Tutorial: Tabbed Journal

by Sam

in Tutorials

This is a project I’ve been doing for a little while now.  I go through journals and notebooks pretty quickly.  If I have a thought I want to retain, if I don’t write it down, it’s gone pretty quickly.  Therefore, I usually have some sort of journal on me.  I love organizing these thoughts into these little tabbed journals I have modified to be whatever I want them to be and today I’ll teach you how to create them too.


Paper Trimmer
Corner Chomper or Corner Rounder
Paintbrush or Foam Brush


Notebook (I used a cute spiral bound one from Target)
1 piece of cardstock to print the tabs onto
1 piece of cardstock in the color of your choice
Glue Dots
Wax Paper or Newspaper (for your work surface)


First, print out your tabs onto a piece of cardstock, I used white.  The size of your tabs can depend on how many you would like, and how large your notebook is.  My notebook is 3.5″x5″ and each of my tabs are 1.5″ wide.  I simply opened a Word document and typed what I wanted my three tabs to say, spaced out across the page.  Cut out the tabs into strips.  Mine are 1.5″ wide (the text is centered) and about 3″ long.  Be sure to leave space above the text so that you can fold over the top of the tab.

Next, cut out as many pieces of cardstock as tabs in your notebook.  I have three tabs, so I cut three pieces of cardstock.  My notebook is 3.5″x5″ and my cardstock pieces are cut to 3″x5″ to leave space for the binding.  If you are using a book bound notebook (no wire binding) you may want to cut the cardstock to the exact size of the notebook as it will be close against the binding.

Now you have three tabs, three pieces of cardstock, and a notebook to put them all in.

Next, fold over each tab above the text and trim off the access paper (it may not be even when when folded over, and that’s ok, just trim it off to even it out.)  Your text should be at the top of the tab as shown in the photo.

Once your tabs are folded and trimmed, use your corner rounder to round each of the corners of the tabs.  I used a Corner Chomper to get a different shape called Deco.

Using Glue Dots, mine are mini ones, attach two to the front of the tabs on the bottom.  (A little hint: when using Glue Dots, don’t take the actual dot off the roll, instead press the paper to the roll to make it pick up the Glue Dot.)

Attach each of the tabs to the back of the cardstock papers along the long edge.  I started with the middle tab so that they would be evenly spaced as I glued them on.  Line up all the tabs ahead of time to get an idea of where they should be placed.

Next, flip to the page you would like  your first tab to be (for me this was the first page) and fold over the book so that just that page is out.  Working on wax paper or newspaper, apply a thin layer of ModPodge to the back of the cardstock with a paintbrush or foam brush.

Flip the cardstock over and line it up over the piece of paper.  Flip over the page and smooth it out on the back, creating a seal.  Repeat this process for every tab in your book.

The ModPodge will dry quickly and your journal will be ready to use.  Fill it with thoughts, ideas, notes, or whatever you would like.

I’ve made a few of these and love them.  I customize them for each project I have or for a specific online class I am enrolled in.  It’s fun to work with a notebook that is totally customized to the project I am working on at the time.

Art Prints

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nat March 2, 2011 at 10:00 pm

I never thought to try this! There’s a Target that’s grand-opening in my neighborhood this weekend. *adds notebook to the list*


2 Sam March 2, 2011 at 10:06 pm

I love Target for projects like this. They often have a good variety of prices and types so you can get exactly what you want.

Also, a good place for book-bound journals is Barnes and Noble. Check the clearance section… I’ve found some cute ones there (including the pink one in the photo.)

Thanks for the comment Nat!


3 Marg VP March 3, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Love this idea! This could make a great little gift for a fellow crafter as well. Thanks!


4 Carla March 26, 2011 at 4:12 pm

I too have many notebooks full of ideas, thoughts, and journal entries. This would be a good way for me to organize mine better. Thanks–love the idea. So simple!


5 ceruleanstarshine January 3, 2013 at 8:46 am

Hi! I made these over my Christmas break and wrote a blog post about it. I linked back to you as the original idea and tutorial source, just wanted to let you know. This is a great idea, and I love how yours turned out!


6 enjoy your stay in japanese August 12, 2013 at 12:47 am

Hello, I think your website may be having browser compatibility problems.

Whenever I take a look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening in IE, it’s got some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Other than that, fantastic site!


7 sarai October 31, 2013 at 2:40 pm

thank you very much it is a great idea.


8 Seth November 26, 2013 at 5:38 am

This idea saved me a lot of money and it’s really easy to do thank u how ever came up with this idea…


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