Martice Smith II's No-Sew, Detachable Travel Journal

How to Make a No-Sew, Detachable Travel Journal

By Martice Smith II

Hi everyone! Martice Smith here, sharing a simple way to create your own travel journal. This is no ordinary journal, though. There is no bookbinding or sewing required! If you can fold a piece of paper, you can make this journal.

The detachable part is a section of the journal where you can cut off and use for things like collage. This also proves that you don’t really need a bunch of art supplies to create beautiful, functional art while you're on the go.

Here’s what you’ll need:

RubberMoon Stamps:

  • True Free Spirit
  • Feather
  • XOXO
  • Rosa

  • Stencils:

    Supplies + Tools:

    • Acrylic paints (Cobalt Teal Hue + Charcoal Grey)
    • Spray inks (I’ll be using Blue, Yellow and Primary Magenta from DecoArt Media)
    • 90-lb. Watercolor paper, folded lengthwise, with one side longer than the other (see photos below)
    • Craft mat + paint palette
    • Scissors
    • Cosmetic sponge
    • Assortment of paint pens + markers
    • Water spray bottle + paper towels

    STEP 1 // Spray inks and smoosh the paper into the ink

    Spray three analogous colors of inks onto a craft mat. (If you’re unsure what analogous colors are, they are the colors that are side-by-side to each other on the color wheel.)


    Next, use your water spray bottle to spray a few mists of water onto each of the colors.

    Now, we’re ready to smoosh the paper into the ink.

    Oooh! Doesn't this part sound like fun?! Make sure to grab some paper’re about to get messy!

    Pick up your watercolor paper and lay it face down, directly on top of the ink.

    Slowly remove your journal from the craft mat and place it face up. Let it dry.

    (TIP: Use a hair dryer or heat gun to speed up the drying process.)

    Repeat for remaining sides of the watercolor paper.

    This simple technique creates a unique and spontaneous effect, doesn’t it? Let the paper dry completely before moving on to the next step.

    STEP 2 // Create the cover, then, stencil it

    Draw a half circle on the cover, then, cut it out. Keep the part that you cut away.

    I don’t like to waste good paper so I decided to turn it into a flap for the inside of our travel journal. You could even turn it into a pocket! More on how to do this, in a li’l bit…

    Next, I positioned the Night and Day stencil on the front cover and secured it with a strip of low-tack masking tape.

    I dabbed into some Cobalt Teal Hue with a cosmetic sponge to stencil the sun.

    (TIP: Use way less paint than you think you should use! I learned this the hard way and got paint seepage under my stencil. The result? A glob of paint and a blurry image. See what happened there on the sun’s face? Yeah, I’ll try to fix that later, in the final step...)

    Next, mix in a little bit of Charcoal Grey with the Cobalt Teal Hue to create a darker color.

    STEP 3 // Apply washi tape to create an inside pocket (or flap)

    Remember that half circle piece you cut off on the front of the journal? If you want to create a pocket, take that and place it against the inside fold of your journal. All you’ll need to do is apply washi tape along the three sides: top, side and bottom.)

    To create a flap, all you’ll need is a single strip of washi tape down the side. (For extra reinforcement, add another strip of washi on the reverse side of the flap.)

    STEP 4 // Create space for journaling

    Using the Days of the Week Planner Pack of Stencils, I traced the inside of the stencil to create space to write my ideas and thoughts.

    STEP 5 // Mark off a section for stamping

    I drew a line, 4 inches in from the outside edge. Fold along this line.

    (I stamped this area with: True Free Spirit, Feather, XOXO, Rosa)

    When I’m traveling and don’t want to pack a load of collage materials, I’ll create a sheet, similar to this one, full of stamped images. I can cut off these pieces and add them to my calendar, my art journal, make them out of stickers or fun collage ephemera. The possibilities really are endless!

    Repeat Step 5 on the back of this flap.

    STEP 6// Embellish with paint pens + markers

    Embellish the cover however you wish! I drew dots, added lines and traced the stars from the Night and Day stencil.

    Here’s what my finished journal looks like when it’s closed…

    Notice how the stamped area can be folded two different ways to get two different looks! (It can be folded in, towards the flap/pocket, or folded towards the back of the journal.


    Thank you for visiting us today! I hope you enjoy the process of letting go and getting messy with ink sprays, stamps and stencils.

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    • Nancy Lorenz - July 14, 2017

      Awesomeness!! I love the way effect and I love stenciling!!!

    • Vivian - July 14, 2017

      Funny thing….just read your blog today on Stencil girl too. Love it.

    • Kae Pea - July 14, 2017

      super fantastic

    • Shari Acuff - July 14, 2017

      Awesome! I want to make one. Love the night/day stencil!!

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