Making of a Creative Journal Spread

Ever since I started decorating my journals, I always wondered: how does everyone go about putting their creative spreads together? Interestingly enough, I began to develop my own habits as I slowly made my way through the weekly horizontal insert (undated) for the traveler's notebook. I would throw a song or a YouTube video on in the background and work on them as a way to unwind after work, and in a relaxed state of mind, found familiar ways to embellish the pages. For any of you who might be curious (and for my own analysis of said habits), I've outlined the general steps I take to come up with a creative journal spread for the week!


Step 1: Pick a Color Scheme


I choose between two to three main colors I want to work with. To do this, I often go back to older pages I've created and either use a combination of colors I haven't used in a long time, or make a new combination altogether.

After I make up my mind on which two to three I will use, I dig through all of the supplies I own and pull out what suits the color scheme, setting them aside for the decorative process that comes later on.


Step 2: Stamp the Dates

Before I dive into embellishments, I always like to stamp the dates. Even though this process might be cumbersome for others, I find that I enjoy using the undated insert because I can change the stamp ink color from week to week - it keeps things more lighthearted and fun for me.

I also tend to be more focused in the beginning of making a spread, which is why I check the calendar and make sure to stamp the correct dates. I get sidetracked often as I progress, so getting the dates out of the way works well.


Step 3: Decide on a Topic


Since the right side of the weekly horizontal insert is empty, I decide early on what I'm going to write on that page. I struggle to choose a subject at times, but I generally try to pick something that's on my mind the most during that week. Sometimes it's a casual topic like upcoming weekend plans, and other times it's more personal and reflective.


Step 4: Throw on Some Stickers and Washi Tape

Now, this part is where I truly set myself free. I take all of the stickers and washi tape I chose earlier based on the color scheme and decorate to my heart's content. I don't abide by any rules or have anything specific in mind at this point. I place everything where I feel like putting them, making sure to leave some white space for writing. Otherwise, there are no restrictions whatsoever. If I had to pick a favorite part of this whole process, this one would be it.


Step 5: Add Decorative Stamping

Sticking to a color scheme is great, but can look a bit repetitive on the whole. When I take a look at what I've done so far and think it can use a little more variety, a few decorative stamps come in and save the day. For this spread in particular, I chose to stamp in a light gray shade to balance the existing bright colors.

If you've been following this blog or my Instagram, you've probably seen these stamps before. Although I only own a handful of these, I find that they're versatile enough for repeated use across all of my pages.


Step 6: Fill in the Blank(s)


Finally, I fill it with some much needed text! During a blog post week, I have daily checklists to keep myself on track. On an "off" week, I write a brief summary of each day.

Text often serves a supplemental purpose to the overall look of the spread for me instead of being the main focus. I'm not sure why, but I prefer to use imagery when it comes to the traveler's notebook size. I work at an office and my day job is already filled with tons of text, so focusing on visuals as a way to be creative works well for me personally.


Other Steps Along the Way

I keep the following points in mind whenever I work in my creative journals:

  • It doesn't have to be perfect. I already get stressed on my day job trying to produce top notch work. I remind myself that filling my journal is a creative hobby, which means I have more room to experiment and make mistakes. I won't love every page I make, but that's okay!
  • Go with the flow. Similar to the last point, I don't plan meticulously on how to decorate my journal. I pick some colors, get out my supplies, and run with it. Whatever happens, happens.
  • Have fun! Ultimately, it all goes back to my personal philosophy - if I'm not having fun, why do it? Life is filled with big and small responsibilities that a lot of us find difficult to tackle. Playing with stationery during downtime is designed to be relaxing and freeing for me, so why inundate that personal time fussing over how one of my letters look? Of course, there are many enthusiasts in the community who also create for a living, in which case setting a high bar for yourself is incredibly important. However, as long as journaling remains a hobby for me, I'm going to take it easy and just enjoy it.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my spread making process! How do you decorate your journals? Do you go through something similar, or do you try to approach it differently each time? Let me know in the comments below. Until next time!