Making a One-Sentence Journal

January 23, 2012

Ever since I started scrapbooking I've wanted to keep a daily journal but every time I tried--it never really stuck.  I'd rarely remember to write in it and when I did it always felt forced and as result yielded shallow and mundane thoughts.

I first heard about the idea of a one-sentence journal while reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin over this past year and I was immediately intrigued.  The one-sentence journal looked to offer me the perfect home for my brief and ordinary thoughts.

While you can use this online tool for keeping an electronic journal or even buy journals that are tailored to the "One-Sentence" approach, I decided to make my own--using SEI's Sunny Days Collection, digital templates that I adapted from Karen Grunberg's Weekly Gratitude Project and a handful of everyday items including jute and a piece of cardboard.

The things I LOVE about my homemade "Once-Sentence Journal" are:

  • It's bright and cheery colors put me in a good mood for recording my thoughts. 
  • At 4.5"x6.5" its the perfect size to carry around with me.
  • Its monthly dividers make it easier for me to refer back to certain entries to use in my scrapbook pages.
  • The page layout offers the perfect place to add a little bit of art along with my daily journaling.
  • Its got a one-of-a-kind look and feel which inspires me to pick it up every morning and write in it.


To make your own "One-Sentence Journal"

1. Cut your base from a piece of cardboard--mine measured 6.5" tall by 11" wide.

2. Cut out (2) 4.5" x 6.5" pieces of paper that you'd like to cloak the front of your journal's cover and adhere them to the opposite edges of your cardboard piece leaving a 2" strip down the center of your cover for your spine. 

3. If you choose you can cover the inside of your journal cover (just as you did with  the outside) using (2) 4.5" x6.5" pieces of a coordinating paper. Then you may want to consider stitching around your papers that you've adhered to your cover to improve its durability.

4. Cut out (12) double-sided pieces of patterned paper (or 24 single-sided and then adhere them back-to-back so there is a pattern on both sides) that measure 4"x6"--these will be your monthly dividers to which you can add tabs to for labeling should you see fit.

5. Now its time to make your pages--you can use these printable pages that I made for my own journal or you can download the psd file for Karen Grunberg's Weekly Gratitude Journal Templates and customize them yourself.  

6. Print out your pages so you have enough for 365 days.  You can print 183 journal pages back-to-back or you can adhere them back-to-back after printing out a total of 365 pages or you could even leave your back sides blank like I did to save room for photos, clippings and follow-up thoughts/ideas. 

7. Now it's time to bind your journal by punching two sets of congruent holes in your spine and setting eyelets in each of them for reinforcement. 

8. Then punch corresponding holes through all of your pages and dividers and organize the pages/dividers as you want them to appear inside of your journal. 

9. Finish binding your journal by threading  two separate pieces of jute through the top and then the  bottom sets of holes in your pages and in your journal cover's spine and tying them off. 


10. Finally decorate the front of your journal as you see fit and you're ready to start filling your journal with your thoughts from this year.

Don't forget to download your printable pages and have fun making your own One-Sentence Journal to keep your daily thoughts in.

Happy Journaling!

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  1. Amy, this is beautiful! Love this and love the idea! My daughter and I are both reading Gretchen's book and following The Happiness Project blog together.........wonderful inspirations. Enjoy your journal.

  2. Really enjoyed this post. This would be very good to look back on when scrapping those memories. Thank you

  3. Thanks Donna! The Happiness Project really changed my life--I'm so happy I made time for it, it took me just short of a year to finish the book :blush: but I'm glad I did because its had such a positive impact on my home, relationships and my scrapbooking! Good Luck with your own Happiness Project Donna!

  4. You are very welcome Lorraine :)

  5. Hello Amy
    I love this idea. I just got Photoshop Elements 10 and I'm taking Ali's course on One Little Word. I would love to create journal cards that have one sentence. I'm looking to include them in my training. I'm a corporate educator and I love creating things that make people think from a position of strength.

    I would love to know some of your one sentences.

    I'm contacting Gretchen Reubin from The Happiness Project and pointing her in your direction. I'm going to see if she has a training program or even a workbook . I'm also going to point the people in Ali Edward's One Little Word course. I think this is a great idea

    thank you for the templates and the ideas

    Mireille Massue

    PS I would also love to hear from other people who were influenced from your great idea.

  6. Thanks Mireille I appreciate your response. Ali offers a great program in One Little Word for self-examination and reflecting. Though I have not had the opportunity to take part in the class--I do play along each year by choosing my own word. Gretchin Rubin also offers a variety of resources based on her book that you can find at

    My sentences that I write in my journal range from quotes that I happen upon, to funny things my kids say, to everyday statements about where I am in my life--it really just depends on the day. I wish you good luck and am glad that you found the idea useful. Thanks for stopping by :)

  7. Hello,
    I just send you a comments, to say that I use one picture of your post, but I quote you in my article. You can see my post on my blog : . If you want that I erase your pictures of my article, let me know. Thank you . Bye :)

  8. Nawaal RabbitwalaMarch 27, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    I had a question about your printable pages! how big did you make them so they would fit into the journal? The journal looks gorgeous and motivates me to actually get creative!

  9. Thanks for your comment Nawaal. The printable pages that I've provided are 4x6" when printed at 100%. That way the pages fit nicely inside your cover with a bit of room to spare ;)

  10. I'm so flattered, thanks for the link :)


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