How to Sew Fabric Covered Art Journals {or sketchbooks}

DIY journals sketchbooks.jpg

Learn how to sew your own DIY journals with a sturdy cover sewn from cotton fabric and fusible stabilizer. This fun and easy sewing project is perfect for beginners and makes a sweet gift. You can choose to use one of the decorative stitches on your sewing machine too!

I love having little sketchbooks or art journals handy for when inspiration strikes. These little journals are so pretty that I’m sure they will inspire me all by themselves. Read on for a tutorial to sew your own adorable journals.

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DIY Fabric Covered Art Journals

You will need:

  • 2 fat quarters of fabric (enough to make several coordinating journals

  • extra firm double sided fusible interfacing (such as Peltex 72f or Fast2Fuse)

  • Coordinating thread (topstitch weight or embroidery thread is lovely here)

  • 9’’ x 12’’ sketchbook paper

  • 1/4’’ wide ribbon

  • other embellishments, as desired


Cut a piece of stabilizer the same size as your paper (or a bit larger) for the cover.

My sheet of fast2fuse was folded in quarters in the package, which was just perfect for two art journals. I cut it in two along the horizontal line. Then laying my (already center-creased) paper along the vertical line, I trimmed the sides to match my paper. Then I decided to make my paper smaller than the cover so I trimmed about 1/8” off of each edge of my paper.

Sandwich the two stabilizer cover pieces between the wrong sides of your fabric and press to fuse. I found that my two covers fit perfectly between the two fat quarters.


Cut around the stabilizer pieces to separate them and remove any extra fabric. This is both my covers. They are the same, with the AMH butterfly print on one side and the yellow on the other.


Here’s my heavy duty yellow thread.


Sew with a wide zig-zag stitch around the edges of your covers. This is decorative and it will keep the cover together in case the fabric decides to un-fuse from the interfacing.

If you like, try one of the decorative stitches that came on your sewing machine instead of a zig zag stitch!

If you want to add any embellishments, now’s the time. On one of my covers I added the velvet ribbon for a tie. On the other one I sewed three little butterflies.

Once your covers are embellished, lay the paper inside with the crease in your paper along the center of the cover. Use a long stitch and your heavy thread to slowly sew along the binding.

I was sewing through 5 sheets of paper and the cover on my older (not my favorite) sewing machine. If you are worried about putting your sewing machine through this job, consider hand-sewing the binding or punching holes and weaving ribbon through it.

Once your paper is secured, you’re done!

Happy sketching!


Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂

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  1. Heather Valentine says:

    These are adorable Caroline! I am a constant doodler and think these are on my to do list. They are perfect for keeping all of my "notes" in one place.
    Thank you so much for joining the fun of Sew My Stash!

  2. Debra Hoth Caddell says:

    What is that wonderful butterfly floral? Kaffe? Must have it! Thanks!

  3. Did you use a specific needle for sewing the paper to the covers? I am looking into making some of these and am horrible at hand binding my book pages so would love to just run them through a sewing machine.

  4. Love your covers. I’ve been following a few YouTubers that make Junk Journals. I’ve seen a few of them make something similar with 9×12 envelopes as the stabilizer between the fabric. I was thinking that I could use my stiff fusible interfacing. You’ve confirmed that. Another suggestion for securing the paper inside is a pamphlet stitch. Most fabric covered junk journals are done that way. Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. I love this idea! I would like to make some for my artistic grandchildren. I’m unable to locate the project in the printable posts. Could you please tell me which category it is in? Thank you! And Thank you for all of the inspiration, I always look forward to your tutorials!

  6. Suzy Rillie says:

    Love this post! I’ve been reading your tutorials for the past year, but I haven’t tried any of the projects because I’m not very confident using my sewing machine. I had a few sewing lessons, though it wasn’t enough if I’m being honest! The pandemic hit and I couldn’t continue the lessons. This looks easy enough even for me to give it a try, so I’m very grateful to you. Thank you ❤️ Suzy x

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