Monday, August 15, 2011

How to Make Your Own TARDIS Diary: Part 1

Occasionally, I will I get a wild hair about something that I want desperately enough to try my hand at making it. This time around, I desperately wanted the TARDIS Diary that River Song carries with her in the new Doctor Who series. After spending time searching to purchase one online and finding nothing, I took matters into my own hands. Now I would like to share with you how I made it so that you too can have an awesome book like this.
PROJECT LENGTH: About 1 week (add a few extra days for drying if tea staining pages)
Materials for TARDIS Diary

Canvas cover Paperchase Flex bound journal

·         1 blank or lined writing journal approx 7x5 inches (or about the length of the Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver). NOTE: I prefer to use the Paperchase flex bound journals with the linen covers. They are the perfect size, they have a nice rounded spine and the fabric cover helps the glue adhere very well. Unfortunately they may be hard to find since Borders Books are liquidating their stock, but you can use any journal that doesn’t have a plastic or leather cover, since I am not sure if the craft glue will stick to them. Look at your local bookstore’s sales bin for deals.
·         Beacon Craft Foam Glue (2 oz bottle)
·         1 sheet of white craft foam (you can find this at any hobby store. Look in the aisle with the felt and construction paper.
·         One round detail brush (size 0)
·          One 1/2” flat brush
·         One 1” flat brush.
·         One bottle of primary blue acrylic paint.  NOTE:  Save money buying the 3 ounce bottles of paints if making only one book.
·         One bottle of black acrylic paint.
·         One bottle of white acrylic paint.
·         One small painters pallet (or you can use a paper plate).
·         Paper tape.
·         12” ruler.
·         Scissors (buy a new pair, they will get sticky no matter how careful you are with the glue).
·         One ball point or gel ink pen.

You will need the journal, craft foam, craft foam glue, scissors, ink pen, and ruler for this step.
Do not glue any piece down until you have all the pieces cut and they fit properly on your journal.
Let the fun begin!
I found a scan of the actual cover of River Song’s diary at to use as a guide as I went along. I printed it out and cut out the inside ‘ladder’ bit to use as a stencil.

1) Measure the center line of the front of your journal with a ruler and mark it with your pen from top to bottom. This will come in handy later.
2) Take your ‘ladder’ stencil and draw two of them on the craft foam sheet. Cut out both shapes.

3) Now cut out the little interior squares. The easiest way is to fold the foam and cut along one side of each square to get it started. Put the little squares away where you won’t lose them. You will need them later.
You should now have two identical ladders. These are the keystones to building the rest of the book.

4) NOTE: These measurements may be different for your book. I always over-estimate how much material I need and then cut it down to the size of the book for the best fit. Take your ruler and measure about 2 inches from the top and mark with your pen across the page. Start from the top again and measure at the 1 inch mark. Do this again from the top, measuring at the 3/8ths inch mark from the top of the page. When you are done, it should look similar to the pictures below. I’ve marked what each strip will eventually end up being on the journal.

Now just cut out the strips and cut them down to size to fit the book.  The side and center panels are the same length as the ‘ladders’. The top and bottom panels run across the width of the journal and are even with the outer edges of the side panels. You may need to cut them down more to fit, depending on the dimensions of your journal.

5) Time to glue!
The glue does not have a strong smell but it is VERY STICKY even after it dries. I use a lot of glue for each book, particularly where the edges of the foam meet the spine of the book.
Use the center line you made on the book in the very beginning and glue the center panel down right on top of it.  Then glue down the ‘ladders’, the side panels, and the top and bottom panels. The glue is forgiving and you will be able to shift things around for a few minutes before it gets too tacky. The last thing I glue down are the little squares.
Put the journal in a dry place away from dust and let the glue set for about 6 hours. The glue will dry clear.
Once dry, flip the book over and repeat all the steps for the other side.

Remember the little squares we cut in the beginning? It’s time to get them back out. You need to trim them down about 1/8th of an inch on each side and square them up. When done, your pieces should look like the pictures below.


  1. Where did you find your 7 x 5 book, because I cannot find one ANYWHERE.

  2. Thank you for this idea! I made one for my niece for Christmas. I found blue craft foam, which made it easier for me to just add some darker/aging colors to it. It was a hit!