There are two times of year that are my absolute favorite, and it's not the ones you think. I LOVE back-to-school and I LOVE New Year's... because of all the organization inspiration everywhere! Planners and closet-purge checklists and labeled folders and organizing all the things! It makes my not-so-hidden inner nerd very, very happy.
This year I've made this simple DIY mud cloth notebook for all the things I want to jot down. They're easy (and inexpensive!) so you can make a couple for yourself if you like having multiple notebooks, or to give to your friends who need a gentle nudge towards better organization (I'm looking at you, husband).
In case you've been living in a Pinterest-free zone for the last few years, mud cloth is a tradition of dyed cloth originating in Mali. It's become popular in the blog and design world because it is has a cute boho vibe, and because it's easy to imitate.
How to make your own DIY mud cloth notebook:
- plain notebooks (I like Moleskine cahier journals for their durable quality)
- paint pen in a contrasting color
- scrap piece of cardboard (the lid of a cereal box works well)
- reference images of mud cloth for inspiration (Google is your friend here)
A note on paint pens: They are totally practical and easy to use, but they can get runny at times, which is why I recommend having a piece of scrap cardboard around to scribble on before putting the pen to the actual notebook. Make sure you follow the directions on the paint pen you use, as instructions might differ from brand to brand.
1. Start by sketching your design out in pencil first. Feel free to copy mine directly! If you're uncomfortable drawing by hand, take each pattern on its own so you don't get overwhelmed.
First make a series of horizontal and vertical lines.
Then, open triangles that point towards each other (would we call those chevrons?), followed by two vertical lines.
Finish with more open triangles, and repeat the horizontal and vertical lines.
Trace the entire pattern with your paint pen. Don't forget to use that scrap cardboard to make sure your paint is flowing smoothly!
2. Add some detail! Dots are quite easy but look intricate. I also added smaller triangles inside the larger ones. Finally, allow your whole design to dry (just a couple minutes, until it doesn't smudge), then trace over it again with the paint pen so you get a more opaque line color.
See how easy? I kept the other notebooks simple as well, looking at pictures of mud cloth online and picking the easiest patterns to recreate.
I'm really excited about cracking these babies open for all my to-do lists.