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A simple, portable DIY nature journal for kids to make & take

Photo: Sarah Carlisle


Looking for the perfect notebook for your kid to document their summer adventures? This easy, cute, portable DIY journal is perfect to take along on summertime scavenger hunts, nature walks, or garden activities. With a bit of prep, you can even take it as an activity to do while camping in the woods or vacationing on the beach!

You've probably got all the supplies you need to make the twig journal already – the only tricky part is cutting the bag and paper and lining up the holes. If you're feeling ambtious, you can expand on the journal by making your own paper from clothing scraps and other natural materials for the journal's interior, but plain copy paper works just fine.



To make a twig journal, you’ll need:

1 paper bag (lunch sacks are perfect for this)

1 heavy-gauge elastic band

paper for journal pages


a hole punch

1 twig, about as long as the bag is wide

supplies for decorating


First, cut down the center fold on either side of the paper bag so that it looks more or less like a book jacket. You’ll want to keep all the flaps, as they create little pockets that are great for carrying small treasures from the forest or notes!



Next, cut your paper to fit inside the paper bag. I used a bag a little bigger than a lunch sack, so regular printer paper cut in half worked perfectly.

The next step is to hole punch the bag as well as the paper. If you have a reliable hole punch that can get through all those layers already stacked together evenly, use it! As long as the holes line up and will contain the paper within the book once it’s “bound,” it doesn’t matter if all the edges are perfectly even.



Line up your paper and bag so the pages are oriented the way that you’ll want them bound. Thread the elastic band through the holes from the back and place the twig so that it lies vertically along the left edge of the paper. The length of the elastic band should be running parallel to the twig, with the elastic on the back and the twig on the front. Fasten the ends of the elastic around the twig so that it holds the twig tight to the paper bag. That’s your binding! If your elastic band is a little too long or loose like mine was, you can tie it into a couple of knots in order to shorten it. The knots won’t get in the way of the journal lying flat.




Your twig journal is ready to go at this point, but personalization and decoration is another step to make this craft extra fun!

You can personalize your twig journal with some glittery fern stickers (Martha Stewart brand, found at Fred Meyer!), some letter stamps, and washi tape on the twig. The best thing about this journal, besides how easy it is to assemble, is that it’s pliable enough to roll up and stick in your pocket while you explore. Once you use up all the pages, you can just take it apart and switch ‘em out for fresh ones!

Sarah Carlisle is passionate about learning and making, and spends most of her time in Portland, OR running a creperie, growing food in a cooperative garden, participating in community kitchens, and creating and crafting at home. 

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