Handmade Quick Daily Journal – Part 2: The Making

In part 1 I went through the design process for a daily journal with printed pages, a card cover and saddle staples. In this post I’ll show how I actually put them together, using mostly basic home office supplies.

The pages are printed and stacked. I’ve now got a decent office colour laser; cheap to run and good for clean graphical prints like this, no good for photos but I bought it for the specific purpose of churning out cheap documents and doing graphics for the workshop. Photos I can get done elsewhere.


My childhood origami practice comes into play folding the pages in half with nice sharp creases.

I’m using Holly Green 270gsm recycled card from Eco-Craft. It’s just barely thin enough to be folded by hand, but it tends to get a bit crumpled around the crease. I use a cheap plastic bone folder to crease the card and get a sharp clean fold.


This is where I use the only specialised piece of equipment in the process – a Bostitch manual saddle stapler. You could definitely do it with a regular long arm stapler for less than £10, but the saddle stapler sets the staples really neatly upright on the spine of the booklet. I justified it on the basis that I had a feeling I’d be making various booklets in future, set a watch on Ebay and picked this one up new for £40, which is about 20% off the list price.


Update from the far future of 2021: After a couple of years of struggling to get the staples through the card covers consistently (even the toughest ones I could find were just a little too weak and would buckle maybe 2 times in 5), I invested in this beautiful monstrosity for £100. It takes No. 23 staples which are thicker and more rigid than the usual No. 26 ones and pierce the card easily – the extended arm also gives it serious leverage. The only tradeoff is that it doesn’t have the saddle rest to help align the spine, so it takes a bit more precision to line up.

If you’re replicating this project yourself, you could probably reduce the cover thickness from the 270gsm I’ve used to more like 220 and be absolutely fine – I’m just really stubborn about those nice thick covers!

Next: Split and trim. As I mentioned in part 1, this guide from Big Jump Press is a fantastic explanation of how to cut and trim a booklet with hand tools, but the main elements are:

  • A very sharp blade (as usual I’m using a snap-off craft knife, and I always snap a new edge to start a booklet)
  • Lots of gentle strokes (the more pressure you apply the more likely you are to move the straight edge)
  • Lift your leg on the side of the arm that’s holding the straight edge, so as to put more of your body weight on the hand.

I would add from my own experience: Make sure to keep the blade of the knife vertical, particularly if you’re cutting lots of layers. I tend to tilt the blade if I don’t pay attention and then you get sloping edges; no bueno.

I flatten the booklet out to trim the top and bottom and cut across the middle to split the two journals apart.

Then I fold it closed to trim the edge, so as to get a flat edge to the pages.

The two journals are now fully trimmed. The printed pages are actually a little high and to the left, which I thought I’d corrected after the last batch but apparently not; I adjust the digital file now to make sure the next batch are dead on (it might still take a couple of iterations), and make a prominent note to myself. There’s nothing worse than forgetting what you’ve adjusted between versions, doing it again and overshooting.

Nearly there, and the most fun stage: It’s time to punch the corners with the little Docrafts hand punch.

It can only do one cover page or a few inner pages at a time, so it’s just a matter of getting into a rhythm and crunching away.

Mmmm….satisfying 🙂 I highly recommend corner punch therapy if you’re feeling a little tense.


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