Plexiglas (sometimes called acrylic or “plexi” for short) is a material that I worked with quite a bit in the not-too-distant past, but I’d been away from it for a while. Last week, however, I wanted to create a special space for my thoughts on my current values, and I knew a Plexiglas journal was just the solution.
What exactly is a Values Journal? I’ll explain briefly at the end of this post, but what I really want to share with you is how fun and easy it is to create your own little tabbed journal or notebook using Plexiglas. I’m going to walk you through it so that you can give it a try.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Plexiglas or generic acrylic sheet, 1/16”
- plexi scoring tool
- cork-backed ruler
- cutting mat
- pencil and scrap cardstock
- jeweler’s saw, Faux Bone blade, bench pin
- sandpaper (medium grit)
- file or rotary tool (such as a Dremel)
- fine-point permanent marker
- alcohol inks
- drill (or drill press)
- no. 60 (or similar teeny-tiny) bit
- 1/16”, 1/8” and 3/16” bits
- 24-gauge wire
- index cards or other paper for interior
- typewriter (optional)
- tissue paper
- gel medium
- corner rounder punch
- binder rings
Plexiglas or a generic version (called acrylic sheet) can easily be purchased at any big-box hardware store in a 1/16” thickness. Pick up enough to create a journal the size you want, including several plexi pages. My journal measures 3-1/2” x 4” and has five tabbed pages, for a total of seven 3-1/2” x 4” pieces. Try to avoid buying too large of a sheet because it will be more challenging to cut down. Sometimes the stores will sell pre-cut sheets as small as 8” x 10” (intended for picture frame replacement) and if that is available, get that or as small as possible.
For a lot more information on working with plexi and getting started with it, cutting it and so on, you owe it to yourself to check out Plexiclass.
Decide how you’d like the front and back covers to look. My front cover is cut up into segments resembling a sun, that are then stitched back together with wire to create a patchwork look. My back cover is left solid, but has one of my favorite quotes adhered to it.
Because my journal is a “values journal,” I wanted a quote on the back cover that related to my intent for the journal. I typed my quote onto tissue paper, being mindful of the line length and the width of my journal cover. I sanded one side of the cover, then adhered the typed quote to the plexi (face down, so that it was readable through the other side) using gel medium. (To get an even coat of medium, I used a foam roller to spread it.) Finally, to tie it together with the front cover, I added a bit of alcohol ink to the top edge of the cover as well as a couple drips.
Each of my tabbed pages marks a section for each of my top-5 values. You might have a different need for your tabbed pages.
I completed my tabbed pages by tearing my tissue paper words down and adhering each just above its respective tab using a small amount of gel medium and a foam brush.
Now you’ll need to drill holes for the binder rings in the covers and all of the pages. To do this, create a template first. My holes were 1” from each side and 1/4” from the top edge. To accommodate my rings, my holes needed to be 3/16” in diameter. But I know from experience, that it’s very risky to just drill a hole this large into plexi without first drilling a short series of smaller holes. That is to say, it’s a good idea to work your way up from a tiny hole to a larger one, re-drilling the same hole, about three times. Start with the bit used for the wire holes, then drill the hole with a 1/16” bit, then a 1/8” bit and finally, a 3/16” bit. Drill matching holes in all the pieces.
What is a Values Journal?
Our authentic values are not something we feel we’re supposed to have, nor are one person’s values better or more or less admirable than someone else’s. Our personal values simply reflect what we are most passionate about and what is most important to us to have present in all of the assorted aspects of our lives. Some of our values change yearly, weekly or even hourly, but generally speaking, we usually have a core set that runs throughout most of our lifetimes. Sometimes one value (such as making art or compassion) is a part of a larger value (such as beautifying the world or spirituality). And, while most of us are aware of things we like and don’t like, many of us aren’t exactly conscious of what our top values really are. But knowing what the top few are (I like to focus on my top five) can help us make decisions (Is this choice in alignment with my core values?), figure out why we might be struggling (Might my actions here be at odds with my values?) or how we could bring more satisfaction into our daily lives (What activities could I do more of that placate my values?)
It’s only been in the last couple years that I’ve been more keenly aware of my own core values. One book that really helped me figure things out was The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte. And if you aren’t sure yourself, I am confident you’re going to LOVE The Declaration of You! by Jessica Swift and Michelle Ward (due out this July).
I plan on using my Values Journal to record inspiring quotes related to my values as well as to record ideas of future ways I want to intend actions that will honor these values. Plus, it’s just a nice pretty reminder for me to see regularly as it sits on my desk.
Whether you like the idea of making your own Values Journal or you have a different motive in mind, I hope I’ve inspired to you to try something new to add to your bookmaking/art journaling repertoire.
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