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Compass Travel Journal

Document your excursions with this recycled travel journal.

A passion for design and the environment inspires Carol Lynn Benoit to create beautiful gifts made from recycled products. Here she shows us how to make a decorative travel journal.

Materials and Tools:

large sheet of handmade paper
matte board or other lighter weight board
small compass
3 aluminum screw posts (purchased from hardware store)
blank or graphic paper for inside of journal
found objects such as old love letters, maps, photographs, ticket stubs, etc.
fun paper for journal page dividers
acid-free glue
bone folder
scrap piece of wood
spade drill bit
7/32" drill bit
3 binder clips
wax paper
craft knife
thread and needle
safety glasses


1. Gather and lay out materials on a clean work surface.

2. Cut the chipboard for the book in the following measurements:

  • Cover: Two pieces cut 7-3/4" x 7-1/4"
  • Binding Strip: Two pieces cut 1-1/4" x 7-3/4"
  • Front Compass Cover: Cut one piece of the thinner board 7-3/4" x 7-1/4"
  • Front Binding Strip: One piece 7-3/4" x 1-1/4"
  • Glue the thinner board to one piece of the chipboard to create the front cover.
  • The back cover will be only one thickness of chipboard.

3. Cut handmade paper into two 9" x 17" pieces. The cover paper should be soft and fold without tearing.

4. Lay out the back cover paper and place the thin binding strip piece of chipboard to the left of the cover piece. The thin strip should be 3 inches in from the left, leave a 1/4-inch gap, and then place main board leaving 5 inches on the right side.

Figure A

5. Brush glue on one side of chipboard and paper. After adhering chipboard to paper, flip over and roll out any wrinkles with a brayer (figure A). Press the bone folder down the gap created between the cover and binding strip.

6. Fold paper along the edges of the chipboard. Cut away corners of the paper to allow for a flat fold when glued together.

Figure B

7. Fold and glue top and bottom first. Then fold and glue outside flaps beginning at the left side (figure B).

Figure C

Press the bone folder down the gap created between the cover and the binding strip (figure C). It is important that all edges be firmly glued in place.

Front Cover

8. Drill a hole in the cover chipboard lower right corner 1-1/4 inch from edge with a spade drill bit on scrap wood. The size of the hole and drill bit will depend on compass size you will be inlaying.

Figure D

9. Glue a small piece of cover paper on the thinner board where the compass will be glued. Adhere the cover chipboard and binding strip to the thinner board (figure D).

10. Repeat steps 4-7.

Figure E

11. Cut a small opening over the compass hole using a craft knife (figure E). Push paper into hole and smooth out opening using a pen to press against the edges.

12. Wrap the two covers separately in wax paper and place under heavy objects (stack of books) for 24 hours to dry.

Figure F

13. Cut inside journal paper 7-1/2" x 8-1/2". Select a combination of white paper, graph paper, maps or fun, colored paper. The thickness of paper and the length of the aluminum screw post determine the quantity of pages. Insert fun paper to create sections or chapters in your book, approximately one per 20 journal pages (figure F).

14. Gather other sentimental objects, photographs, folders or envelopes that you want to include in the pages of your travel journal. Cut to fit.


Figure F

15. Stack paper and other journal components. Use three large binder clips to hold all of the books pieces together: front cover, inside pages, envelope, folder and back cover. Use a scrap piece of paper under the binder clips to prevent any visible marks.

Figure G

16. Measure and mark three equally spaced holes on the binding strip (figure G).

Figure H

Drill holes with a 7/32-inch drill bit (figure H).

Figure I

17. Insert aluminum screw posts into the holes and tighten with a screwdriver (figure I). The length of the screw post will vary on the thickness of the book.

Figure J

18. Choose a small photograph or map and adhere it to the front cover using double-stick tape (figure J).

19. Drill two holes centered on the back cover 1 inch from the edge.

20. Thread elastic through and cut to size. Sew ends together.

21. Dab glue into the compass hole and the back of the compass. Press firmly into place.

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