Laser-cut journals

Holidays are coming up, so I’m making gifts. Once upon a time I bought fancy wrapping paper (Dover Publications), but have never used it. Turns out it’s just right for this application. I’ve turned the design into a 2-fer, with the window design and the artistic paper behind.

The raw inside of the front cover was distracting, so I took the first page and used an adhesive spray to secure it to the inner cover.


So simple, so effective. That’s great.

Would work great with cloth too, and maybe some custom cut chipboard to offer a bit more strength? Does the “glue the first page on” feel strong enough in practice?


First page is not so strong; I like the idea of cloth. In fact, I have some crazy-dyed silk that I’m considering using, and back it with chipboard as you suggest.


Are those pre-bound journals or do you have a source for that lined paper?


The journals are purchased pre-bound. I get them from Amazon. Some have lined paper, some have ‘dots’ as a grid. Keywords: journal, wire bound.


They look good.

I have a binding machine so I have been making my own journals all from scratch, which is why I want to find deals on good paper that comes printed with lines or dot grids.


Wow just WOW!! I absolutely love this project. Your journals are so unique and beautiful.


Love the design on your covers - just like stained glass windows!


Very lovely and fine looking journals. Love your innovations and creativity.


These are gorgeous! Love the idea of using wrapping paper for this!


I love it when such a simple trick adds such flair!


These look stunning


Nice to give them a little interest! Great thinking!


Are you just opening up the journals and cutting on the cover? Can you share steps on how you did them? Would love to have this for a student project.


There are sites that have printable lines/dots/grids for making your own. I think most printers would be able to create what you want and cut it down to size. My cousin’s husband is a printer and he told me he’d give me some paper, but we kept having miscommunications about what I needed (I was speaking art language and he was speaking printer language). When I told him I was making journals and wanted good paper to write on (he started with a glossy cardstock, which is awesome, but not quite what I was hoping for), he printed a box full of lined paper for me. Unfortunately, the layout isn’t really a good fit for a handbound journal, but I will eventually bind it up with my Cinch.

@kelley1 The journal covers are lovely. If you adhere the paper to the back of a piece of fabric with either an iron-on adhesive or wheat paste (traditional), you’ll end up with book cloth. You can use that on the ends - paper facing out through the window would probably look best. You could also just adhere another piece of paper instead of a lined sheet. You won’t want to include the binding, so just trim the paper to have a margin where the binding is.


This is such a good idea.

I bet if you talked to some local printers and brought them some samples of what you want, you could negotiate a good price. Especially if your flexible on schedule. They could use your job as a filler job when there are gaps in their other orders.


Assure from their beauty I love the aspect of re-use here.

Great work.


Welcome to the forum, and thanks for your question. Yes, I’m opening the front cover (don’t get it upside down!) and laying the journal flat. I put a thin piece of paper under the whole book to protect from heat, schmutz, etc. The covers I use are about 0.10" thick, so that’s what I use for material thickness.

Offhand, I don’t remember what my settings are for cut, engrave, score; I’ve got personalized settings that I can reuse on all my journals. I sacrificed one journal to hone in the settings and get an idea on placement, design, any problem along the way that I don’t anticipate until I hit “print.”

Wire bound journals will lie flat. There are others out there that are folded and staple-bound; they are cheaper, but need their own peculiar settings, and won’t lie flat. I use quite a few very small magnets to ensure the design area is flush on the platform.

Other than that, it’s a learn-as-you-go. There are so many types of journals that have laserable covers–I’d love to do one with watercolor paper, but I don’t know squat about watercolor. If I screw it up, I’d have to find some use for paper that I don’t usually need.

forgot to add that wirebound books have a front vs back. Look at the wire and decide which mode is more appealing to you, make that your front. [Sorry if I’ve just told you something you already know.]


Thank you for the suggestion! If I use wheat paste on cloth, should I do something to account for shrinkage? (would that be a bug, or a feature?)


I don’t tend to use a lot of wheat paste… I prefer an iron on situation as it’s easier and not as messy. But I don’t remember a lot of shrinkage, either. Maybe test out a sample?