Korean-style Binder Journal Experiment

Or channeling my inner tween.

Over the summer I fell into an IG and YT vortex of this specific style of creative journaling trending in Korea, literally translated as “six hole diary decoration.” Basically you use a filofax-like binder and decorate the spreads with all the stickers, washi tape and memo pads. (Also isn’t it interesting how different cultures will name the same thing. A “six-ring binder” in English is “six holes” in Korean.)

I’ve always preferred bound journals and notebooks to spiral or ringed, but watch enough of these videos and even the die-hard can’t help but be intrigued. So after I got back to Korea, I went the mecca of diary decoration in Seoul, 10×10 (kor), and got my first six-ring binder journal.

Conveniently (and to my ultimate demise) the Seoul Illustration Fair (eng) was also being held the weekend I got back, so I went and got way tooo many stickers and memo pads. The biggest mistake was going and buying all this stuff before I had actually tried this type of journaling. At the fair I stocked up on a lot of the more inexpensive items, which I ended up not really using. I won’t regret it though because everything was created and made by local artists, so I’ve done my part to support creators (that’s what I’ll keep telling myself anyway!).

The basic elements of this type of journal:

Journal (A5 and A6 size pictured), inserts, memo pads, stickers, washi tape, ephemera, you get the pictures

And then it’s up to you to use these elements in an aesthetically pleasing way.

My takeaways from this one-month experiment

  • It’s harder than it looks. When I first saw these types of journals, I will admit I turned my nose up at them a bit. I thought using all these items (basically other peoples’ creativity) was a less creative way to journal vs making/drawing everything yourself. But having tried it myself, I discovered that it takes a different type of creativity to harmonize all these different elements.
  • Good to try something new. Creatively, this was a challenge for me. I’m comfortable with collage, upcycling, repurposing, and using found materials, so I had to learn how to use other creators’ designs and products. It stretched me creatively.
  • You do you. This experiment did stretch me creatively, but like a rubber band, I ended up bouncing back. As you can see towards the end of the month, I embraced my instinct to collage using mementos and found materials. Ultimately I couldn’t get behind decorating a spread with images that had nothing to do with that day’s journal entry.
  • Rings can be your friend too. I still prefer bound journals, but I now see the merits to a binder with rings–mainly that you can add thicker pieces of paper without the journal getting so bulky.
Journal experiment in August

I also filmed and narrated a flip through, if you’re interested in the backstory behind some of the spreads. Experimenting with video has been fun. In addition to learning how to edit, it has forced me to face my bad speech habits, specifically fillers! I must’ve edited out 20 umms and ahhs!

2 Comments

  1. Reminds me of that journalling craze back in the States, but it was supposed to be a more personalize photo album. What was that called? Anyway, then I saw that bullet journalling the all the rage. There are certainly really lovely ones, and even though I’ve journalled since I was in the tweens, I’ve never done anything more than straight up writing. If I could draw, maybe I’d add sketches because I’ve seen some beautiful travel journals. You obviously can draw and have a nice aesthetic. Isn’t it funny that you found out they were difficult to pull off? It looked easy, right? Snoopy’s my favorite so I’m partial to your Snoopy pages. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I must’ve missed that personalized photo journal craze (probably a good thing, still recovering from this one!). And hello fellow journaler! This was the first time I tried an intentional creative journal, and I feel obligated to continue a bit since I have all the supplies, but I think the honeymoon phase is over. 😄 Snoopy is a classic, I do like how that spread turned out! Thank you for your thoughtful comment!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s