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Turn Old Books Into Journals for a Creativity Outlet

Updated: Jul 5, 2022

Do you have old books lying around? Are you looking to declutter? If it is a good book you just don’t want anymore, there are many places that appreciate donations of old books.

(Photo by Angela Rafac)

But what if it is a damaged book? Or maybe it is just really outdated. If it is not suitable for donation, there are many great craft ideas for reusing old books that you can easily find with a Google search.

Why not try repurposing your old book into a new journal or sketch pad? Turn those outdated pages into blank ones. Then your imagination is the only limit on how you can fill those blank pages.


  • An old hardcover book

  • White paint

  • A paint brush

  • A box cutter or scissors (Make sure you have a responsible adult’s permission.)

  • Photos, stickers, ribbons or other bling for decoration (optional)

How to make your journal

Use a dry paint brush coated with a little white paint to turn pages into blank ones. Do one page at the time and let it dry completely.

Too much paint at once can wrinkle the pages, so you might want to do two coats, or you might not mind that you can see some of the words coming through. You may want to create right over the page without whiting it out first. Or maybe you want to white out only some of the page.

Adding artwork to your pages adds thickness. Your book may not close as well, but removing pages helps. Use a box cutter or scissors to remove a couple of pages here and there. (Make sure you have a responsible adult’s permission to use a box cutter or scissors.)

If you are adding photos, stickers, ribbons or other bling, you can glue two pages together for a sturdier page to work on.

You can blank out all the pages one at a time so you have an empty journal to use. Or you can just prep pages as you go along and let it transform into your journal over time.

Don’t forget to decorate the outside cover pages.

Materials to create in your journal

  • Crayons, pencils, pens, markers and paints for drawing, writing and painting.

  • Paint brush, glue and scissors for creating pages.

  • Paper, string, lace, stickers, photos and more for decorating pages.

Ideas to create in your journal

Your imagination is the limit, but here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Use as an everyday journal to record your thoughts and feelings.

  • Use as a nature journal to record and draw observations.

  • Make a scrapbook with photos, tickets stubs and other memorabilia. Maybe make one as a gift for someone special.

  • Draw outlines of pictures or shapes and turn into a coloring book.

  • Keep a collection of inspiring and/or funny quotes.

  • Use as an art journal to draw, paint, color or decoupage. (If you are going to try a messy project, like painting or decoupaging, use plastic wrap or plastic bags to protect the other pages. Let your artwork dry completely before removing the protective plastic.)

  • Replicate any of the millions of ideas available on Pinterest and YouTube.

Have fun and let your creative juices flow!


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