I never meant to create a Part 2 to my Book Journal endeavour, but things didn’t quite work out as I’d planned, and I found myself changing my mind a lot, about how I’d designed and put together my original book.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love it! But, it’s not as easy to use, or as versatile as I’d hoped. If you want to see how I created a cost-effective, entirely self-made book journal, check out my original post Creating A Book Journal.
For this version, I wanted something I could use for MORE than just books, but that was a bit less frantic, as my original journal didn’t have any kind of logic/system, in which I could find the books I wanted, when I’d finished reading them. Which is a problem. Obviously. This version uses the website UniquePlanners, which gives you A LOT of scope, for personalising your journal. HOWEVER, I recommend you do your own designs, as theirs are a little limited in style/design.
As I said in my original post, back then, there are things I would have done differently, and this post will explore a simpler, quicker option, that requires less maintenance. My only con with this option is that it requires a credit card, and I prefer to pay with Paypal. However, I loved the final result so much that I bargained with my mum to use her credit card, then paid her back. That’s how much I loved the design.
FYI: Unique Planners used to deliver outside the UK, but those delivery options are put on hold, at the moment. Here’s what it says in the FAQ.
Q. Do you deliver outside the UK?
Our overseas shipping options are currently disabled due to our couriers revising services and pricing as a result of the UK leaving the EU. We hope to reinstate this once things are clearer, but unfortunately we do not yet have a date for this.
What You’ll Need
- Canva (the free version is fine!)
- A theme!
- Chrome (I tried, and failed, to use my Opera Browser and had to switch)
- a credit card
- and patience for repetition.
I’ll admit, even after creating my design, I did think of other things I would have liked to include. So, I suggest you make your design, then wait about a week, and revisit your design to check if you like it or not. I found that my layout needed some work, and days after ordering, things popped into my head, like “I should have added that!”. So, I used my old option of printing on sticker paper, and added the extras to my completed journal when it arrived.
Right now, I’m going to show you the step-by-step design of How To make the journal, on a new template I’m planning for when my current one is completed. Then, at the end, I’ll show you my completed journal. In total, it took me 2 days to design my pages, put it all together and get it ordered, then 2 weeks from the date or ordering to get the final product in my hands. No time at all!
FYI: You can swap Step 1 and Step 4, if you prefer to design all of your pages first. I’ve done it this way, only because it lets you see what you’re working with, and what options you have already on Unique Planners.
Head to Unique Planners on Chrome. On the home page, hover over Shop, then choose Notebook – which is the option I chose originally, and for this template. Choose the one on the right, where it says “design your cover and pages” for full-scale customisation.
If you want, you can create an account first, but you can safely create one later, without losing your design. I’m going to login, first. But, just an FYI, I left this page open for a LONG time, while I went back to Canva to remake or make new pages, and it didn’t once refresh or glitch, which is awesome!
Now, next step…
I’m choosing (and did choose) the A5 option, as I love how easy it is to carry an A5 notebook with you, everywhere you go. But, if you want to, you can choose the A4. It’s totally your option.
However…where it says 160 pages, they mean that LITERALLY. You can’t delete pages, so many sure you have enough page templates designed, or have templates you want to reuse, ready to insert. I thought/hoped that you could remove pages, as and where you liked, and move around the pages, but you can’t do either.
So…NO to moving the layout around. NO to removing pages. YES to a full commitment to ALL 160 pages.
STEP 2 – Start Customising!
If you’re ready to go, then go ahead and confirm your option.
Once you click, this is what you’ll see.
Now, at one point, it will tell you that you DON’T need to remove all the pre-inserted items, HOWEVER, my final journal came with that annoying little purple dot showing around the edge of my front cover. Partly my fault, as I wanted my image to stop before the wrap-around, due to how I’d designed it too close to the edge, BUT, it definitely didn’t automatically remove the pre-inserted items. So, be careful and make sure you clear EVERY page, before you start designing. I did each page as I came along to it, which was a mistake and more time consuming.
So, step 1 is to EMPTY every page.
Step 3: Clear Pages
To start, click Page Content, then press the first option, which is a blank white page. Then…brace yourself…go through ALL 160 pages and do the same for those, too. To do that, you DRAG the white page into the page you’re on. Unfortunately, there’s no “apply to all pages” button, which would be awesome.
Another good tip, is that you’re able to see, on EVERY page, the gaps of the edge of the paper, so that your text/images don’t go across it. Which is BRILLIANT.
Step 3.5: Why you need to Clear Pages
Just in case you think you don’t need to clear ALL the pages, this is what the template looks like, without the blank white spaces. To me, I hate the ugly, sort of dirty-yellow colour of the page. It just doesn’t look clean to me, and it certainly wouldn’t match any of the designs I made on Canva, with a white background.
Trust me, once you start the process, it gets easier as you go along, and much quicker. You definitely pick up a groove.
Step 4: Go to Canva
Now, you could have gone to Canva first, to design this, but that’s totally your choice.
Don’t forget to design a FRONT and BACK cover image. I did this first, to get me the theme I wanted. I love my KPOP biases, and they’re so pretty to look at (don’t judge!), so I used them as a great cover option.
I used their template option, to see what they offered under keywords like “planner”, “books”, and “lists”. Then I made them fit a common colour/font theme, and matched the design to each other. I created an entire document of pages and templates that I could simply move and insert to the planner. You can do this however you want, but these are some of the options I put together.
I made some pages that were complete, as designed, but others that could be written on, ticked off, adapted as I go along. Some are Book pages, some are Work pages, and some are general Life pages.
Step 5: Download!
Once you’ve designed all your pages, download them in PNG format. You can do a “download all” for this, as it will download into a zip file you can keep in one folder. Then, you can upload them ALL to Unique Planner in one go.
Step 6: Upload!
Yup, it’s now time to go back to Unique Planners and upload your new designed pages into your journal. Press the blue button on the left first, then the Upload button. Choose the images (or all the images of your folder) that you want to upload.
The beauty of this website, is that you only need to upload an image ONCE, and you can use it a dozen times or more. So, you only need to make ONE template for, say, Notes or Lists, and then reinsert them into various pages.
Now, placement of your images are SUPER important.
OPTION 1: You can drag your page design into the page itself. However, with this option, you CANNOT adjust the placement. So, it must be a perfect fit, with clear edges, to fit right.
OPTION 2: Insert a picture box, then place your image into the box, and adjust as suits you.
Here’s an example of the SAME image using both options. Option 1 is on the Left, with Option 2 on the Right, and you’ll see that Option 2 looks so much better. You definitely have to keep in mind how close your text is to the tiny squares that will be your cut-out for the binding wire.
Step 7: Design!
Now, it’s time to place your design and order. Remember, you can’t reorganise the pages after arranging the page, so either use picture boxes on EVERY page, in which you can just reinsert images as you like, or make sure you have your layout organised before you start.
Personally, I didn’t want huge chunks of duplicate pages together, so I mingled my options by putting a half dozen pages of Notes or Lists between the other designed pages. You’ll see this in the final video of my finished journal.
TIP: As you’re arranging your pages, keep in mind something I forgot about – you might eventually want to tear out the Notes pages or any page you’ve organised for writing on. To make sure this is possible, without removing another page you don’t want to cut out, try to view the journal pages in the order they’ll be printed. So, put your Notes pages back-to-back, for tearing out, and your image pages back-to-back, so you don’t need to remove them just because you wrote messy notes on the Notes page behind it.
Step 8: Preview!
Once you’re finished, make sure you Preview your finished pages. I noticed a few that were closer to the edge/inside edge than I liked, as I previewed the final design. Thankfully, you can re-edit the page to fix it, so that is always helpful.
Step 9: Save or Purchase!
It’s totally up to you if you want to buy right away, or if you want to take a few days to think about it. The great thing is that there’s an auto-save function, so even if you forget to save for a while, it should all be totally fine. (I say should, because internet connections may glitch at any time.)
Your project is now complete. I hope it’s worked out to be everything you hoped for.
Now, here’s a glimpse of mine. Remember, it’s SUPER personalised to me, but it will give you an idea of how I organised my layout, used the full-page images to divide sections, and how I arranged it all. You can either click the bottom corner of a page to flip through, or use the page previews at the bottom. Or, there’s a little Play button in the bottom right, where it will auto-flip for you.
Source: Book Journal (PIRONGS)
If you don’t want to, or can’t, open the link right now, here’s a gif I made. I removed some of the more personalised pages, and included the extras that I included after printing the journal.
Obviously, because it’s me, I have buyer’s regret. So, this is a gif of the pages that I didn’t realise I wanted to include, until long after my finished product arrived. However, I’ll actually be keeping these in mind, so that when I’m finished this book, I can add them to my next one.