Make a Pretty Gratitude Journal from a Composition Book

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Who knew that you could transform a traditional composition book into a beautiful book? This Gratitude Journal tutorial is a great one to add to your list of Thanksgiving activities. Pass it around for everyone at the table to record what they’re thankful for or use it for yourself as a daily reminder to count your blessings.

Keeping a Gratitude Journal can also be a great thing to add to your Self Care Sundays During the Holiday Season. When we focus on what we have, instead of what we don’t, we help our spirits as well as our minds embrace the season we’re in.

pretty gratitude journal on table top.

“What are you thankful for this year?”

It’s a question that is asked around many a table on the fourth Thursday in November every year. 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.

And I am thankful.

Answering “the question” in a Gratitude Journal is a low-stress way to let everyone at your gathering reflect on what they’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. Or you can offer the Gratitude Journal as after dinner reading.

Why Do This

What a beautiful tradition! 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 your lives have changed over the years.

Keeping a Gratitude Journal is good for individual practice. You don’t have to limit this just to the Thanksgiving holiday. Use a Gratitude Journal to help you find gratitude and grace in tough times. Gratitude actually helps your brain chemistry.

It makes a great gift. A custom journal also makes a fun DIY holiday gift. A Gratitude Journal is a creative way to Repurpose School Supplies.

Supplies

Here’s what you’ll need to make a pretty Gratitude Journal out of a composition book:

scrapbook papers, composition book, mod podge, printable labels, and paint brush laid out on the table top.

To get the download: Click here to subscribe to the Life as Mom newsletter and get instant access to our free printable library, including a number of project templates.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s how to make a pretty Gratitude Journal out of a composition book:

cutting printed paper to fit the size of the composition book cover.

Cut the 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.

applying modpodge to inside of cover to adhere more paper lining and the ribbon bookmark.

Apply a thin coat of Mod 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 Mod Podge.

For the bookmark, apply a little Mod 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 Mod 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.

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

fingers pointing to the label that reads give thanks on the cover of a pretty composition book.

Cut out the journal title piece from the free download and use Mod 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.

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.

sheet of Thanksgiving Bible verses pasted on the inside cover of the gratitude journal.

FAQs

What do you write in a gratitude journal?

A gratitude journal is a place to record what you’re thankful for. What are the blessings in your life? What good, however small, do you observe on a day to day?

How do you make a simple gratitude journal?

A gratitude journal does not need to be fancy. It can be as simple as a word file on your computer, a list in your notes app on your phone, or a plain notebook found in the school supplies. This tutorial demonstrates how to transform a standard composition book into a pretty, customized gratitude journal.

What are some examples of gratitude?

Gratitude can be identified in both small and big things in life, including but not limited to: good weather, a warm home, cheap rent, healthy kids, debts paid, a great cup of coffee, a healthy marriage, a chance to learn from one’s mistakes.

Recommended Thanksgiving Activities

overhead shot of composition book covered in pretty scrapbook paper with a ribbon bookmark and a label that reads give thanks.

Gratitude Journal

Prep Time 30 mins
Total Time 30 mins

Equipment

  • scissors

Supplies
  

  • 1 composition book
  • 2-3 sheets scrapbook paper
  • 12 inches grossgrain ribbon
  • 1 jar Mod Podge
  • 1 brush

Instructions
 

  • 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. 
  • Apply a thin coat of Mod 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 Mod Podge.
  • For the bookmark, apply a little Mod 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 Mod 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.
  • Glue another piece of scrapbook paper to the inside back cover as well.
  • Cut out the journal title piece from the free printable 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.
  • 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.

Notes

Suggested uses:
  • Pass the Gratitude Journal around at Thanksgiving, allowing guests a chance to record their blessings for the year. You can read them together or just keep them as a memento from year to year.
  • Use the Gratitude Journal for private reflection, writing in it daily what you are thankful for.
  • Give a Gratitude Journal as a gift. If you make several at one time, you’ll save the most time and money.
black and blue gratitude journal with give thanks label on maple table top with text overlay.

— This project was created by Janel Piersma. After many years as a stay-at-home mom and “law school wife”, Janel returned to work in the legal profession. You can read all of Janel’s Life as MOM posts here.

This post was originally published on November 25, 2013. It has been updated for content and clarity.

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