Journal with Gift Box, Mini Journal and Box Tutorial—first in the Series

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I have always loved books, from back in the day when I was an art major at Illinois Wesleyan University, concentrating on printmaking. I still do and have been thinking about starting this series of mini journals in a box or a "Book in a Box" series. I'm delighted to have the first design ready to go! 
Visit the Maddalee Etsy Shop for this instant download!

As you can see in this view, I have not glued the "glue tab" on the side of the box yet, as I wanted to be able to take it apart for the tutorial photography. Despite not being glued, it stayed together quite nicely. You can see how the little wrap is glued to the back of the box only, and loose on the top, bottom and front to close together with the twine wrap around the paper hearts and button.

Here you can see the little journal inside the box. Note that the inside of the box, hearts and wrap are printed with the little polka dot files included with the project. This creates a nice finished look to the print and cut project.

The journal also has the teal blue polka dot print inside the cover. There are three spreads, or six pages to hand stitch into the binding of the book with narrow satin ribbon, making a little twelve page book. Two hearts are knotted onto the end of each ribbon end, for a little more fun.

Here you can see the box flat, but with score marks ready to fold. It's really easy, and a lot of fun. The wrap has also been scored to fold and the large button attached at the lower with twine. The two hearts attach to the top of the wrap with narrow satin ribbon and a little button. Twine is tied around the hearts and is ready to wrap around the button once the box is assembled and closed.

The mini journal part of this project is also easy, simply stitch into the cover with the ends at the top end of the book, tie at the top and outside of the book binding and attach the little hearts with little knots, trim the ribbon.

This inside view shows the stitching again. What is not shown in these photos is the ghosted pattern printed on the front of each page spread. It brings a little detail to the inside pages. See the print file below on the left.


1) A largish and smallish button, as seen in the photos above.

2) Narrow satin ribbon

3) A bit of twine

4) Bright white cardstock, desktop printer with ink, scissors or print and cut system and a bit of glue.

5) Very large needle with a large eye.

6) PDF file available here, at ShopMaddalee.**

**As we, here at Maddalee, start offering our design to retail manufacturers, the Journal Box will not be available for a bit...but may come to a store near you in the future! We will still offer our special free projects to sweet Maddalee subscribers, plus new fun as our products hit the stores. Stay tuned!

Here are steps in order:


1) Print the red polka dot file on bright white cardstock.

2) Flip that page in your desktop printer and print the front box file onto the front.

3) Cut out the box and two little hearts.

4) Score the box lightly on the faint dotted lines.

5) Fold the box and glue the small side glue tab to the inside of the box.

6) Print the teal blue polka dot file on bright white cardstock.

7) Flip that page in your desktop printer and print the journal cover file on the other side, cut out the cover.

8) Attach the large button and hearts and little button to the narrow wrap, as shown in the photo above. Score lightly on the faint fold lines and glue the back panel to the back of the box. Center on the box carefully, as shown in the photo above.

9) Tie twine around the hearts carefully to wrap around the button once the box is finished and ready to be closed.


1) You should already have the journal cover printed and cut out.

2) Print the 3 inside pages on bright white card stock. Trim the pages.

3) Score the cover lightly on the faint dotted fold lines and fold.

4) Fold each inside page in half, with the print on the outside.

5) Assemble the pages, cover first, then the pink page, the dotted page and green page last. The page sizes get slightly narrower so they fold with a clean edge, the wrong order may look funny.

6) Use a very large needle with a large eye for the satin ribbon. Line all up and use your large needle to make the three holes where indicated. 

7) Start at the top hole on the outside of the cover and pull the ribbon through to the inside to begin the "stitching". Keep going as if you were sewing really big stitches through the cover and pages. Pull tight, but not so tight as to rip the paper.

8) You will have ended on the outside spine with lengths of ribbon coming out of the top and middle holes. Tie together carefully close to the top hole.

9) String the little hearts onto the ends of the ribbon and tie knots to keep them from coming off, Not too long, not too short, just little streamers on the outside of the sweet little journal.

You are ready to enjoy, give as a gift or whatever your plans for this little project were! This may seem like a lot of steps, but once you do one, it's really quite easy and we will have many more designs in this series! Stay tuned, I hope you enjoyed this little project!   : )

Thank you so much for visiting! I'd love to keep in touch:


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you so much,'s good to see you here!



  2. This is really amazing! Thanks for sharing and welcome to the MTC forum. You will love the webinars and the wonderful people that share the forum. I loved the little girl with the butterfly wings too. My granddaughter would go nuts for it. I'm looking forward to seeing your produts.
    Jenny Mauter

    1. Hi Jenny, I am loving it over at MTC also. And it's so good to see you here, we have a lot of fun planned!



  3. hello, I am visiting from happy hour and now I am a new follower. I love your paper crafting! It is fantastic!

    1. Thank you, Stacy, for your sweet comment. So glad you are following us and we can get to know each other better!



  4. Adorable! And I love your style. :)

    I'd love it if you would share this sometime at F-it Fridays!