As a home school mom with a bunch of artsy kids, I am frequently asked “What can I draw?” or “What can I write about?” These creative writing prompt journals are the perfect answer to the second question, and make a great gift for a budding novel writer.
Over the years, I have collected lots of writing prompts from here and there, to spark their imaginations and get my kids writing. There are 5 different sets of writing prompts in 5 different categories: About Me, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Romance, and Humor. This tutorial makes one journal for each category.
If you have a young writer in your family or know of one, these journals would be an excellent gift tailored just for their main interest! The supplies are not expensive. They can be put together in a single evening and allowed to fully dry for at least another 24 hours. I’ve already done the hours of labor in collecting and formatting the text for you, all you have to do it put the pieces together.
How to Make the Journals
- 5 Mead Composition Journals (other brands may be fine if they are the same dimensions)
- Mod Podge
- Paper cutter (optional)
- Computer printed writing prompt sheets (see links below)
- Colored or patterned paper
- Mod Podge clear acrylic sealer
Begin by trimming your printed sheets to the right size. Place the sheet inside the notebook and trace around the cover to make a cut-line. The spine side will be covered up later so don’t trim that side.
Place a blank sheet of paper just inside the cover to prevent possible drips onto the sheets below. You don’t want to accidentally glue the pages together. Using a large paintbrush paint a very thin layer of Mod Podge across the front cover of one of the journals. Carefully place the pre-trimmed paper onto the cover, start with the outer rounded edges first. If you mess up the placement you may have to reprint the paper and try again.
The paper will probably bubble up in a few places as it gets wetter but don’t stress too much about that, as it dries it will tighten up again and take care of most (if not all) of those bubbles. Allow them to dry for an hour or 2, before proceeding. Do NOT apply a layer of Mod Podge on top of the paper yet, as this will make it too wet to recover well from the temporary bubbling.
If you want your journals to be covered on the back as well, this would be the time to apply that layer and allow it to dry. I suggest either a second copy of the same writing prompts or a solid color paper that corresponds with the spine cover you will be using. I left mine as is.
Prepare your spine covers by trimming your colored or patterned paper to strips that are 2″ x 9.75″. This is the right size for covering the edge of the computer paper and wrapping all the way around to the back. I used my paper trimmer for this, because it’s much better at making smooth long straight cuts than I am when cutting it freehand.
Apply a second layer Mod Podge to the top of the covers now. Keep the layers thin. Paint it all the way to the spine.
While the Mod Podge is still damp lay half of one of the trimmed spine covers to the top of the spine. Do not wrap it around yet. It can be done, but letting the top dry for an hour or so makes the process much faster and cleaner. In my case I used colored card stock for my spine covers. You could also use patterned masking tape, called Washi tape if you like.
All five of the journals drying for a few hours before the next step.
After the top layer has dried you can apply more Mod Podge to the spine and the spine covers to finish them off. Allow to dry over night before stacking them together as they will still be slightly tacky, especially if placed against another recently Mod Podged piece. The dry time will vary depending on which type of Mod Podge was used, humidity levels in your home, how thick your layer was applied, and possibly how soon it is till a full moon. There’s no telling.
I propped the journals up on some thick markers while the spines dried.
Unfortunately, because Mod Podge is water soluble the covers are not yet water-proof. They are water-resistant, but a drop of water left on the cover would create a milky white spot. If caught early and blotted, it should dry again to a solid clear. Also, at this stage each notebook will sort of stick to the ones next to it if stacked together. The solution, a layer of clear acrylic sealer over the top. I use Mod Podge brand clear acrylic sealer because it doesn’t turn yellow like some other polyurethane sprays will. This sealer goes on easily and dries quickly. Just be sure to protect your background beforehand.
Here’s an example of a water droplet on top of the cover before and after applying the acrylic sealer. Without the sealer the water will spread out and be absorbed into the cover leaving a spot that it may or may not recover from when it dries again. With the sealer the droplet beads up on the surface.
Here are all five versions completed.
Make sure to allow them to dry for 24 hours before stacking. If they are still tacky a light sprinkling of baby powder brushed over the covers will help with that.
Download links for each version: