on skillshare depending on the art you want to make. I have a class all about travel art journaling. I have a class all about landscapes. I have two classes dealing with mental health. And I even have a class all about hand lettering if you need more ideas. I think it's extra special to make art in a book that I made myself. So just relax and have fun with it. The most important thing to keep in mind though, is something that I've said ever since my Intro to Art Journaling class is that there's no wrong way to do this. If you feel like you are drawn to pages full of writing, that's okay. If you like to do illustrations from your everyday life, that's okay too. If you have all kinds of whimsical illustrations that you want to experiment with. You guessed it, I'm going to tell you that's okay too. So just chill out and don't take it so seriously and get started. 11. goodbye for now!: Well that was fun guys. I hope you loved this class and you're fired up to start experimenting with making your own art journals. You can mix and match techniques and ideas and materials and tools based on what you have now. And maybe add a few things to your Amazon wishlist. I have every single one of my supplies listed in the class description tab. Most are linked so that you can get them purchased and, and get going on them right away. But I would love it if you posted a picture of your ready-made art journal to the project gallery. To do that, you're gonna need to use your desktop or laptop computer. And under the projects, click Create New Project and share some pictures and some thoughts on the process. Also, if you have any questions or concerns or want to reach out for some more interaction, I love hanging out in the class discussions tab. Be sure to leave a rating and review here on skillshare so other people can find this class. And I'd also love it if you shared it with a friend. Tell someone that you think might be interested in making their own art journal from scratch. Be sure to follow me on skillshare so that you are notified about all my classes coming up. I have so many classes in the works right now. You can also follow me on Instagram where I post my daily artwork and new things and my Etsy shop. And speaking of Etsy shop, I have taken some fun papers out of old books and I sell them in packs on my Etsy shop and it also sell lots of stickers for decorating outside of your art journals. Until next time, happy art journaling.