Creating a Journal Page Step by Step

Journals are wonderful. They are places for creativity, getting in touch with ourselves, stress relief, healing, pure fun, working through ideas, and uncovering ideas we didn’t even know we had yet.

I am excited to announce that I am in the process of designing a FREE online journal workshop, “Write It Down!” The inspiration for which came directly from the process of completing the following journal entry. See, they can be quite powerful tools.

Below is a step-by-step look at how I create a simple journal page. It is not elaborate, fancy, fine art, just a simple magazine collage that anyone can do. This non-intimidating approach is a great starting point into journals with images. While this process is quite simple, it still offers all of the benefits that keeping a journal has to offer.

I am currently working in a spiral bound artist pad filled with drawing paper. If you don’t have a journal yet it’s okay. Anything you can throw paint and glue on will work for this project.

My paint box. I used basic craft paint here. Any water soluble paint will work including acrylic, tempura or watercolors. No paints in your home? Dig out some markers, pens, crayons, construction paper, etc anything that can leave a splash of color.

I picked out a lovely blue then poured the paint directly onto the page. Choose a color that you feel drawn to right now and let it flow.

I used a brush to quickly fill the page. You may choose to do a single page or do a double page with the book spread open.

Once the page is painted set it aside to dry.

Now it’s time to get some images. Choose 3-4 magazines and start flipping through. If you don’t have any magazines lying around you may use newspapers, greeting cards, old letters, advertisements, mail, collage paper, scrap book ephemera, drawings, doodles, or handwritten words.

*Using copyrighted images such as those found in magazines is okay in your personal journals. However, you may not reproduce or sell those pages.

Look for words, phrases or images that you are drawn to. Do not analyze them at this point. If it strikes you, tear it out. I like to tear the entire page out. It keeps me flipping quickly and keeps my magazines from being all tattered.

Once you have gone through your material, cut out the individual words and images. Sometimes I use scissors, sometimes I just tear around them with my hands. (You may wish to keep a box for unused portions of the pages or simply recycle them.)

Next, I spread everything out. Sometimes at this point I start to notice themes or colors that are repeating themselves. No matter how many times I do this I am always amazed by the cohesion of thoughts that comes from this process.

Then I start gluing them down onto my painted page. I used a craft glue stick. Anything that will stick the images down will work, white glue, mod podge, tape, staples if you like.

There is no right or wrong way to do this. I typically start with some of the larger images. The work generally flows without much thought.

Sometimes I hold the image up to the page to see where it feels the best fit.

I like this one up top.

Don’t forget to date your page. Journal pages can be an important tool in reflecting on our personal journey.

The completed page. For me an inspiration to continue teaching and highlighting the importance of “writing it down!”

Thank you for taking the time to share my experience with me. I would love to hear from you. Feel free to leave comments on this site or e-mail me about your personal journal experiences.

A special thank you to Rose for the inspiration behind this post. In a recent conversation she said she would really like to journal, but didn’t know where to start. I hope this helps to get you all going!


  1. Dan
    June 23, 2010

    Awesome tutorial!

  2. Judy T.
    June 24, 2010

    Yes, it is!!
    I remember working on a collage at your dining room table last year. It came out really good!!

  3. rose firestone
    June 24, 2010

    thankx jen……….as always you make it all happen…i am ready to begin…justneedsome more acrlic paints….i already got my book!

  4. admin
    June 25, 2010

    Thank you all for the great feedback (here and elsewhere) I am looking forward to doing more tutorials like this in the future.

    Rose, you are the one making it happen on your end. I’m just helping to provide the materials you needed.

  5. Barbara Hutchins
    June 27, 2010

    Every time I check out your web page I find something new & inspiring! Thank you for this step-by-step tutorial. It is so helpful. Now I have a better idea about how to make a journal page. I love how generous and encouraging you are with your creative ideas.

  6. Ophelia
    June 29, 2010

    What a great page! I really love your work…you are such an inspiration!

  7. Renee
    June 30, 2010

    Thank you so much. I’ve journaled for years but have just recently started to art journal. Sometimes I just look at the page and think where to start.

  8. Vicki
    September 1, 2010

    Absolutely love it! I’ve linked to you on my post today. Thank you!

  9. Patty-Vegasgirl
    September 29, 2010

    thank you for the break down. you help me see how to get started simply. sometimes journal pages look complicated to me, like I have to have a completed thought before I can begin.

    1. Jeniffer
      September 29, 2010

      Sometimes not having a thought before you begin is the best way to approach your journal. Allow the process to be what it needs to be and the message will present itself. Good luck!

  10. Jerri
    January 1, 2011


    Is there any way you can add your sweet laugh and warmth to your tutorial. I love it! YOU ARE AWESOME!

    1. Jeniffer
      January 1, 2011

      Well Jerri, as a matter of fact I’ve got a few video lessons out there. Laughs and smiles included : ) Check out the workshops page


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