Make a Thanksgiving Journal (Falling for Fun)

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Learn how to customize a simple composition book to make a Thanksgiving journal from Life as MOM contributor Janel.

How to Make a Custom Journal | Life as MOM

“What are you thankful for this year?”

It’s a question that is asked around many a table on the fourth Thursday in November. Personally, I always kinda squirm with that one. You know, sharing feelings around large groups of people is not really in my comfort zone. But, taking time to think about the blessings in our lives truly is a good exercise.

Answering “the question” in a Thanksgiving journal is a low-stress way to have everyone reflect on what we’re thankful for without putting anyone on the spot. People can take their time and reflect. After everyone has recorded their answers, people can share theirs if they wish or someone can be the spokesperson and read them all aloud.

Pulling out the Thanksgiving journal every year makes for a memorable family tradition. It’s fun to walk down memory lane and read the past entries, and see how our lives have changed over the years.

However, you don’t have to limit this journal just to the Thanksgiving holiday. Take a tip from Life as MOM contributor Prerna and use a Thanksgiving journal to help you find gratitude and grace in tough times. A custom journal also makes a great DIY holiday gift.

How to Make a Custom Journal:

How to Make a Custom Journal | Life as MOM


  • composition book
  • scrapbook paper
  • scissors
  • Modge Podge
  • foam brush
  • 12″ ribbon for bookmark – “seal” the cut ends of the ribbon with a match
  • Thanksgiving Journal template (if desired) – downloaded and printed onto cardstock of your choice

Cut scrapbook paper to size so that you can cover the front and back covers of your composition book as well as the inside of the covers. (You don’t really need those class schedule charts and multiplication tables, do you?) If you want, use different layers of paper on the front and back cover or cut out different shapes as embellishments. I used a pretty patterned paper so I kept it pretty simple in design.

How to Make a Custom Journal | Life as MOM

Apply a thin coat of Modge Podge to the book cover and glue the scrapbook cover pieces in place on the front and back covers. Use your fingers to smooth the paper to prevent any air bubbles. Press from the center of the page towards the edges until it is firmly affixed and smooth. Use tissue to wipe off any excess Modge Podge.

How to Make a Custom Journal | Life as MOM
For the bookmark, apply a little Modge Podge to the front inside cover near the spine. Place one end of the ribbon on top and press to adhere. You’ll want the loose end of the ribbon to come out of the end of the book. This way, you can tuck it into the later pages of the book to save your spot. To help hold the ribbon in place, apply more Modge Podge to the inside front cover and to the ribbon (where it sticks to the cover) and then place another piece of scrapbook paper on top. You’ll seal the ribbon between the composition cover and your decorative scrapbook paper.

How to Make a Custom Journal | Life as MOM

Modge Podge another piece of scrapbook paper to the inside back cover as well.

Cut out the journal title piece from the free download and use Modge Podge to glue it to the cover. If you want, you can back it on another piece of scrapbook paper for more visual interest before putting it on the cover.

Add title to journal

The FREE printable also includes some Bible verses about thanksgiving. If you wish, you can cut that out and glue it to the inside of your cover if you wish.

How to Make a Custom Journal | Life as MOM
Other Thanksgiving Traditions:

What’s one of your family’s Thanksgiving traditions?

– Janel is a stay-at-home mom of two daughters and a “law school wife” in Virginia. Raised in a budget-conscious and DIY-minded family, she blogs about motherhood, crafts, and living on a law school budget at Life with Lucie and Ella. You can read all of Janel’s Life as MOM posts here.

DIY-on-a-DIME-falling-for-fun-125Ready to fall for fun?

This post is part of the DIY on a Dime: Falling for Fun series. Check it out for all kinds of budget-friendly, family fun ideas to celebrate one of the most beautiful seasons of the year.

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