Sharing Journals

Make or start a sharing journal to make a deeper connection with someone.

What is a sharing journal

Our next challenge for December is to make or start a friendship journal, back and forth journal.  The idea is to keep a journal going back and forth between two (or more folks). A sharing journal is a vehicle that allows you to draw closer to someone. 

Pages from my sharing journal with my niece.

My niece and I have a sharing journal. We used a Moleskine journal that we bought at the book store. Later in this post I will show you how to make a sharing journal from scratch.

We started it together. We came up with our top 10 bucket list of things we want to do together. They include going to Australia, walking on the Great Wall of China, her being in the Olympics and me being in the front row and her jumping out of an airplane and me designing a new font that I will name after her.   She lives in Texas and I live in Missouri so she does a page and mails it to me and I do a page and mail it back… It’s just a creative way for us to stay connected. 

The Love and Hope are sharing journals shown in the first images at the top are journals that Valerie Matyas and I did this past fall. She did a page and I did a page and so one. Valerie is also a Visual Faith Coach with Visual Faith Ministries and also teaches people how to sketchnote. It was a lovely time trading books back and forth. I love the black paper. We used chalk pencils in our journals.

Why Should I start a sharing journal?

The answer can be condensed down to one word: Connecting! The passing of the journal is the vehicle that allows you to make a deeper connection with the other person.  Make a connection with a friend or family who could use a little support. This is an opportunity to slow down and really connect with someone else. 

How does a sharing journal work?

The basic premise of the sharing journal is that one person does a page, and the gives it the other person and they do a page or two . There are no rules, only to keep the journal moving back and forth. 

Who Can I share with?

Parents share with your kids

Grandma share with grandkids

FriendsPen PalSomeone at church

Someone who is housebound

You could share it with a group – may be your besties or your small group. 

How can I structure my sharing journal?

You can share what’s on your heart, but it may be hard at first, so here are some ideas or “conventions” that give you structure but offer avenues for creativity as well:

Alphabet, words, objects, verses

Verses on the same theme

Journal words – see below

Choose a theme – goals, hopes, faith, love, being brave

Book reviews

Sketchnote recipe exchange

Journal Prompts

If you wanted to keep it free-flowing here are some journal prompts to get you started. You fill out a page and then choose the next prompt for your partner.

  • bucket list of 10 things you want to do together
  • favorite memory
  • movies or books
  • meals
  • make a meal together and journal about it
  • favorite songs
  • biggest fear
  • hopes for the future
  • an audacious goal
  • 5 things you probably don’t know about me. 
  • 5 words to describe yourself
  • a map of your travels -color in the states or countries
  • start a story – write a paragraph then the next person writes another paragraph
  • best feature
  • what one thing would you change
  • recipe
  • facts about ….
  • make a puzzle for  the other person to solve
  • thought repository – crazy ideas of things you want to do or try
  • scribble page both finish
  • name and meaning if you could choose a different name…
  • a secret code
  • choose a color fill up the page with all things that color
  • make travel plans together
  • something that happened this week
  • draw a map of where you want to go or a place you have been
  • plan a day together and make an itinerary
  • doodle about your favorite holiday
  • doodle about a news event and how it affected you

Materials Needed

You can of course go choose a journal at the store and just exchange it back and forth. But if you want to make an accordion book here are the instructions:
Materials needed – hopefully you can find most of it around the house. 

  •  2 pieces of sturdy cardboard. I used some extra mat board(for picture framing) that I already had. In my example, my book is   8″ x 8″, but I think a little smaller 6″ x 6″ might be the perfect size. 
  • A roll of craft paper, but you can use card stock and make the accordion by using washi tape to connect the pages. 
  • Washi tape if you are connecting your pages and not folding a roll of paper. If you going to connect your pages consider making your book 5 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ so you can get two pages per sheet of card stock. 
  • Fabric enough to cover one side of the two pieces of cardboard with about a 3/4′ overlap to glue the fabric to the cardboard.
  • Button – medium to larger, at least 1″ in diameter. 
  • Thin ribbon or string.  Length 3 x the width of the card board. For example if you do a 6 ” x 6″ book your string will be 18″ long ( 3 x 6)
  • Needle
  • Glue – glue gun or strong glue
  • scissors
  • measuring tape
  • iron
  • chalk pencil
  • Possibly some thread to match your fabric. 


  1. prepare the fabric, iron out the wrinkles.  Place the card board on the fabric and measure out an addition 3/4″. Draw a square around your cardboard that is 3/4″ larger than the card board. I drew a square with a chalk pencil on the back of the fabric. Cut out the fabric. Do this for both pieces of cardboard. 
  2. On one piece of fabric that will be the front of the sharing journal sew on the button.

Placement of the button:  from the top measure half way down and about 1 1/2″ – 2″ inward. Sew the button on here. If you sew the button with tread then you will need to tie the ribbon underneath the button, so it can be wrapped around the journal and looped around the button to close the journal. 

Sew on the button here. If you have thin enough ribbon and a large enough needle you can sew the button on with the string.  Or you can use regular thread. 

Glue the fabric to the cardboard.  put a thin strip of glue on the front around the edges. Then on the back over lap the edge of the fabric onto the cardboard, securely glue down the edges. Fold the corners so they lie flat. One way to do the corners is to cut out the square at the corner. On one side of the corner, fold it in diagonally and fold it over to make a nice flat 45 degree corner.  Glue the fabric to the other cardboard.

Prepare the paper accordion style. 

Decide how many folds you want and add two more folds that will attach to the cardboard.  In our LOVE journal there are 4 sections + 2 for each edge of the card board top and bottom.   

 Measure the paper to be 1/2″ smaller than the cardboard. If you are making a 6″ x 6″ journal , your folds of paper will be 5 1/2′ 5 1/2″.  If you are not using a roll, and connecting with washi tape, use washi tape on both sides of the paper to reinforce the accordion folds.

 Fold the paper with clean neat edges that all align. 

Glue the top and bottom pages to the inside of the cardboard covering the edges of the fabric.

Let dry

Get ready to share


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