Our Peek Inside… series takes a look inside people’s journals to celebrate their imagination and inspire others. Please send us an email if you have a project that you would like to be featured.


Previously on Peek Inside… Laura’s Journals

We recently received a comment on Facebook from Laura, who asked for our advice on updating (and upgrading!) partially used journals. This got us thinking… Who hasn’t begun writing in a new book, sure of the direction it would take, only to abandon that project after a few entries? We could instantly relate to the pain Laura felt at having these under-appreciated journals lying around and just knew there was still great creative potential left to tap… Laura has let us into the pages of a few of her journals and together we will be brainstorming some ideas on how to “upgrade” them.

Check out our full first post with Laura to see the “before” here.

Our Suggestions and “After” Shots

Journal Idea #1 – Repurposing a Journal

Laura had begun writing her blog ideas in an Ultra journal but quickly found it was easier for her to write her drafts on the computer. So, how should we repurpose this barely used journal?

When we chatted with Laura she mentioned her passions included music (especially film soundtracks), reading and ballet, among other interests. The Paperblanks team got together and we thought this journal would be a great way to celebrate all her favourite things!


Key Ideas

  • Top 10 Lists: These are great ways to organise your thoughts on the latest events, movies and other passions in your life
  • Stickers are your friend: Even if you aren’t particularly artistic stickers can add fun pops of colour and graphic elements to your journal entries
  • Colours and Weights (line thickness): Mixing these up breaks everything up nicely and adds a sense of flow to the page
  • Stencils: Keep your letters consistent and give yourself different font options
  • Rating System and Icons: Create your own organisational system by assigning stickers or doodles to certain themes (e.g., star ratings for books or importance levels for to-do lists)


If you, like Laura, have a gorgeous new journal and just aren’t sure where to start, try these quick list ideas to help get you going! The best part is – stickers, stencils and other easy decorative elements can be found at your local craft or dollar store!

Journal Idea #2 – Creating a Gorgeous and Useful Personal Dictionary

When we first spoke with Laura she wasn’t sure how she wanted to upgrade her Midi Windrush journal; she just knew she had twenty pages of crossed out notes to move on from. Since that time, she has started using it in her English studies, jotting down new words and phrases as she comes across them. We took this idea to the next level, suggesting to her that she create a personal dictionary or thesaurus. And, what do you know, one of our team members actually has her own version of this!

Check out how she has designed her own little lexicon for tips on how to create one of your own!

Old Leather - Personal Dictionary image1 MC

Key Ideas

  • Order is key: Dictionaries and thesauruses work because you can find the words you need with ease so before you begin filling in your pocket dictionary, divide it into sections (alphabetically or by category) using sticky tabs, clips or labelled corner folds
  • Have some fun: A little doodle here and there will not only make your pages more pleasant-looking, they can help add more context to a word
  • Set a standard: To make your entries more scannable, try implementing a system like our team member does above – bold and all caps for the words, cursive writing for where she first encountered the term and standard dictionary abbreviations to indicate what type of word it is

Old Leather - Personal Dictionary a MC

Journal Idea #3 – Upgrading a Recipe Book

For her third journal, Laura knew she wanted to continue using it as a recipe book, but she wanted to make it more eye-catching. The first thing that jumped out at us (and our readers!) was the lack of colour – in both the words and empty spaces calling out for pictures. Since Laura has already written out many recipe entries, we focussed on upgrading her existing format, rather than completely redoing the book.


Key Ideas

  • Fonts and headings: Break up the page with headings and font changes! A big reason why Laura isn’t very impressed with her own recipe pages (the original photo above) is that they are written in a consistent font, colour and size
  • Graphic elements: Pictures are the best part of any recipe (why do you think Pinterest is so popular?). Even if you don’t have photos of the dish you cooked, you can cut and paste magazine samples, print from your computer or even stick in the label from a key ingredient onto the empty space on a page
  • Organisation: Sort your recipes to find your favourites by tagging the pages (either folding them back or adding a sticky note) or give them a rating to remember the best ones

Show Us Your Journals!

These are just a few ideas for upgrading half-used or uninspiring journals. What would you do if you had to repurpose an old notebook? Tell us in the comments or show us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and we could end up profiling you!

About Paperblanks®: At Paperblanks®, we believe that art should have a place in all aspects of life. That’s why we follow the artist’s way in everything we do – creating, crafting and releasing designs we believe have the power to touch people. For more about Paperblanks®, go to our website at paperblanks.com.


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