Pre Release: Journal Cover



Here’s a project I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, but didn’t have it ready so I spent quite a bit of design time on it. I happen to own a Rubicoil spiral binding system (basically, the heavy duty punch that punches the closely spaced holes for a spiral coil). I wanted to make wooden covers for a blank journal.

You would not believe how many iterations I went through in Illustrator before I got the holes of the right size and spaced correctly. I used the blend tool in Illustrator between two equal sized circles to generate the circles in between but kept getting the count and spacing wrong. The final result is still not absolutely perfect if you superimpose it on a punched sheet but it worked well enough with the plastic spirals.

I got the graphic from Print Shop 3 (consumer level graphics program); it was in color so I converted it to grayscale and changed some of the layering of colors to give it more contrast. It’s not a very high contrast image because I wanted it to be more in the background. But you will notice some of the leaves are darker than others and that reflects the levels of gray in the original image. I chose the medium engrave setting for this image.

The text was created in Illustrator using the Anna Clara font (licensed from I converted it to outlines, filled with no stroke, and exported. Engraved with dark settings.

Final result:


Here’s the specs:

Material: 1/8" Proofgrade Maple plywood
Front: background graphic engraved on medium setting; phrase engraved on dark setting
Back: engraved on medium setting

I will upload the blank journal svg to the Free Laser Designs so you can try it if you have a spiral coil punch.

Free Laser Design | Journal Cover
Weekly Highlights for the Week Ending April 1st, 2017

I was wondering if this would be possible. I have thought of make journals for my wife.

Nice Job!




I really like that, I’ve been waiting to see somebody do journal covers. Is leather a future exploration for this application?

I’m surprised Print Shop is still around! :slight_smile:


Really beautiful! Thanks for sharing this with us!


Ooooh, I love this too! I had a spiral binder at my last library–I miss it even more after seeing this!


I still use Print Shop, too. I love it.


I have had and used many versions of it over the years, but somehow in the last 10 years have moved off to doing other things. I’m glad they are still around. I probably still have some old Print Shop CDs laying around somewhere :slight_smile:


Oh, this is nice. I don’t have a spiral punch but it does confirm the usability of the Proofgrade or a similar project I have in mind. Thanx.


What a nice job. The proof grade maple is such a nice choice for your cover because the engraving looks fantastic on it. Thanks for posting your work. :relaxed:


I wonder if this would have been a good application for trace on the Glowforge? Could a punched piece of white paper be placed on a black piece of paper and the holes be traced? If it didn’t get resized, the alignment should have stayed good. Then just add engraves and hit print.


I have a punch for plastic binding. Definitely can do this for that application!!


Possibly! I wanted to create the file as a blank for future use. Now that the pain of creation is over.

Also, I’m thinking if you did trace it, you would have to select each individual hole to cut. Yikes! :scream:


Oh, I didn’t think about having to select each hole to cut.


Does the GUI let you hold shift and drag to select multiple objects (rather than clicking each line/object)?


Yes you can drag to select. (Not in the trace function though.)

You could click once on the outside of the circles and it will put a line around each of the circles. (Click once on the background.)


It’s easier if you color match the stroke color of the asset. i.e. red for cut, blue for engrave etc… (color does not matter they just need to be different.) Then they get grouped as one op. This same technique can be used to engrave and cut the same vector.


Great! It’s good to see an example, one of my projects is to make a cover for my Pilot’s Logbook :smiley:


Yep! The question here was about using auto tracing of a punched sheet instead of designing a template.


Or a flatbed scanner. Turn it into a PDF and then set the colors for cutting in AI/Corel/Inkscape. Make a template of it and drop the engraves on for the cover.