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Travel Watercolor Set Review & Comparison

Between the planner and journal trend, the rise of mixed media, and growing interest in painting itself, there’s more and more interest in travel watercolor sets. They are an affordable way to invest in a basic set of watercolors for someone who is still learning to paint, as well as a great for taking along for creative time on the go.

[Disclosure: Some links in this article are affiliate links or advertiser courtesy links.]

Travel Watercolor Set ReviewWondering which travel watercolor set you should buy? In this article, we’ll takes a look at five different “student” level travel watercolor sets, and review their quality and design to recommend what is the best set for your needs.

Sakura Koi Pocket Field Sketch Box

Sakura Koi Pocket Field Sketch Box Watercolors

This Sakura Koi Pocket Field Sketch Box is the heavyweight of this group of travel watercolor sets – in more ways than one. It’s by far the heaviest physically, weighing in at three to four ounces heavier than the others I tested. And it also seems to be by far the most widely available of the tested sets – especially if you include the 12, 18, 30, 36 and 48 color versions that are available of this set.

Sakura Koi Pocket Field Sketch Box Watercolors

There’s a reason this set weighs so much, though. Inside, you’ll find 24 half pan watercolors, a larger selection than in any other of the tested kits. You’ll also find an entire kit of tools for watercolor painting: palettes, sponges, and a waterbrush. With the large divided palette – which can be made to hang off the side by putting the pins on its bottom in the holes on either side of the set – and the inside of the lid, this set has loads of space for mixing and blending colors. The sponges provide surfaces for dabbing off a too-moist brush. And the included waterbrush, which disassembles to store in the tray at the front, includes a small cap so that water can be kept in the brush even when it is taken apart.

Sakura Koi Pocket Field Sketch Box Watercolor swatches

This set includes a full rainbow of colors, plus brown, black, grey, and white. Four blues and four greens provide lots of options for plein air landscape painters to mix with. If you’d like to make your own swatch reference after buying this set or another Sakura Koi set, Sakura has published a color chart with an area for swatching on it.

The Sakura Koi half-pan watercolor paints are fairly creamy and blend nicely. The colors are nice and vibrant while still maintaining transparency, and their saturation means they can be diluted extensively to make lighter colors.

Sakura Koi Pocket Field Sketch Box Watercolors

Despite its popularity, there are a couple of cons to this set, however. Refills are not available for the Sakura Koi half-pan sets – Sakura recommends refilling them with the Sakura Koi watercolor tubes. However, only 18 colors are available in the tubes, and the colors are not all the same as the half-pans, so some colors won’t be able to be refilled that way.

There’s also an issue that can be seen above that the pans are very close together with no lip separating them, making it easy to contaminate one color with another. See the blue in my green and red? Unfortunately, to keep travel sets small, there isn’t a lot of room to spread out, and this shows the downside of cramming a lot into a small space.

I’ve owned this set for quite some time (and even traveled with it internationally). While this travel watercolor set may be a little larger and heavier than its competitors in this review, the space and weight is put to good use in an efficient design that packs in a lot of utility.

Sakura Koi Pocket Field Sketch Box

Price: $21-$60 retail
Availability: Blick Art Materials, Amazon, A Cherry On Top, Simon Says Stamp, plus many other local and online art retailers
Size & Weight: 6.5″ x 4.5″ x 1.125″  9.375oz
Includes Brush?: Yes – Round #6 Waterbrush
Colors: 24 – China White, Lemon Yellow, Aureoline Hue, Permanent Yellow Deep, Permanent Orange, Jaune Brilliant, Vermillion Hue, Cadmium Red Hue, Crimson Lake, Quinacridone Rose, Purple, Cobalt Blue Hue, Cerulean Blue Hue, Ultramarine Deep, Prussian Blue, Permanent Green Pale, Viridian Hue, Permanent Green Deep, Olive Green, Yellow Ochre, Light Red, Burnt Umber, Payne’s Grey, Ivory Black.

Winsor & Newton Cotman Sketcher’s Pocket Box

Winsor & Newton Cotman Sketcher's Pocket Box watercolors

This little box is truly a pocket travel watercolor kit! Slightly smaller than the size of my iPhone 6S (but a bit thicker), it’s also the lightest of the sets I tested. That’s not to say it’s a lightweight, however – it’s built of a sturdy plastic that should stand up well to life on the road.

Winsor & Newton Cotman Sketcher's Pocket Box watercolors

Inside the case, the design is spare and efficient. This small of a package doesn’t allow for a lot of bells and whistles. The Winsor & Newton Cotman Sketcher’s Pocket Box contains just 12 half-pan colors, along with a very small round travel brush. The inside of the lid is divided and serves as a palette area.

The paints in this case are sunk nice and low into cubbies that have good dividers between them to prevent splash over or inadvertent mixing of colors from one to the next. These half-pans are also in pans that come out (sometimes too easily, as I’ve found them sitting in the lid after the set has been juggled and moved around) so the colors can be refilled. Even though the paints are designed to be able to be refilled, I was unable to find any Cotman refills for sale online (at least in the U.S). I was able to find, however, the professional level half-pan watercolor paint refills from Winsor & Newton. These could be used to refill this Sketcher’s Pocket Box, and of course the box could also be refilled with watercolor tubes.

Winsor & Newton Cotman Sketcher's Pocket Box watercolor swatches

With only 12 colors in this set, obviously some things have to be left out. This set has no black, and no purple.What colors are included flow and blend beautifully, with the ability to be diluted to very pale tones. The color saturation is nice, although the starting tones aren’t as deep as I perhaps would like. The transparency is good, except in the really dark tones like the Intense Blue.

For those who want more color options (and more working area) Winsor & Newton makes a box with similar features to the Sakura Koi that includes 24 colors.

As portable as this package is, it’s not self-contained. You’ll need access to a water source or need to carry water separately to be able to use it. The easiest option is to carry a water brush, or you could try the Field Plus version of the Cotman sets, which includes it’s own water bottle and rinsing cup!

Winsor & Newton Cotman Sketcher’s Pocket Box

Price: $11-$25 retail
Availability: Blick Art MaterialsAmazonA Cherry On Top, plus many other local and online art retailers
Size & Weight: 5″ x 2.375″ x .75″  3.25oz
Includes Brush?: Yes – Small travel brush
Colors: 12 – China White, Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Red Pale Hue, Crimson Alizarin, Ultramarine, Intense Blue, Emerald Green, Sap Green, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber.

Daler-Rowney Aquafine Travel Set

Daler-Rowney Aquafine Travel Set

This travel set is in a round metal tin about the size of a CD (remember those?) that has a hinged lid. Despite containing 18 colors, this set’s construction makes it relatively light, the same weight as several sets I tested with fewer colors.

When you first open the case you are greeted by a plastic flap laying over the color tray that shows the names and numbers of all of the colors in the set. (Although Daler-Rowney makes replacement colors for this line of half-pans, I was only able to find them sold in the U.S. via an Amazon 3rd party seller that appeared to be shipping from the U.K.) This clear flap looks like a great idea until you try to paint with this set, and then it becomes an annoyance because it has to be held back to access the paints – it won’t fold back and stay out of the way on it’s own. After a bit of struggle I cut it off with a craft knife, finding no other way to remove it.

Daler-Rowney Aquafine Travel Set

Inside the set, you’ll find four small mixing wells and a travel sized #4 Round brush. The small wells are removable for cleaning but not very durable as they are made of flexible plastic packaging material. Because it is made of metal, this set lacks the ability to have the inside of the lid double as a mixing area like in plastic boxed sets.

Daler-Rowney Aquafine Travel Set swatches

Of all the sets that I tested, this was the one that frustrated me the most trying to paint with it. These paints were just difficult to use. In my opinion, they didn’t flow, blend, or dilute nearly as well as the other “student” grade kits that I tried out. It took two times loading the brush to do what I could do with one load of most of the other paints.

Overall, for the price, other sets offer a better value than the Daler-Rowney Aquafine Travel set.

Daler-Rowney Aquafine Travel Set

Price: $23-$30 retail
Availability: Amazon, plus a few other local and online art retailers
Size & Weight: 5.5″ x 5.25″ x .75″  5.5oz
Includes Brush?: Yes – Mini Aquafine Round #4
Colors: 18 – Chinese White, Lemon Yellow, Gamboge, Cadmium Yellow Hue, Vermillion Hue, Alizarin Crimson, Purple, Cobalt Blue Hue, Coerulean Hue, Ultramarine, Prussian Blue, Permanent Green Pale, Viridian Hue, Sap Green, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Ivory Black.

Prima Watercolor Confections – Tropicals

Prima Watercolor Confections - Tropicals

Art supply enthusiasts may not recognize the Prima brand, but I included this set because Prima’s mixed media line – including their Confections line of watercolors – was well reviewed to me by experienced mixed media artists in the paper crafts industry that I know. How, I wondered, would it stand up against fine art brands’ student products?

The answer was that it did surprisingly well. Even after all the recommendations I’d been given, I’ll admit that I was still surprised.

The Prima Confections watercolors come in a palette tin that is about the same size as my iPhone, but slightly heavier and thicker. Twelve half-pan watercolors snap into metal brackets, so the palette’s colors can be arranged in any order, and refilled easily. (Half-pan refills recently started shipping from Prima.) The one slightly annoying thing about this arrangement is that the pans have a tendency to slide from side to side when the palette is moved around. (In the photo below, some of the pans slid when I set up my picture, creating the gap next to the orange, and I didn’t notice at the time.) Also, of course, since the pans are butted directly up against each other, it’s easy to transfer color from one pan to the next by accident.

Empty palette tins similar to this one are available from several art brands to use to create custom travel palettes of artist grade watercolors.

Prima Watercolor Confections - Tropicals

With a fold out shelf with wells, plus a divided lid, this tiny palette has a surprising amount of area for mixing and blending colors. The center area between the pans is large enough for storing a small travel paintbrush, but one is not included with the set.

Prima Confections Tropical Watercolor SwatchesThe color palettes of the five Prima Confections sets are a bit unusual for watercolor paint. They do have one set called “The Classics” that is a traditional rainbow palette. But the rest of the color palettes are basically themed: Tropicals, Pastels, Shimmering Lights, Decadent Pies. Some of the palettes include duplicate colors, so you aren’t building a “full set” by buying all of the palettes. The palettes being themed this way can be annoying if you like to paint lots of different color schemes, but if you to create a specific signature look, having a palette tailored just for it can save a lot of work mixing and blending colors.

I’ll admit I was skeptical about these paints before I tried them, but I ended up really enjoying working with them. They are creamy, flow and blend easily, and the color saturation and transparency are gorgeous. These seemed to dilute forever, to endlessly lighter tones.

Prima Watercolor Confections – Tropical

Price: $14-$25 retail
Availability: AmazonA Cherry On TopSimon Says Stamp, plus local scrapbook retailers
Size & Weight: 4.75″ x 2.75″ x .75″  5.375oz
Includes Brush?: No
Colors: 12 – #13 Island, #14 Coconut, #15 Hurricane, #16 Parrot, #17 Hibiscus, #18 Palms, #19 Pitaya, #20 Reef, #21 Pineapple, #22 Sunset, #23 Ocean, #24 Tiki.

Dixon Prang Half-Pan 16 Semi-Moist Watercolors

Dixon Prang Half-Pan 16 Semi-Moist Watercolors

This set is the only “scholastic” level (versus “student”) watercolor set in the test. It’s designed for high volume, hard use in schools by younger kids. I bought this set for my homeschooled daughter to use on some color exercises for her art class, so she could use these for learning basics before. I included it in this comparison thinking it would show what you get in the difference in quality by paying the price for moving up to a real “student” set. Instead, I was surprised at how much I liked this set!

Dixon Prang Half-Pan 16 Semi-Moist Watercolors

Most of us probably used a set similar to this at some time in our childhood – a big flat plastic case with large pans. Although this set is labeled as half-pans like the other sets reviewed, they are shaped different than traditional pans, so the visible paint surface is larger.)

This set contains 16 colors, labeled to match the color wheel. The pans are replaceable, but because the paints re designed for school use, and are so affordable, the replacements come in packages of 12! Unless you really like a certain color and use a lot of it, it’s really more cost effective to just replace the entire palette when one runs out.

Dixon Prang Half-Pan 16 Semi-Moist Watercolor swatches

These paints are nice and creamy, and flow and blend and dilute quite well for what they are. They are pleasant to work with for basic tasks, and quite saturated and bright. One place that they do fall down is on transparency. These are quite opaque for watercolors, especially when used at maximum concentration. But some people like that look and if you do, you may enjoy these for basic tasks. These also make a great set for portable coloring book use. Throw a pair of waterbrushes with different tips in the center well between the rows of pans, and you have a great tool kit for coloring wherever you may be with a few minutes to kill.

[Note: There are two versions of these paints, one with round pans and one with square pans. This review is of the square pan set.]

Dixon Prang Half-Pan 16 Semi-Moist Watercolors

Price: $8-$18 retail
Availability: Blick Art MaterialsAmazon, plus many other local and online art retailers
Size & Weight: 9.25″ x 4″ x .625″  6.25oz
Includes Brush?: Yes – Round #6
Colors: 16 – White, Black,  Brown, Red, Red Orange, Orange, Yellow Orange, Yellow, Yellow Green, Green, Blue Green, Blue, Blue Violet, Violet, Red Violet, Turquoise.

Travel Watercolor Paint Sets: Compare & Contrast

Now that we’ve seen an overview of all of these travel watercolor paint sets, how do they compare to each other – and which one should you buy?

It was clear examining these travel watercolor paint sets that three of them were in a class separate from the others – the Prima Confections, the Winsor & Newton Cotman Sketcher’s Pocket Box, and the Sakura Koi Pocket Field Sketch Box.

Below, you can see that those three diluted to nice gradients (well as nice as my skills in that area would make). The Prang made a pretty decent gradient. The Daler-Rowney didn’t spread or dilute well and to get this level of color that is pretty much equal to the other paints, it took two brush loads of color.

Travel Watercolor Set Comparison

Since we are talking about travel, there are several things to possibly consider when choosing a watercolor set. Size and weight is one issue. The idea of watercoloring in your journal as you make your way around an exotic foreign locale might sound fabulous, but it becomes less fabulous when your art supplies are a pain to lug.

The Sakura Koi watercolor set is great in that it is all self-contained, but it also weighs nearly twice what the smaller Prima and Cotman sets weigh. It’s also a bit too big to truly slip into a pocket the way the two smaller ones are. So, if you want to throw it in a suitcase to leave in a hotel room, or don’t mind a few extra ounces in your backpack, the Sakura Koi is a good option to have lots of colors. It’s also a great option for using on board a plane or train to entertain yourself with everything contained right in the box. If flying, the waterbrush can be brought through security empty and filled with a water bottle on board (or pre-fill it and stash it in your liquids bag).

On the other hand, if you are traveling super lean, or want something that you can slip into a hoodie pocket to grab for a quick sketch, the small Prima or Cotman sets are great options. Both of these sets will require carrying either a water source and/or a brush or waterbrush.

The metal box on the Prima Confections watercolor set might cause security hassles while flying, but has the advantage of being able to contain a custom palette (either by purchasing the themed palette of your choice or by mixing and matching colors from multiple sets into one box). It also has the advantage of providing a very large mixing area for such a small container, and has a thumb ring on the bottom to enable holding it more securely on the go.

The Winsor & Newton Cotman Sketcher’s Pocket Box is the ultimate in lightweight portability out of all these sets, especially because it includes a brush in the set. This is a great basic set for planner users who want to tuck it in their bag with a waterbrush, for coloring on the go and while traveling, or for plein air painting.

The Cotman Sketcher’s Pocket Box is also the winner to me for pure paint quality, but it’s a small margin over the Prima and Sakura sets. These three are all excellent quality student pan watercolor sets that will be good for coloring, journaling, and quick travel painting.

If affordability is more important to you than paint quality, and you are only interested in using basic techniques with your paint, the Prang Dixon paints are a robust and very affordable option. But at an upgrade cost of only about $3-$4 to go from them up to one of the Prima or Cotman sets if you shop at the right place, it’s worth considering making a minor investment in better paint (although you’ll get fewer colors).

For those who are very serious about their painting, and who want artist quality paints,  the name to look for in travel pan sets is Sennelier, which is made with a high honey content. But be prepared to pay a high price – over $60 for a 14 color set of half-pans.

Whatever set you choose, don’t forget that other things like the quality of your brush and your paper will also affect the results that you get. Next in this series, watch for a watercolor paper comparison coming soon!

Travel Watercolor Sets - Review and Comparison - Which one is for you?

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Tutorial: Heart Chicken Wire Memo Board

Today, I’m excited to be sharing the first of two tutorials for projects that I made that were on display at the Creativation show last month in the Buttons Galore booth. This heart chicken wire memo board was so fun to make, and I so enjoyed sharing it with so many people at the show!

[Disclaimer: My company, Nally Studios, is the social media & blog manager for Buttons Galore. I am also part of blogger programs for Cricut and Plaid, who provided some product used in this article. Some links in this article are affiliate links that pay this site a commission at no cost to you if you make a purchase after clicking.]

How to Make A Heart Chicken Wire Memo Board

Chicken wire is so hot for home decor, but using it doesn’t mean you have to create a design that is “farmhouse” looking. This bright, colorful heart chicken wire memo board will fit right in when it is hung up in my teenage daughter’s bright pink bedroom, and will be a great place to hang cards and pictures.

Supplies Needed:

This chicken wire memo board project is entirely made from scratch, cut from a sheet of plywood. The great thing about doing it that way is that it can be made to exactly the size that will work for the space that you have! (My heart is about 17″ high.)

To start this project, I needed a template to work from. If you have a steady hand, you could hand draw your cutting outlines on the plywood, but I prefer working with a template. To create my template, I used the basic shape tool in my Cricut Design Space Software to draw two hearts and merged them. Then, since my template was larger than the cut area on my Cricut, I used the rectangle tool to slice my heart into sections. Then I cut out all of the pieces and taped them back together to make my template!

heart template

After I made my template, I used it to trace an outline on my sheet of plywood. Then I cut out the heart outline with my jigsaw. To cut out the inside of the heart, I drilled a hole first with my largest drill bit. That gave me a place to insert my jigsaw blade as a starting point, and then I worked my way along the inside of the outline.

The 1/4″ plywood is surprisingly easy to cut and a heart is just gentle curves and straight lines – don’t be intimidated! (Don’t forget your safety glasses!)

Once the shape was cut out, I cleaned up the edges and the surface with sandpaper. Then I painted it with a beautiful shade of pink called “Vintage Victorian” from the Plaid FolkArt Home Decor Chalk Paint line.

buttons on heart memo board

After the paint was dry, I started on the button collage. It’s time consuming to do a collage like this, kind of like doing a jigsaw puzzle that you don’t have a picture for, but I find it kind of zen and relaxing. Having the background be painted is a little cheat – it gives room for error and allows the project to still look right if an area of buttons doesn’t quite fit together correctly. Working in short sections and then letting the glue dry before going further is best to minimize the risk of inadvertently shifting buttons out of position while you work.

Let the front dry completely before starting to work on attaching the chicken wire, to make sure everything is secure!

chicken wire

The chicken wire is a bit stabby to work with but if you are careful it’s possible to get it applied without too much trouble. The most important thing in this step to getting a nice finished piece is making sure that the chicken wire is pulled nice and flat and tight.

I started by cutting a piece of chicken wire that was just a bit larger than my heart. Then I worked in small sections attaching it to the back with hot glue, and pressing masking tape down over the hot glue immediately. (Thanks to Teryn at Vintage Romance Style for the no staple technique!)

Once I did one area, I went across to the opposite side and pulled the wire tight and did that area. Then I picked another spot and went opposite it. I worked my way around the whole heart by going back and forth.

applying chicken wire to frame

After all the glue was dry and cool, then I clipped off as much as I could of the wire pieces that were hanging out, leaving one loop of wire at the top of each curve of the heart to attach a hanger to.

I could have stopped there on my chicken wire memo board, and just attached a hanger, but my perfectionist side wasn’t happy with the messy looking back and wanted to make it look a bit prettier. So I got out a roll of Duck Tape I had on hand (conveniently in pink that matched my project). Laid down in short sections on the back of the heart, it both covered the masking tape & hot glue mess and sealed in stray ends of wire that could poke.

applying duct tape

For the final touch, I cut a piece of ribbon from the 28 Lilac Lane kit to use as a hanger and looped it around the wire I had left exposed. A drop of hot glue adhered the ribbon loops in place.

This same technique can be applied to any shape or size chicken wire memo board….just draw or create a template for the design that you want! What shape do you want to make?

how to make a chicken wire memo board

Fall Half Pumpkin Craft for a Fun DIY Door Project

DIY Half Pumpkin Fall Outdoor Decoration Tutorial

My family loves fall! We look forward to decorating indoors and outdoors using the beautiful rich warm fall tones of pumpkins, falls leaves, scarecrows, and other harvest themed items. Since we live in southern California, we do not have the change of seasons that many other areas enjoy. We have to create our own fall season decorations and decorate to make it feel more like the traditional image of fall. Planning craft projects like this fall half pumpkin craft with the beautiful colors of leaves as they change from green to brown is always fun, but we have to purchase ours at the craft stores (there is a lack of trees in my area of the city) to decorate with.

Fall Flowers and Leaves

Each year we look forward to crafting in the fall as a family. We plan and work together to make easy pumpkin themed decorations for our home. Usually we shop at the dollar store to keep within our budget but when my local Michaels store put their half pumpkins on sale for 60% off, we realized we could have some fun crafting with those too. We picked up a few, and this is the project I created with mine.

Michaels Stores Half Pumpkins

Michaels Stores Half Pumpkins

**Disclaimer: Deco Foil sent me a sample of their foils and one of their adhesive pens to test out so I decided to use it in this project. My thanks to the folks at Deco Foil for their generosity in sending me these supplies to use. Some links below may be affiliate links that support the operation of this site by paying a commission when you make a purchase.

Materials Needed:

Deco Foil Adhesive Pens and Foils

Step 1:

Remove tags from the pumpkin and clean it off. Then, using the pencil, either freehand or use a stencil to write your greeting across the front of the pumpkin. (I like using a pencil because I can erase my work and do it over if I do not like it.)

Start by writing your message in pencil.

Start by writing your message in pencil.

Step 2:

Using the Déco Foil Adhesive Pen, trace over your lettering. Allow the adhesive to dry for 30 seconds to 60 seconds.

Step 3:

Apply the Déco Foil Transfer Sheet onto the adhesive. Using your fingers burnish the foil onto the adhesive. Press firmly to allow it to transfer. (Tip: You can see below what happened when I did not burnish it enough. To fix it, I just put another piece of the foil over it and burnished it again.)

Step 3 - using the foils

Step 4:

I like using glue dots with foils because they are an easy way to add accents to projects. To use them, just take the glue dots and adhere them to the pumpkin. You can create a pattern or place them wherever you like. If your glue dot doesn’t stick well, just remove it and try again with another one.

Step 5:

Apply the Déco Foil Transfer Sheet onto the adhesive. Press firmly and burnish it with your fingers to allow it to transfer fully. If you find any empty spots, just cover the dot with a different piece of the Déco Foil and burnish it gently onto the spot. Do not burnish the foil as hard as the first time because it may create a cracked effect on the dot (unless that is something you are trying to achieve).

Use glue dots with the foil to add accents to your projects.

Step 6:

Using a glue gun, adhere the leaves and flowers to the top of the pumpkin. Once you are happy with the arrangement, hang up the fall half pumpkin craft.

 How do you decorate for the fall? Do you go scary Halloween or more autumn seasonal?

Leave a comment below and let us know!

Leather DIY Traveler’s Notebook Project for Bullet Journaling

Leather DIY Travelers Notebook

Traveler’s notebooks have gained a lot of popularity lately, because they are so versatile and can be used for bullet journaling, personal planning, art journaling, and so much more. They come in a variety of sizes, and for those who enjoy making their own journals, it is easy to make a DIY traveler’s notebook from a variety of materials.

For those who are not familiar with traveler’s notebooks, they are leather covers with elastic bands that hold one or more journals inside them. The journals may be purchased in a vast selection of papers that include watercolor papers, multi-media papers, grid papers, Tome River Papers and Moleskin Cahiers. The purpose of the traveler’s notebook depends entirely on the user. I use mine for bullet journaling, so I find one with lined paper works really well for me.

I got these really cool journals (Millie Marotta’s Tropical World Journals) that feature a really fun cover with designs for coloring from Michaels. The insides of the journals feature 64 lined pages.

Millie Marotta's Tropical World Journals

Millie Marotta’s Tropical World Journals

I have a fun collection of traveler’s journals but none of them seem to fit this odd sized set of journals. Since I purchased quite a lot of them (they were on sale and super cute), I decided this would be a great “make it yourself” BUJO traveler’s notebook project. So this DIY traveler’s notebook has been created to fit these odd sized bullet journals.

My leather was purchased very affordably in a grab bag at a chain craft store. With a 40% off coupon it cost me less than $10.

BUJO DIY Travelers Notebook Project Supplies

BUJO DIY Traveler’s Notebook Project Supplies

Supplies needed to make a very simple DIY traveler’s notebook:

  • leather (large enough to cover the journals)
  • Journals
  • Charms or buttons (to use as accents)
  • 2mm elastic cording (color of your choice)

Tools Used for This Project:

  • Steel Leather Hole Punch (size appropriate to the elastic cording)
  • Cutting Mat
  • Scissors;
  • Pencil or marker;

Step 1:

Lay the piece of leather right side down on the cutting mat and measure the piece to fit two journals. Depending on the capacity and size of the journals you are going to use in this leather travelers notebook project, you will need to measure your journals and then cut the leather with a few added inches so it will be a bit wider to compensate for the extra width of these journals.

Leather DIY Travelers Notebook Project - Step 1

DIY Leather BUJO Traveler’s Notebook Project – Step 1

Step 2:

Find the center of the leather and mark where you want the top and bottom holes to be. I made mine slightly off set because I find that it seems to work better for me. Then using the leather punch, punch out the four holes (you can make more holes if you decided you want more than two elastics inside of the travelers notebook).

eather Travelers Journal - Step 2

Leather DIY Traveler’s Journal – Step 2

Step 3:

Then find the center of the spine and mark one hole. Using the leather punch, punch out the hole.

Step 4:

Take the elastic and measure three times the length of the spine of the leather piece. Cut it and begin to thread it through the top two holes and then down through the bottom holes. The two ends should meet at the center of the interior of the leather piece where you can tie a knot. Don’t worry; once you load the journals, you won’t really see the knot.

Leather Travelers Notebook - Step 4

Leather DIY Traveler’s Notebook – Step 4

Step 5:

Since this is fairly thin leather, I decided it needed a small piece of leather for the elastic tie to give the book a little more structure. To make this, just take a left over piece of leather and cut a 2” by 1” piece of the leather. Using the leather punch, punch out a hole at each end.

Step 5

Step 5

Step 6

Take another piece of elastic and measure the width of the folded piece of leather (or use the journal for sizing). The piece of elastic should be one and a half times the width of the journal.

Step 7

Using the piece of elastic, load the piece of leather you cut in step 6 onto the elastic, then add some buttons or charms. Thread both ends into the center hole of the spine of the travelers notebook, and then tie a knot. I found that I needed to tie a double knot to keep the elastic from slipping through the hole.

DIY Leather Journal Project - Steps 4and 7

DIY Traveler’s Notebook Project – Steps 4 and 7

Step 8:

To finish the journal, just open the journal up to the center of the journal and slipping it through the elastic. If you like the look of rounded corners, you can use a nickel to trace a rounded corner (or a corner punch) to cut it out.

Step 8

Step 8

I like how rustic this project looks with all of its imperfections. My DIY leather traveler’s notebook project piece will work well for my current needs. Later on, I may add some metal eyelets to the holes to strengthen them.

Leather DIY Travelers Notebook Project

Leather DIY Travelers Notebook Project

One final tip: Depending on the quality and thickness of your leather, you may need to reinforce the piece of leather if it is too thin. My piece seemed to fit just fine but after a lot of use, I may have to reinforce it with fabric to strengthen it.

If you have made your own DIY traveler’s notebook, we would love to know what materials you used. Tell us in the comments below!

Celebrate Star Wars with Frozen Han Solo Soap!

Today is May the 4th – Star Wars Day – and we’re celebrating with a gift for Dad (or your favorite geek).  Frozen Han Solo soap is a fun way to get clean!

[Some links is this article are Amazon affiliate links that support the ongoing operations of Craft Critique when you make purchases after clicking on them. Thanks!]

Han Solo Soap

Our soap of Han Solo frozen in Carbonite is made from a Melt & Pour Shaving Soap base from popular soap making supply site Brambleberry. While the base is excellent by itself, a few additives like vitamin e oil and bentonite clay make it even more nourishing and gentle on the skin. Continue Reading →

Review | Tulip SuperBig One-Step Tie-Dye Kit

[Some products on this website have been provided to Craft Critique by manufacturers for review. Some links are affiliate links which support this site by paying a commission on sales generated after the site visitor clicks on them.]

Tulip Super Big Tie-Dye Kit

Tulip Super Big Tie-Dye Kit

Summer is coming, and what says summer more than tie dye?

The Tulip One-Step Super Big Tie Dye Kit provides almost everything you need to have a fun tie-dye party or project for an easy summer vacation kids craft project. The only thing you need to have on hand is the natural fiber item to dye, along with a large plastic zip lock bag, scissors and paper towels (or rags). These are items I usually have around the house, so it was no problem to get started on a project. Continue Reading →

Wax Sand Art by Kerzenwelt

[Disclaimer: Kerzenwelt provided a product sample that was used in this review but the product manufacturer had no control over or input into the content of this article. Opinions expressed are the author’s own.]

horizontal-lineI’m a frequent user of scented candles, using them in various areas of my home regularly. I typically use jars from a major US manufacturer of scented candles, but the cost has lead me to explore the possibility of making my own.

However, I was put off by the need to melt wax and then manipulate the hot substance. The idea made me nervous, concerned I’d get clutzy and burn myself, and so I hadn’t taken steps to trying candlemaking – until now.

What changed? While at Creativeworld in January I discovered a product called Wax Sand Art, from an Austrian company called Kerzenwelt.

Wax Sand Art Continue Reading →