Making a Paper Bag Journal - Nature Journaling

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April 15, 2020 - Author: Katheryn Fischer,

Materials Needed:

  • 1 large paper grocery bag with handles or a small paper lunch sack if you want to make a smaller journal  
  • Ribbon or twine
  • Blank paper
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Hole punch  

Steps to make a paper bag journal

Step 1:

Cut the bag down one side, across the bottom, and back up the other side. Do the same on the other side of the bag. You will end up with 2 flat pieces, each with a handle. These pieces will form the front and back cover of the journal.

Step 2:

Fold up each piece from the bottom toward the top. The placement of the folding line will vary depending on the original size of the bag and what size of blank paper you are using. You want the front and back covers to completely cover the interior pages of your journal.

Step 3:

Tape the edges forming a pocket on the inside of the front and back covers.

Step 4:

Decorate the outside of the front and back covers.

Step 5:

To assemble your journal, stack your pieces in the following order:

  • Back cover
  • Blank paper
  • Front cover

Step 6:

Make sure all the edges are lined up and then punch three holes (or more if desired) along the edge. If making the smaller journal, you could also staple the edge.

Step 7:

Using ribbon or twine, tie the booklet together.

Options:

  • For a more stable writing surface, place a piece of cardboard or chipboard in the back-cover pocket. You will need to do this before you punch the holes so that it will be tied into the journal and won’t come out.
  • If you want somewhere to keep your pencils, eraser, sharpener, etc., put them in the pocket on the inside of the front cover or use a pencil bag that is made for a three-ring binder.

Adapted with permission from Rob Beadel, Arkansas Forestry Association.

Now that you have your nature journal, what do you do with it?

In the pages of your book, you could answer the following questions or complete the following activities:

  • Maybe the sun is shining, how does that make you feel? What is something you see or don’t see because the sun is shining?
  • Maybe it is raining, how does that make you feel? What is something you see or don’t see because it is raining?
  • What do you see while you sit outside?
  • How does being outside make you feel?
  • Draw something you see outside that makes you happy.
  • Draw something you see outside that makes you sad.
  • Write a poem about something you see.
  • Make a bark rubbing.
  • Make a leaf rubbing.
  • Look at a flower up close, draw what you see.
  • Draw a tree as you see it. What do the branches look like? Are there buds on the branches? What do the leaves look like? Are there flowers?
  • Count how many different animals you can see.
  • Count how many different animals you can hear.
  • Draw all the different seeds you can find.
  • Look for letters in nature and draw them in your journal.
  • Write a letter of introduction for an animal of your choice.
  • Write a descriptive paragraph of what you see.
  • Write about your favorite memory of being outside.

What else can you think of to write, draw, or do in your nature journal?

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Authors

Kathryn Fischer
fisch226@msu.edu

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