When we visited the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam,
I was able to walk in Anne Frank’s space and see what she saw. All I can say is that I understand her experiences more now that I could visualize the small confined spaces, where she lived and wrote her words.
Anne Frank had so much spunk and feistiness in her writing style, It’s something I did not recollect when I was a young student. Her work is and will always be an inspiration to millions of people every year who read her diary, who visit the museum, and who study and learn about the atrocities from World War II. Thus, today, I share with you a tutorial to remake an Anne Frank-inspired diary for a loved one, student, or friend to encourage her to be bold with her thoughts, writing, and heart.
By the way, if you don’t know what Anne Frank’s diary looks like, check out the Anne Frank.org website to take a closer look. Hopefully, you’ll see a small resemblance.
Anne Frank-Inspired Diary Instructions
White 8.5×11 (or A4) paper – approximately 20 sheets total
Flat piece of cardboard
Hot glue gun
Extra glue sticks
Pen or pencil
Straight edge or Ruler
Fabric (red/beige plaid)
Mat cutting board
Sewing Machine (not pictured above)
Extra piece of matching ribbon (not pictured above)
Tacky glue (pictured above, but not used during project)
1. Fold 8.5×11 white paper in groups of five. Fold in half from the longest side. You should have four sets of folded paper.
2. Using a ruler, measure how much you want your cardboard piece to cover your folded white paper. I estimated about ½ inch from the cardboard edge to the paper.
3. Mark lines on both sides of the white paper to create your cover borders. Mark lines for binding as well. I gave the binding about 3/4″ in width. This will help account for any bulk you may have from the cardboard and fabric later on.
You will see in the photo above that I had to make a second cardboard cover due to my miscalculation in the thickness of the binding. Additionally, I had to account for the thickness in the cardboard. (You can notice the difference in thickness from cardboard on the right from the cardboard on the left.) So be aware as you make your measurements.
4. Using an X-ACTO knife, cut on the outside edges of the cardboard cover. When cutting the binding, you will only want to score the binding. Do not cut all the way through to the other side of the cardboard.
5. Next, cut enough fabric to cover the entire piece of cardboard. Use tape to secure the fabric in the correct spot before gluing it to the cardboard. This is especially important when your fabric has a distinct fabric pattern.
6. Using a hot glue gun, secure the fabric to the binding first. Then work your way out towards the top and bottom portions. You can use a straight edge or a ruler to smooth out the hot glue between the cardboard and fabric.
I used a scrap piece of cardboard in the photo below. This will keep your fingers from burning. (I had to learn the lesson the hard way.)
7. With a pair of scissors, cut the extra bulk fabric from the corners of the cardboard. Then secure the fabric on the sides with a hot glue gun.
8. Optional: Cut additional fabric to cover the inner portions of the cardboard.
9. Cut two pieces of ribbon to desired lengths. Between the cardboard and optional fabric insert, secure the ribbon between the two pieces of fabric with a hot glue gun. If the ribbon also has a pattern, make sure it is on the correct side before gluing.
10. Hot glue the optional fabric insert.
11. Going back to the folded white paper, sew down the middle of the pages, much like what you would see in a book. You will have four sets of sewn pages.
Don’t forget to cut loose strands of thread.
12. Hot glue the sewn pages along the binding.
I’ll admit that hot gluing the pages to the binding isn’t the best way to bind a journal, but it will do for this novice crafter. (Read down to “A Project Note to Accomplish Next Time” on what I would have done to make the binding stronger.)
13. Tie the ribbon in a bow, and your project is complete.
14. Optional: You can add quotes from Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl to inspire your budding writer. Here are some inspirational quotes from the following sources:
A Project Note to Accomplish Next Time:
I know that I should have done a better job of binding the pages to the cardboard cover. The next time I make one, I will sew the folded white pages onto a cut strip of a brown grocery bag. Then I will secure the brown strip to the binding of the cardboard. I imagine this would hold better over time.
If you try this tutorial, please let me know how it went for you on Hometown Betty’s Facebook page.
I made this journal for a young person who is about Anne Frank’s age when she wrote her diary. I hope this journal inspires this young person in my community to write about some of the personal struggles she is currently going through.
May this tutorial be an inspiration to lift up the human spirit in even in the darkest times.
From my hometown to yours,